World Street Food Congress back with better site and lower prices

Second World Street Food Congress will be held at open field near Bugis MRT station and will have fewer stalls

Lightly breaded and fried anchovies (above) are served with lemon, pickled sweet peppers and smoked paprika aioli. -- PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
Lightly breaded and fried anchovies (above) are served with lemon, pickled sweet peppers and smoked paprika aioli. -- PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
East Side King will be serving Kinilaw, also known as Filipino ceviche. -- PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
One of the returning favourites is the banh xeo (crispy seafood pancake) from BanhCan 38 in Vietnam. -- PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA

The second World Street Food Congress 2015 (WSFC) will be a more compact affair, with fewer stalls and a shorter duration.

Those who groused about the location of the first instalment, at the F1 Pit Building and Paddock, will be pleased to know that the eat fest will be at a more accessible location, at the open field beside Tan Quee Lan Street along North Bridge Road, near Bugis MRT station.

It runs from April 8 to 12.

Compared to 37 stalls in 2013, when the first congress was held, the WSF Jamboree returns with 23 stalls from 12 cities. The stalls are open to the public and entry is free.

Food prices are slightly cheaper too, starting at $4.50 a dish. Payment will be via Nets FlashPay, Nets or coupons that can be bought on site.

All these changes have been made based on feedback received from the debut edition. The event is organised by food consultancy and food guide publisher Makansutra and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

On the challenges of the previous event, Makansutra founder K.F. Seetoh says: "The hours were too long and you couldn't see the crowd because of the big area. People also said that it was hard to get to the F1 Pit Building unless they drove.

"So we thought, let's jam it this year. We expect just as many people."

And even though the event is scaled down, he is confident that attendance this year will be better than the 80,000 people the first one attracted.

This edition costs under $2 million to organise, less than half the $4 million spent on the inaugural edition, he says, adding that he was able to get more sponsors on board.

At the Jamboree, get a taste of street food such as Pampango Sisig from the Philippines, which is pork ears, cheek and jowl that is boiled and grilled over coals before being served in a crunchy wonton wrapper cup; ayam taliwang (spicy grilled chicken) from Indonesia; and thin and crispy apom (Indian-style rice flour pancakes) from Penang.

Returning favourites to the Jamboree are those which drew long queues at the first instalment: Hoy Tord Chao Lay from Thailand, which sells hoy tord or oyster omelette; and BanhCan 38 from Vietnam, which sells banh xeo or crispy seafood pancake.

Another highlight of the event is the two-day Dialogue-Hackathon, with the theme of Empowerment, Engagement and Enterprise. Various speakers will be speaking about street food culture and its longevity.

Speakers include Mr Stephen Werther, who is currently working with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to open a Singapore-style hawker centre called Bourdain Market in New York this year.

Limited seats are available and tickets are priced at $450 a person for the conference.

There will also be interactive town-hall style discussions with the audience. Selected participants will get to pitch their street food ideas during a Pitch Box Session.

In line with the National Heritage Board's SG50 Deliciously Singaporean exhibition, five Singaporean stalls will also be showcased at a special SG Pavilion during the Jamboree.

The exhibition will highlight local food heritage and subsequently feature 50 uniquely Singaporean dishes and pop-up cooking demonstrations around the island.

One of the stalls in the pavilion will be run by popular zi char stall Keng Eng Kee. It will be presenting soft shell crab served with iconic dips - chilli, black pepper and salted egg yolk.

Mr Paul Liew, 34, who runs Keng Eng Kee in Bukit Merah with his younger brother and sister, says: "We want to promote our local dish, but we are doing soft shell crab instead of the usual chilli crab so that it will not be troublesome to eat.

"Two years ago, we were part of the WSFC dialogue session and we are proud to represent our local food this year. At the dialogue, we realised the event is not just about representing our family business, it is also about our food culture."


East Side King

What: The name of a chain of Asian-inspired street food restaurants and food trucks in Austin, Texas. It is founded by Manila-born chef Paul Qui, winner of reality cooking competition Top Chef Season 9. He will be serving Kinilaw, also known as Filipino ceviche. It is made with snakehead fish, red onion, coconut vinegar, yuzu and Thai chillies; and chicken inasal (charcoal-grilled chicken marinated in a mix of lime, pepper and vinegar) taco with fried chicken skin.

Pepita's Kitchen

What: Renowned for its lechon (roast suckling pig), famous street fare from Cebu, Philippines. The pig is roasted over a wooden open pit fire or custom-made wood oven. Founder Dedet de la Fuente's twist on the roast pig is to stuff it with white truffle oil paella.

Restaurant Gustu

What:This Bolivian stall serves anticucho, which is skewered meat, similar to satay or kebab. The beef or pork is marinated with tamarind and spices and served with boiled potatoes or bread. The street food restaurant in Bolivia, which opened in April 2013, is also a culinary school that gives youth there an opportunity to study and receive training.

Bon Chovie

What: Lightly breaded and fried anchovies are served with lemon, pickled sweet peppers and smoked paprika aioli. The stall is from the popular Smorgasburg, an outdoor food market in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Gudeg Yu Nap

What: Gudeg is a traditional Javanese breakfast cuisine. The rice dish has several classic accompaniments: unripe jackfruit slow-cooked with spices to make a marmalade sambal, crispy pieces of cow skin and braised or grilled chicken. Gudeg Yu Nap is regarded as a local culinary icon in Bandung, Indonesia.

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