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MAS Honors Hawker Culture in Singapore

The joys of Hawker Culture as pictured on the new $5 silver proof coin from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, designed and struck by the venerable Singapore Mint.

The joys of Hawker Culture as pictured on the new $5 silver proof coin from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, designed and struck by the venerable Singapore Mint.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has released a commemorative coin celebrating Hawker Culture in Singapore. The release serves to honor the induction of Hawker Culture in Singapore into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on Dec. 16, 2020.

The coin design showcases three key elements of Hawker Culture in Singapore: the mastery of culinary skills by hawkers, the reflection of Singapore’s multicultural society and how hawker centers serve as community dining spaces for everyone in all walks of Singapore life.

The passion of four hawkers from diverse cultural backgrounds engaged in their craft provides the focal point for this $5 commemorative. Local favorites showcased on the coin include - Hokkien Mee (fried prawn noodles); Nasi Lemak (aromatic rice infused with coconut milk served with fried chicken, egg, anchovies, peanut and sambal); Roti Prata (Indian flatbread served with curry); Indian Rojak; and Singapore’s breakfast staple, Kaya Toast accompanied with soft-boiled eggs and Kopi.

In the background can be seen patrons of all ages enjoying their meals in a Hawker Center. It’s a great metaphor for the melting pot of society in a real melting pot of cooking, eating and enjoying the little pleasures pleasant company and tasty food.

Over the years, the unique combination of food, space and community has evolved into a microcosm of Singapore’s multicultural society, fostering a common national identity based on shared experiences, values and norms. Many of Singapore’s hawker dishes originated from the food cultures of various immigrant groups which settled in Singapore.

The dishes have evolved over time to become distinctive local dishes that Singaporeans love, and form an important part of Singapore’s food heritage. Hawkers and their repertoire of skills are central to Hawker Culture in Singapore. Well-regarded for their mastery of hawker culinary traditions, it is important that the hawkers’ knowledge, culinary skills and values are shared with generations of Singaporeans. 

The case carries through the wonderful Hawker Culture artwork as seen on the $5 silver proof issue.

The case carries through the wonderful Hawker Culture artwork as seen on the $5 silver proof issue.

The UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity comprises diverse cultural practices and expressions of humanity, and seeks to raise awareness of the importance of such practices and expressions, encourage dialogue that respects cultural diversity, as well as give due recognition to the practices and expressions of communities worldwide. This coin it a perfect example of how coinage can convey a sense of strength in diversity and the very positive effects that appreciating diversity can bring to a community and country.

The Singapore Hawker Culture coins can be purchased individually or in a set. Sets have a mintage limit of 2,000 pieces. Each silver coin will be accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. The nickel-plated zinc proof-like coin carries a face value of $2 and the one ounce .999 fine silver coin is denominated at $5. Both have a diameter of 40.70 mm. Mintages for the $2 and $5 coins are 10,000 and 5,000 respectively and including both set and single release.

Both the $2 and $5 coins and the sets were issued on November 12. Visit the Singapore Mint website at www.singaporemint.com to check for availability or these two lovely coins.