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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Feast on world cuisine at 10-day street food event

The 10-day event will feature street vendors ranging from American food trucks to pushcarts from Indonesia.
January 21, 2013
By: Rebecca Lynne Tan
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Feast on world cuisine at 10-day street food event

In four months' time, foodies here can taste street food from all over the world - without leaving the country.

The inaugural World Street Food Congress, which runs from May 31 to June 9, will feature 35 to 40 street food vendors from at least 10 countries. From American food trucks to kaki lima, or pushcarts from Indonesia, they will likely hawk everything from Asian-inspired tacos to Penangstyle nasi kandar (rice served with curries and sides).

The 10-day event, dedicated to street food and culture, will be held at the F1 Pit Building and Paddock area.

Organised by food consultancy and street-food-guide publisher Makansutra and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, the annual congress aims to preserve and celebrate street food in all its variety and glory.

One of the biggest problems street food culture is facing, says Makansutra founder K.F. Seetoh, is that of continuity.

Adds Seetoh, 50: "The event is designed to address the future possibilities and professionalising of street food culture."

Dishes at the food-and-culture "jamboree", which will meld cuisine and music, will be priced between $6 and $15 a serving.

While it is not yet set in stone which dishes will be offered, the $4-million event will also have a two-day dialogue session and symposium. About 15 chefs, authors, editors and top brass of food companies will come together to discuss topics such as the sustainability of street food and how to keep prices affordable for the masses. Held on June 3 and 4, the session is priced at $750 for a two-day pass.

Food programme host and streetfood advocate Anthony Bourdain; Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, famed for dishes inspired by the street foods of Asia; and editor-in-chief of US food publication Saveur, James Oseland, are among the big names who will speak.

Awards will also be presented at the congress. These are divided into 15 categories, ranging from best street food master to the best restaurants offering street foods.

Seetoh, a champion of street food here and abroad, adds: "The congress is my last contribution to life and society before I die. It encompasses what I truly want to do - it is the most meaningful thing I can do for society with one of our favourite sins: that of street food."

Hawker food lover Dennis Wee, 60, chairman of real estate agency Dennis Wee Group, is excited to hear about the event and says: "I think it is a very good idea. It will also help Singaporeans understand that street food is a favourite not only here but all around the world."

He urges hawkers to attend the event to taste and see for themselves how other cultures prepare their street food and maintain food hygiene. He says: "It can be a form of personal development for hawkers, to spur them on to improve our food standards."

rltan@sph.com.sg

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