Volume 1: What's for Lunch?
Singapore

The Lion City Is a Food Paradise: A Zi Char Dish at a Hawker Centre

Mitsubishi Electric Asia Pte Ltd.
September 2017

Winnie Ng is a corporate communications executive at Mitsubishi Electric Asia Pte Ltd. (MEAP) in Singapore. Her responsibilities include planning and co‑ordinating corporate social responsibility and sustainability events for shareholders to build brand awareness for MEAP, and ensuring that the company’s information security management is in full compliance with corporate governance standards.

Except for on special occasions, Winnie has lunch at a nearby “hawker centre”, an open-air-style food court that is very popular in Singapore, with her colleagues. Winnie says that hawker centres make the country “a food paradise” because vendors at these dining complexes sell a lot of different foods from all over the world, from places like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Western countries, at pocket-friendly prices.

Today, as always, Winnie and her colleagues headed to their favourite hawker centre to grab a quick lunch, where they were drawn in by the appetising smell of zi char dishes. Winnie explains that “zi char”, also romanised as “tze char”, is a Singaporean Hokkien word that literally means “to cook and fry”, which is used to describe a wide variety of homemade-style Chinese dishes sold at food stands.

At the hawker centre, Winnie chose stir-fried chicken and kailan (Chinese broccoli) with rice while her colleagues picked yong tau fu (stuffed tofu) in noodle soup and hor fun (Chinese rice noodles) with sliced fish. “I love homemade dishes”, says Winnie. “And these zi char stalls give us a fast, cheap way to eat in Singapore. Not only that, but they serve well-balanced meals, too”.

Mitsubishi Electric Asia’s main office, where Winnie works, is located near Queensway Shopping Centre.