BBQ Etiquette in Singapore

A BBQ party is a well-loved quintessential Singaporean pastime. Growing up, we used them to celebrate life’s many important moments—graduations, birthdays, and reunions, to name a few. If you are looking to plan for a BBQ party soon, here are some things to take note of so that you can plan for an enjoyable experience the next time your friends and family get together.

Rules and regulations in Singapore

Firstly, to have a BBQ party, you need to book a BBQ pit. Depending on the location of the pit, you will have to look into the permits and registration required for booking. If you are grilling within the area of your own landed property, there is no need to apply for a permit—maybe just let your neighbours know in advance about the noise and smoke as a common courtesy. For condominiums with BBQ pits, check in with your respective condo management offices to book your pit.

As for the majority of Singaporeans who are looking into booking a public pit at parks, you will need to apply for a BBQ Pit Permit from the National Parks Board (NParks) in conjunction with the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) through the AXS website where you can make payment.

The website will lead you to choose your option for a public park. Locations include Changi Beach Park, East Coast Park, Jurong Lake Gardens, Labrador Nature Reserve, Pasir Ris Park, West Coast Park and Sembawang Park. Key in the date for your booking to view the slots and prices, which range from $16 to $20 depending on the pit. Follow the instructions for payment, and you’re all set!

Here are some things to take note of with regard to the permit:

  • The time slot for the booking is from noon to 10.30 p.m. for that day
  • The permit does not act as a document for making your specific pit exclusive to the public, which means
    anyone can still access the area where you are gathering.

Good practices when it comes to a barbeque

Although having a BBQ is meant to be simple, fuss-free and laidback, there are some things that we still need to consider when having a party.

  1. Be considerate of noise and smell

A BBQ party is meant to be lively and energetic, but try not to disturb your neighbours or the general public with overly loud chatter and music. As BBQs are done mostly in common public spaces, do remember that you are sharing the area with others who want to use it for other purposes, like admiring nature, exercising, and getting some peace and quiet from busy city life. You definitely do not want to be a nuisance to others as it will make an unpleasant atmosphere for everyone. If your gathering goes late into the night, and there is alcohol consumption involved, do be cautious of your behaviour and exercise restraint. Do not become rowdy or aggressive to others, and take care of members of your own party. Also, be conscious of the smoke, and try to minimise or redirect the smoke towards an area with fewer people as it might be very uncomfortable for bystanders.

2. Fire safety

As a BBQ involves flames and burning charcoal to start off the cooking, do be careful of fire safety. Handle all flammable items with care, and keep firestarters, matches and charcoals dry and separate until they are ready for use. Use only the amount of firestarters and charcoal that you need to get the grill going, as using an excessive amount may result in an overly large fire that is hard to control and poses a fire hazard to the surrounding areas. Have pails of sand or water ready to extinguish the fire in case it gets too large, and also prepare first-aid materials in case of any accidental burns and scalds for your guests. Call emergency services in the event of serious cases. Take note of any pets or young children running around the pit, as they are more at risk of accidentally being injured.

3. Cleanliness

A BBQ is a messy affair, and as such, the clean up after the party needs to be proper and thorough. Throughout the duration of the party, ensure that there is no loose trash like plastic bags or paper wrappings laying on the ground or flying around due to the wind, as it is unseemly, and also poses a safety hazard should they land in the pit and catch fire. Store all food waste neatly into waste bags to be ready to be disposed of, and throw all paper and plastic plates, forks and spoons into their proper bins. If you wish to recycle empty drink bottles or other packaging, do remember to give them a wash first to clean them before throwing them into the recycling bin.\

To extinguish the charcoal embers, remove all cooked food from the grill and give it some time to cool down. Take a bucket of sand or water to pour over the charcoal periodically, allowing them to cool down progressively instead of all at once, as it might cause the water to steam up excessively and cause scalding to bystanders. Once the charcoals are completely extinguished and cooled, wrap up the residue with aluminium foil or place them in an empty metal can, before disposing in the rubbish bin outdoors to prevent residual embers from starting a fire in the trash, if any.

Using a pair of tongs to grab a piece of balled-up aluminium foil, scrape the grates of the grill clean to remove any food residue or burnt pieces so that the grill is clean for others to use. You can even use vinegar to help you with the removal of grime. Do be careful to let the grill cool completely before cleaning.

As for the area surrounding the pit, remember to sweep or pick up any remaining pieces of litter from the ground, and wash away any soot or dirt with water and a wet broom. Leave the area as clean as it was before you started cooking!

Keep these tips in mind to make your next BBQ party as enjoyable and pleasant as possible for everyone, and hope you enjoy yourself!

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