FUTUREK SG PTE. LTD., a digital creative agency that works with the latest technology from Japan, launches a new website service, WAK WAK HAWKER (WWH).
The platform aims to provide locals and tourists with a comprehensive guide to Singapore’s hawker culture and information at their fingertips.
WWH bridges information of hawker centres across the country to become a database that users can quickly access to decide their next meal. With hawker centres being hallowed in the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020, WWH aims to preserve their legacy by promoting the historical, cultural, economic, and social value of this national asset.
Users can easily access information about hawker centres and individual stalls (distinct shops helmed by hawkers), as well as a Search feature that locates hawker centres from nearby landmarks and filters stalls based on food category. The UX/UI design of the platform was only achieved after extensive research of gourmet and food websites around the world. The team had only one goal in mind — “How will the platform help users to decide where and what to eat?”
The platform is enhanced with insights from everyday Singaporeans who view hawker culture as a way of life. Whether they are diners, hawkers themselves or hawker centre owners, get a glimpse of their world through article content based on interviews with these personalities. Along with data about hawker centres and hawker stalls, these feature content are updated regularly.
Mr Akiyasu Takaseki, Chief Operating Officer at FUTUREK SG and leader of the WWH development project, shares “I often frequent hawker centres since moving here because I found this idea of dining intriguing, and almost disjointed, from my preconception of Singapore as a modern city-state.”
“The first time I ever ordered food from a hawker centre, I struggled with understanding the menu, deciding what to order, and communicating with the hawkers since some of them only speak Mandarin. While this ritual gave me anxiety, I found that locals could easily chat up “aunties” and “uncles” at the hawker stalls while ordering their food using a colloquial language that was a mix of English and Mandarin. They would even order dishes that were not on the menu! There was obviously a “hawker literacy gap” between the locals and me.”
He continued, “After a few months, some of the stall owners started to show interest in me and we started chatting. From these conversations, I learned of the dedication to their craft, their passion for cooking and got insider information such as hidden menu items and new dishes that they were experimenting with.”
As Mr. Takaseki delved deeper into hawker culture and the people behind it, he discovered the magnitude of their significance in the historical and cultural landscape of Singapore. He launched the production of WHH with the hopes of sharing the magic of hawker centres with people everywhere, regardless of their level of hawker literacy.
“WAK WAK” means to “walk around” in Singlish (colloquial Singaporean English) and “excited” in Japanese. WAK WAK HAWKER was coined to mean exactly that — for users to walk around hawker centres and get excited.
“I hope that people try a new hawker cuisine or explore new hawker centres with the help of the platform. Many Singaporeans may not be aware of the full significance of hawker centres, so I hope that it serves both foreigners and Singaporeans and enables them to appreciate hawker culture even more.”
Key Features of WWH
Besides specializing in hawker culture as a gourmet information platform, WWH has some other key features in terms of functionalities.
1. Foodie meets high-tech design
The UX and UI design are intended for users to easily access hawker information they need. The team analysed gourmet websites and implemented their findings with the reliable technical capabilities of the engineering team.
2. Accurate information backed by on-the-ground research
Who knows hawker centres better than the “aunties” and “uncles” at the stalls? Local university students were activated to interview these profiles across hawker centres to consolidate accurate data.
At the time of the launch as of 9th February 2021, WWH has information on about 20 hawker centres and about 1,000 stalls across the island. Data is constantly being updated.
3. Harvesting data, one review at a time
WWH allows users to leave a review of up to 300 characters and to give a rating based on 5 stars. By amassing information from the public and providing rating indications, the platform is given more credibility and relevance.
To visit WAK WAK HAWKER, please visit wak-wak-hawker.com/en *
*Only for smart devices