Anthony Bourdain hopes new New York hawker centre will draw Asians

TV host, chef and author Anthony Bourdain with K.F. Seetoh, founder of Makansutra, at the food Jamboree at the World Street Food Congress in 2013.
TV host, chef and author Anthony Bourdain with K.F. Seetoh, founder of Makansutra, at the food Jamboree at the World Street Food Congress in 2013.PHOTO: SPH

Celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain wants his anticipated street food market in New York to draw Asian-born locals, and not just world food lovers, American-born Asians and "gringos".

"If the younger Korean hipsters and their grandparents like us, we're gonna be O.K," he told The New Yorker magazine.

The US$60 million (S$84.5 million) Bourdain Market at Pier 57, styled after the hawker centres of Singapore, has been years in the making. Bourdain had said he wanted to bring his favourite hawkers, including Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice, over to New York.

There will be more than 100 hawkers, but many require visas to be in the US - a problem now that US president Donald Trump has tightened work visa applications.

 

When asked if New Yorkers will take to the exotic tastes of Asia, Bourdain said: "I'm an optimist."

He added: "I grew up watching Barney Miller, and it was Asian jokes all day long. They made fun of Asian food. It smelled like garbage. That's not funny anymore."

Bourdain said the style of the market will be "high-end retail as grungy, polyglot dystopia," or "a post-apocalyptic Grand Central Terminal, if it had been invaded by China".

The market is expected to open later this year.