Aug 11, 2014

    New names for 8 airport food stalls

    FOOD and beverage service provider the Select Group has renamed eight of the 13 stalls at the Singapore Food Street in Changi Airport's Terminal 3, three weeks after it opened.

    Gone are the stall names which included famous street names and geographical locations synonymous with particular local dishes.

    Stalls with such names as Changi Village Nasi Lemak and Jalan Tua Kong Minced Pork Noodles have been changed. The nasi lemak stall, for example, is now called Fatimah Nasi Lemak.

    The renaming exercise came about after the hullabaloo last weekend, when The Straits Times found that most of the stalls at the new food street had no direct links to the original stalls in those streets or areas.

    This is in spite of Select Group and Changi Airport Group's initial press statement touting the stalls as being "popular hawker stalls specially curated from different corners of Singapore".

    In fact, these new stalls could well have been confused with the original ones. Take East Coast BBQ Seafood at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, and East Coast Lagoon BBQ Seafood at the airport's food street. The airport stall is now renamed Tak Shing BBQ Seafood.

    Select Group executive director Jack Tan, 45, says that the group apologises for its oversight and wants to "make up for the lapse".

    He says: "Our original intention of naming some of the stalls after local streets or areas was to highlight Singapore as a food haven where visitors and diners can easily find many local delights on the streets of Singapore. This has caused confusion among patrons."

    Using famous street names that have no ties to the original stalls upsets those who have real ties to popular food enclaves.

    Indeed, the owner of Old Airport Road Satay Bee Hoon & Satay Celup, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, 56, says it makes stall owners like himself mad.

    He started his stall about 40 years ago in Old Airport Road and hence adopted the street name. His wife now runs an outlet at Chinatown Food Street and the couple still own the stall of the same name at Old Airport Road Food Centre. They make their satay sauce from scratch, he says.

    Speaking in Mandarin, he adds: "We work hard to build a reputation for ourselves. It's not right to use a street name if you have no connection to it. It harms the reputation of other stalls that may be connected with that street or area."

    Mr Dennis Wee, 62, chairman of property group Dennis Wee Group, who is one of the judges of The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao's Singapore Hawker Masters Awards, says: "It's not right. Diners will taste the difference and if the stall doesn't serve good food, it will create a bad name for the original stall."