Singaporeans are known for their delicious street food, even UNESCO last year recognized it as an important intangible cultural heritage of humanity and described local hawkers as "markers of Singapore as a multicultural city-state."
But that renowned local blend of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines has not been immune to coronavirus pandemic side-effects. Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) said on Thursday that unhealthy eating has jumped due to an increase in food deliveries to people largely housebound by pandemic curbs.
Respondents reported they were more likely to order fried or barbecued deliveries and less likely to include vegetables when placing orders.
Such changes in eating habits "persisted after lockdown measures were removed," according to the researchers, whose findings were based on surveys of over 11,000 customers and almost 500 restaurants and were published by the American Medical Association.
Such "unhealthy eating behavior" could lead to "undesirable long-term health consequences, such as coronary heart disease," they warned.
Conditions such as heart disease, which have become widely known as "co-morbidities" since the onset of the pandemic, have left sufferers vulnerable to severe illness if they pick up the virus.
In December 2020, Singapore's street food hawkers, some of them Michelin-starred, were lauded by UNESCO for not only the quality of their food but for providing "community dining rooms" for Singapore's multiethnic population.
But local media reports suggest hawkers have been left out of pocket by pandemic curbs and the related growth of online or app-based home deliveries.