Monday, 9 April 2007

11 Days to Singapore Day in NYC

Counting down ... 11 days to Singapore Day. I am looking forward to seeing KT & KOMT, their presence makes going to the event even more special to me. We are looking forward to tasting those Singapore food. She just sent me the Singapore news article on the event:

Pack food? We'll cook it fresh in New York
By Cara Van Miriah Apr 8, 2007
The New Paper
12 hawkers jet off to whip up treats from home for US-based Singaporeans. HOW do you make the Singaporeans who live overseas yearn for home? Show them a recent video of Singapore or offer them a great discount so that they head back for the Great Singapore Sale? No. If you ask the 'makan guru' KFSeetoh, the best way to make Singaporeans miss home is to treat them to a meal of Singapore hawker fare. Mr Seetoh, founder of the Makansutra guide books and TV series, told The New Paper on Sunday: 'Street food is the staple food of Singaporeans. We crave for these dishes when we are away, too. It also reminds us of home, as Singaporeans grew up on street food. We can't live without it, really.' So if chicken rice and chay kway teow alone is not enough drive home the message, how about a feast that includes satay, roti prata, chilli and pepper crabs, prawn mee, laksa, nasi lemak, bak kut teh, carrot cake and more? That's what MrSeetoh and his team of Singapore's most famous hawkers plan to do for Singaporeans living in New York during the inaugural Singapore Day, which will be held there on 21 Apr. Organised by the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU), the one-day event at Bryant Park aims to make overseas Singapore feel connected to home while living abroad. It will feature Singapore's national dishes prepared by 12 hawkers selected by Mr Seetoh, 43. This is the first time a big team of hawkers is showcasing a wide spread of Singaporean delights in New York, say the organisers. A spokesman for OSU said: 'We wanted a good mix and variety. Having only four to five hawkers will not be a good representation of our national food. So we decided to have not only a mix of ethic dishes, but also a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner cuisines.' It wasn't difficult to select the dishes for the food carnival, added Mr Seetoh. He said: 'Just take a look at all common dishes served at hawker centres and food courts. It will give you an idea what's good.' ALL HIS FAVOURITES Nor was it a difficult task to round up a willing team of experienced hawkers. Mr Seetoh said: 'For breakfast, chwee kueh, nasi lemak, kaya toast, prata, kopi-o or teh-o are the regular orders. So the names of the hawkers popped into my mind quickly. I roped in Bedok North's Siang Siang Chwee Kueh, Adam Road's Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak, Casuarina Curry Restaurant and Killiney Kopitiam.' The 'heavier' meals will be provided by 328 Katong Laksa, Outram Park's Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha, Newton's Thye Hong Fried Prawn Mee, Macpherson's Tian Jin Hai Seafood and Maxwell's Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Plus, Alhambra Padang Satay, Boon Tat Street BBQ Seafood and Huat Huat BBQ Chicken Wing & Carrot Cake, located at Makansutra Gluttons Bay. The selection process is also based on the quality and popularity of the hawkers, said Mr Seetoh. For example, the 9-year-old 328Katong Laksa sells at least 500 bowls of laksa a day at its two outlets, said MrsNancy Koh, 44. During lunch, Tian Tian Chicken Rice sees droves of diners at its Maxwell stall each day, said its regular Joseph Png, 29, a sales manager. Also packing in the lunch crowd is Outram Park's Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha. Its owner, Mr Frankie Gwee, 45, said: 'I have no secret recipe. We pride ourselves in serving the freshest meats that add to the flavour of the soup.' Most of the participating hawkers are first-time visitors to New York. Only a few, like Mr Low Thye Hong, 53, who runs Thye Hong Fried Prawn Mee, and Mr S. Ramanan, 40, of Casuarina Curry, have participated in foreign food festivals, like the Asia Food Exhibition in California. The rest jumped at the chance to show off their culinary skills, like Madam Foo Kui Lian, 40, who runs Maxwell's Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. She said: 'I don't like to travel far but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I won't want to miss it for anything. 'I've been thinking about the food preparation there. I am worried about the availability of ingredients, like the sauces. So far, everything seems fine.' Many like Mr Francis Yeo, 50, who owns the 30-year-old Tian Jin Hai Seafood at Macpherson Road, hopes to promote his famous chilli crabs to the international media. HUMBLING Speaking in Mandarin, he said: 'It is a great opportunity to showcase our food to the world. It is also such a humbling experience for me - a small-time hawker representing Singapore at a grand event. 'I still can't believe that I'm selected.' While the hawkers are looking forward to cook up a storm at Bryrant Park, rest assured, those at home won't be missing out on the pratas, nasi lemak and char kway teow. Mr S. Ramanan of Casuarina Curry said: 'While the owners are away, we will have other helpers to run the stall. It is business as usual.' They'll use at least 100kg of onions in feast for 5,000 IT'S no mean feat for 12 hawkers to cook up a feast for 5,000 people. Imagine the orders read: 100kg of sugar, 100kg of salt, 50kg of noodles, 400kg of crabs, 100kg of garlic, 100kg of onions, just to name a few. This is more than 50 times what they would use a day. The Singapore Day festival from 11am to 4.30pm is expecting over 1,300 Singaporeans and 4,000 New Yorkers at Bryant Park on 21 Apr. But with two to three helpers for each stall, can a team of 40 handle the food orders? Mr Hassan Abdul Kadil, 60, who owns Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak, said: 'It's not a problem. We will be cooking four hours before the event. Instead of full size portions, the hawkers are giving sampling sizes.' A caterer in New York is providing the ingredients and a central kitchen for food preparation. The hawkers will leave for New York two days ahead - on 19 Apr, to set up their stalls. Food aside, the echoes of Count on Me, Singapore, will be reverberating through mid-Mahattan. Some 40 local artistes will also be putting up a two-hour show, hosted by comedien Hossan Leong and playwright Jonathan Lim. Other artistes include singer Kit Chan, Kevin Mathews, Skye, Rosalyn Lee and more. Local film-maker Eric Khoo, who is the festival's creative director, told The New Paper on Sunday: 'The show will have a lot of local flavour. The challenging part is keeping the performances seamless on that day.' Currently, the rehearsals are held at music studios and Dragonfly disco. Byant Park, which is the size of two football fields, has played host to other big events, like the New York Fashion Week and Good Morning America Concert Series. SIX MONTHS The Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU) who took six months to put the event together did not reveal the cost of the production and security measures. Though no figures are available, an OSU spokesman told The New Paper on Sunday that New York was chosen as the host city because there is a large number of Singaporeans living there. The festival will end on a high note on the same day with a gala dinner at the New York Public Library for 250 invited guests. Friends and families can also invite Singaporeans who are living, studying or working in New York to the festival via the Connect Contest on The event is aimed to engage overseas Singaporeans and update them on the latest development back home. The New Paper on Sunday understands that the annual festival will be held at different cities around the world. Who knows, those living in London and Sydney may get invited to the event next year.

1 comments:eastcoastlife said...Wow! Looks like a fun and yummylicious event. Wish I could tag along. hehe....Hi! Thanks for the add on MBL. I browsed through your blog, interesting posts. Nice pics of food! Are those to satisfy your craving whenever it hits you? haha... poor girl... so far from all the nice food. Look forward to your posts on your Singapore Day food adventure huh! I'll be back! hahaha....April 9, 2007 9:33 PM