What Is Your Legacy? A Pilot Study of Naming Practices of Legacy Hawker Stalls in a Singaporean Hawker Center

Shaun Tyan Gin LIM, Francesco PERONO CACCIAFOCO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Hawker food is a cherished element of Singapore’s cultural identity. For much of Singapore’s history, hawkers were itinerant salespersons who sold their dishes from place to place via pushcarts. The situation changed in the 1970s when hawkers were shifted to hawker centers, and they had to name their businesses overtly. The present research focuses on naming practices in older hawker centers which comprise many stalls with itinerant pasts. More work remains to be done on the names of hawker stalls in newer hawker centers. This communication studies the naming practices of hawker stalls at Fernvale Hawker Center and Market, a new hawker center that was opened in August 2022. It finds that the naming strategy, which combines a name and food/cuisine sold, is the most common naming pattern. The authors also study how “legacy” stalls name themselves. These stalls enjoyed great success at their original outlets and hence, opened another branch at this hawker center. “Legacy” stall names allude to the geographical location where the stall’s business took off, index culinary authenticity, and/or index the hawkers’ cultural heritage. The last pattern is observed most notably among Chinese hawkers who use auspicious Chinese characters to articulate their desire for a thriving business.
Original languageEnglish
Article number341
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023


  • Singapore
  • Hawker Culture
  • Food
  • Street Food
  • Onomastics
  • Toponyms


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