Singapore hawker fare to feature in Bourdain-helmed market

The popular Lau Pa Sat food court in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock/DoublePHOTO studio

TRAVEL show host and food personality Anthony Bourdain is continually enamored by Singaporean street food.

Proof is in Singaporean cuisine making an appearance in his “hawker center” set to debut in New York in 2019. Stalls serving some of the world’s best street food will be housed under one roof in this international food court, which is estimated to be the size of three football fields.

The massive market will not be limited to hot foods – visitors can also pick up fresh and dried items from butchers, fishmongers and dried food specialists.

Bourdain claims the market is his passion project and that he hopes to maintain the “sense of controlled chaos of a living, breathing, stinking market” of street food havens around the world.

Speaking recently at the World Street Food Congress held in Manila, Bourdain is keen to adopt Singapore’s “clever” approach to hygienic street food in his project.

“Singapore understood street food is a good thing and tried to find a way to save it by moving it all indoors, and imposing some regulations for safe food handling,” he said.

“They have this understanding street vendors are multi-generational operations of people who have more or less been doing the thing they are doing very well over time. That this is something worth saving and preserving, [in the face of] the terrible onslaught of generic fast food chains.”

While Bourdain is unsure if New Yorkers will necessarily take to Hainanese chicken rice or char kuay teow, he’s confident they’d be willing to try unfamiliar cuisines. He’s also not interested to “anglicize” flavors and presentation to suit Western palates.

“The determining factor to me is if a Singaporean grandmother and her grandson would be able to recognize it; that this is not some bulls**t Disneyland version of Hawker World. We are talking of a wide selection of the real deal,” he said.

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