In a nation quite obsessed with grades, where ABCD mean a difference to self-worth and future to stressful students (and even more stressful parents) and whether you get that 1-3 months of PB for working adults. Other than hospital outlets which possibly had a red alert sign now, do the rest really care?

The Unconcerned
Consumers polled by a certain radio station were not concerned about the hygiene ratings for hawker stalls. A mini-poll among my friends reflected the same. Most said honestly that they did not pay attention to the grade that was displayed. Some hawkers don’t even display them prominently. Grade A or not, one thing for sure, they are not eating Indian Rojak for some time. For some time, I emphasize.

The Unmerited
Would getting a Grade A really mean anything? I for once had found plastic sheets in my tempura crabstick at a famous ‘Grade A’ Japanese food chain, and surely you hear stories of unidentified ‘stuff’ found in food. It’s like bad students do exist in Raffles Schools (okay, bad analogy). Do consumers really kick up a racket, go to NEA etc (or do we even know where to go to) when we think there are hygiene problems?

The ‘What’s Wrong With Dirty Food’
Some of the older generation have the ‘la sup jia, la sup tua’ (eat dirty to grow up) mentality. I love to clear my fridge of expired food items, but my parents would even go to the extent of picking the food back from the waste bin and chide me for ‘wastage’. Leftover food? Can probably last for days on my dinner table.

An older friend of mine even said that he would go to the extent of scouting for Grade D stalls, only because they are likely to taste better. He’s apparently not the only one who thinks this way.

The ‘I Am My Own Judge’
Some would say that stalls may get demoted because of their peers but their level of hygiene is still acceptable. Fair enough. At the end of the day, consumers may make their own judgment at the stall helpers, kitchen and surrounding area. All except the grade.

As a food reviewer/blogger, I guess what we can do is to shoot pictures and for readers to make their own judgment call.

I have been to several Grade A stalls for meals this week. While they did not give me a bad diarrhea, they gave bad service, bad attitude and baaaaad food. Hygiene and taste – I do sense that this has really went down in recent years (ironically), and I really hope somebody does something about it.



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