By KF Seetoh, Makansutra
Because of your ardent support, we have to apologise for this hiccup on the first day of our World Street Food Jamboree makan fiesta. Almost all the food was sold out 4 hours into opening time at 9pm. It was a nice problem for the hawkers, and a nightmare for the organisers as many hordes were still streaming into the balmy and lovely evening at the location. We had to politely turn these hungry folks down and hungry people are not the happiest people in the world. About 10,000 meals were served before their pots and stoves went dry and a queue was still forming.
Jeffry Sie from the Gudeg Yu Nap stall, kept apologizing and thanked every customer who queued for his jackfruit sambal and braised chicken rice meal. He knew they waited patiently in line and felt bad he did not prepare enough for the customers. “I estimated about 450-500 portions on our first night, and thinking it’s a mid-week night, it should be enough”. He was wrong. He dished out his last meal by 9.15pm, and the closing time states-11pm. His Gudeg need three days to make and settle and fortunately, he has another huge pot ready for today (while making more for the weekend on site).
The stall that closed up the earliest was Pepitas from the Philippines. Two of her roasted lechon piglets stuffed with truffle oil paella cleared off her shelf two hours after opening time at 7pm. “I will double, if not triple the amount these few days. I will come early to cook” say Dedet de la Fuente, who needs 3-4 to roast her lechons on site, two at a time.
Close to 300 portions of anticuchos, the bbq pork and potato skewers, flew off the grillers at the Bolivian stall Gustu who were offering this classic street food icon of theirs. Little Maria, and her head chef Kamilla, who flew 45 hours from their capital ( as she did not have the proper visas to fly the fastest route here) La Paz reflected “ I hope I can open a hawker centre back home and provide proper jobs and opportunities for my people. I love the atmosphere and food here”, said Maria, an orphan in Bolivia and works under the restaurant’s social enterprise umbrella program.
MCCY (Min of Culture, Community and Youth) Minister Lawrence Wong was also on location to open the SG50 Deliciously Singaporean campaign and kicked things off by cooking an iconic local dish; Roti John at the “Dai Pai Dong” open food demo station. He also could not resist learning a trick of two at the Chey Sua fried carrot cake stall at the Singapore Pavillion.
Day two today will see the hawkers adjusting to expectations. They will prepare up to three times more portions and even Mr Arifin of MA Deen Biasa said “don’t know whether enough or not”. He offers Mee Kuah (done in spicy, umami, sweetish and red sauce) with minced meat and greens. He tops it with a precarious and fragile poached egg- just beckoning to be poked.
So go poke your friends and come down for the best world street food fest in Singapore.
The World Street Food Congress Jamboree
8-12 April , 2015 (Wednesday- Sunday)
Open field at Tan Quee Lan Street along North Bridge Road
5pm-11pm weekdays ),1pm-11pm (weekends)
Payment by Nets, Flashpay or by coupons sold on site
Open to public.