Dignity Kitchen bounces back to pay it forward after unfortunate fire

By Evan Mua February 21, 2024
Dignity Kitchen bounces back to pay it forward after unfortunate fire
Dignity Kitchen is back in action, just a few days after an unfortunate fire. Photo: Ravin Thiruchelvam/HungryGoWhere

There aren’t many social enterprises quite like Dignity Kitchen in Singapore. 

Besides running the world’s first hawker training centre for hawker hopefuls, it also doubles as a community food court that provides employment opportunities for the differently abled.

The most apt adjective to describe it? “Wholesome”.

Back and paying it forward

dignity kitchen
The fire caused substantial damage but luckily, no one was hurt. Photo: Dignity Kitchen/Facebook

Unfortunately, in the wee hours of Feb 13, a fire had started in the back alley behind Dignity Kitchen, scorching the side of the training centre.

This resulted in severe damage to parts of the facade, some electrical items and air-conditioning equipment.

Thankfully, it happened at night and there were no injuries.

Nonetheless, the food court had to be closed for a few days for safety reasons, during key dates such as Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.

Good news, though: The steadfast team has since bounced back and reopened Dignity Kitchen on Feb 19. They are also proceeding with operations and events as per normal.

Since the incident, community reception has been overwhelming, with countless well wishes sent their way.

Concerned supporters can contribute to the social enterprise through its “pay it forward” fund, since revenues were affected by the unfortunate event.

The details and QR code can be found in its Facebook post above.

All tokens of goodwill go towards helping Dignity Kitchen provide free meals to the needy and keep their differently abled staff on the payroll.

About Dignity Kitchen

dignity kitchen
Dignity Kitchen empowers the differently abled and aspiring hawkers. Photo: Ravin Thiruchelvam/HungryGoWhere

What makes Dignity Kitchen so beloved? 

First, it provides an outlet for people to learn the ins and outs of running a hawker business, from the intricacies of cooking to dealing with customers.

It is the first in the world to provide support and guidance for aspiring hawkers. In the words of Koh Seng Choon, executive director of its parent company Project Dignity: “You’ll see schools for formal culinary education and fine dining, but none for hawkers.”

dignity kitchen
The food court is popular with nearby residents and workers. Photo: Ravin Thiruchelvam/HungryGoWhere

At the same time, Dignity Kitchen is also Asia’s first community food court managed by people with disabilities. 

Above all, it offers opportunities to more than 100 workers, with at least 85% to 90% being differently abled.

dignity kitchen
Hearty local favourites at very accessible prices. Photo: Ravin Thiruchelvam/HungryGoWhere

It’s a meaningful venture that not only empowers these workers, but also dishes out hearty local dishes at affordable prices.

That includes signatures such as kolo mee (S$5), laksa (from S$5.50), nasi lemak (from S$5) and chicken rice (from S$5.50). 

For more ideas on what to eat, read our stories on Haidilao’s new premium BBQ grill series and the whimsical new bar that models itself after a HK-style cha chaan teng.

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

You can also book a ride to Dignity Kitchen.

Dignity Kitchen

69 Boon Keng Road
Nearest MRT station: Boon Keng
Open: Mondays to Fridays (8.30am to 4pm), Saturdays and Sundays (8.30am to 2pm)

69 Boon Keng Road
Nearest MRT station: Boon Keng
Open: Mondays to Fridays (8.30am to 4pm), Saturdays and Sundays (8.30am to 2pm)

Evan Mua


Evan started off writing about food on Instagram, before joining outlets such as Buro and Confirm Good to pursue his passion. His best work usually comes after his first whisky shot in the morning.

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