The first authentic Singaporean hawker center in the U.S. is set to open in New York City on Wednesday.
Urban Hawker, a traditional Singaporean food hall that hosts stalls and vendors, opened its doors to its soft opening in Midtown Manhattan at 135 W 50th Street last week. The highly anticipated food hall, which was curated by Singaporean food expert KF Seetoh, will introduce Southeast Asian food culture with 17 vendors to its New York City location on Sept. 28.
The space brings together the flavors of Singapore cuisine, as well as Malay, Peranakan, Chinese and Indian food. Among the 17 vendors, 11 are coming directly from hawker centers in Singapore.
“At Urban Hawker we have a great range of international flavors that we’re excited to present to New York’s diverse and curious palates and people,” Seetoh reportedly said in an official statement.
“I have always believed that our hawker food will be well-liked by the world. Why? Because it’s just good, humble heritage fare that the world will love, too,” Seetoh added.
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Urban Hawker is partnering with Urbanspace, which is the city’s leading curator of immersive public markets. Its 14,000-square-foot space currently has a seating capacity of 200 people.
The authentic Singaporean food hall will serve national dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice at the Hainan Jones stall. Other highly anticipated dishes include lontong at Padi, prawn noodles soup at Prawnaholic Collections, Murtabak and lamb biryani at Mamak’s Corner, stingray fried rice at Mr. Fried Rice and white bee hoon at White Restaurant.
The idea of the center first came about as early as 2013 when Seetoh met celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain at the World Street Food Congress in Singapore. Bourdain had previously wanted to open a Singaporean hawker food hall at New York’s Pier 57. He reportedly failed to sign a lease for the location before he died in 2018. Seetoh then took over the project in 2019.
“New York has a vast enough diaspora of international palates and is ever-curious. We’re just selling good food from a reputable foodie nation,” Seetoh was quoted as saying.
Featured Image via @kfseetoh