Enjoying hawker delights in peace

Patrons dining by the road as vehicles pass by in Carnarvon Street. — LIM BENG TATT /The Star

PENANG Island City Council (MBPP) is mulling over the idea of closing a section of Carnarvon Street in Penang to ensure street hawkers and patrons have peace of mind while in the area.

MBPP councillor Wong Yuee Harng said the stretch, between Carnarvon Street-Campbell Street and Carnarvon Street-Chulia Street, is now “too congested” after 22 roadside hawkers in Chulia Street were moved to the site.

“With hawker stalls now lining both sides of the road, the stretch has become narrow and congested.

“It is difficult for vehicles to move about and food lovers are dicing with danger while eating out in the area because they are so near to traffic.

“There are plans to close the road to traffic during certain hours next year, probably from 5pm to midnight.

“It is like in New Lane, where the road is closed to traffic for certain hours daily.

“The state government will do what is necessary to make it easier for hawkers in Carnarvon Street to do their business,” he said.

People making a beeline for their favourite hawker food in Carnarvon Street, George Town.People making a beeline for their favourite hawker food in Carnarvon Street, George Town.

It was earlier reported that heavy traffic conditions in Chulia Street, George Town, were posing danger to some 30 street hawkers there, with buses plying the road and customers stopping their vehicles by the road.

To top it off, these hawkers, popular for their sought-after street food, were also periodically issued with compounds for hawking illegally at the site.

Wong said it was for these reasons that the hawkers were relocated to the existing spot, with half the number of them now starting their business there.

“We moved the hawkers to Carnarvon Street to improve the traffic flow in Chulia Street, and to create a cleaner and more safer environment,” he said.

A check by The Star at 6pm on Sunday saw people making a beeline for the famous hawker fare like wantan mee, char koay teow, sar hor fun and the famous fruit juices.

Fruit juice seller Tan Chin Jong, 47, and his mother Len Tong Huan, 70, said it was “tough” to move away from a place where they had done business for the past 60 years.

“We are still adjusting to the new place as we need water and electricity which we are trying to get at a nearby shoplot.

Tan (right) preparing fruit juice as his mother Len arranges the fruits at their stall.Tan (right) preparing fruit juice as his mother Len arranges the fruits at their stall.

“The distance from the old place to the new place doesn’t make a lot of difference.

“We just need to get the utilities in place to run as normal.

“It is a smaller road compared to Chulia Street, but we have to adjust for now and I hope MBPP will close the road to traffic like what they promised us earlier,” said Tan.

Char koay teow seller Chan Hong Kang, 50, believed patrons could easily find them as their stalls were located not far from the old place.

Sar hor fun seller Chan Fook Choon, 64, said it was not easy to start doing business in a new place after more than 40 years.

“Getting electricity and water from the new shoplot is a hassle. Why would they want to help someone who puts a hawker’s cart in front of their house.

“The council should have thought of these issues before moving us here.

“Many of us are old and just want to do our business peacefully in Chulia Street,” added Chan.

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