Come February, our favorite food guide and Makansutra founder, K.F. Seetoh will launch a Food Hall in New York! He is partnering with Urbanspace which currently operates several food halls in the USA. Located at 135 West 50th Street (7th Avenue), the food hall is within walking distance of Times Square. The project comes four years after the untimely passing of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain who had ambitious plans to open a Singapore-style hawker food hall in America.
Since then, Seetoh and Urbanspace have been working together to bring Boudain’s dream to fruition. Seetoh has selected 18 vendors from Singapore, including Douglas Ng of noodle stall, Fishball Story, Ah Tai who sells Hainanese Chicken Rice in Maxwell Market, and Chris Hooi of Dragon Phoenix Restaurant whose father Hooi Kok Wai was one of Singapore’s Four Heavenly Chefs. Last year, Singapore’s iconic street food and hawker culture was inducted into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Last summer, Las Vegas welcomed the Famous Foods Street Easts, a hawker-inspired food hall concept as part of the new Resorts World. Created and curated by the Zouk Group, a well-known Singapore nightlife and lifestyle brand, it’s all about reimaging the whole hawker experience and taking it globally. The group has recruited top Asian hawkers from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, alongside well-known U.S. chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, James Trees, and the team from Houston BBQ spot, Blood Bros to man 16 individual stalls. The focus will also be on “edutainment,” with videos and info boards at each stall giving background on the vendor, recipes, and the cultural significance of the food being prepared. From Shandong Dumplings and Hand-pulled Noodles to Hainanese Chicken Rice, Geylang Claypot Rice, Roti Prata, and much more, the 2,230 sqm food hall boasts a dessert bar, speakeasy and a gigantic Lucky Cat, and yes, plenty of neon signs!