I’m suffering from a slight case of Food Coma as I write this – the World Street Food Congress has certainly thrown my taste buds an extensive flavour party they won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Back again after 2 years, the World Street Food Congress (or WSFC for short), hosted by the eponymous Makansutra is here to give all those with an appetite for life an experience they’ll never forget! The closest thing to a Food Truck park here in Singapore, the tentaged area houses 24 stalls from 12 different countries around the world, such as the likes of Germany, Philippines, U.S.A, Singapore’s neighbouring countries, and of course Singapore itself. (Toa Payoh’s famous carrot cake anyone?)
With the street vendors cooking up their delectable delicacies right in front of you, you can be sure of piping hot creations served right up – but don’t scald yourself trying to wolf them down! It can be a little overwhelming with a dizzying array of items to try, but take a seat and take your time; after all, they’ll be here till the 12th of April. Cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs will also be on from 6-8pm every day at the ‘Da Pai Dong’ tent; we hear it’s a great place to pick up a cooking skill or two!
A strange way to begin our journey through the food maze, we started with Churros Locos, a food cart hailing from Portland (another food paradise, so you can be sure it’s the good stuff that you’re getting). What started out as a conversation with a gelato shop owner in Portland about the lack of churros there eventually led to the start of Churros Locos, and boy we’re glad they did.
What you’re getting: Crispy on-the-outside, fluffy and pillowy on-the-inside kind of churros covered with cinnamon sugar. None of that greasy, chewy-dough mess that some churros are guilty of. This crisp texture contrasted perfectly with the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, and was an absolute welcome in the heat.
A certainly comforting dish, Kupat Tauhu Gempol is one that leaves a strong memory (I credit it to the aromatic peanut sauce that elevates the otherwise humble dish of tofu, ketupat and beansprouts to new heights). Originating from West Java, the vendors have been doing this dish since 1965, and certainly live up to their years of experience.
What you get: A peanut sauce made from peanuts and coconut milk enveloping pillow-soft fried tofu and ketupat, topped off with a pretty pink cracker made from tapioca flour. As the vendors couldn’t find a local equivalent of these crackers, they brought their own specially from Indonesia.
Hailing from Penang, Tuck Nyonya Catering is run by the cute uncle Ah Tuck and his Thai wife from their home. Their service as a private chef are available for hire, where they will serve up tantalising street heritage dishes, truly bringing the eats of the streets to your home. Their Nyonya Fried Turnip Lettuce Wrap with Black Satay was a blast in our mouths (pro tip: Have the black satay together with the onions, and not with the fried turnip).
What you get: The sweetness of the onions cuts through the salty, savoury black satay to produce a very pleasing sensation that’ll make you go back for more! Wrap up the rest of what’s that left in the lettuce leaf – you’ll get a nice little parcel of juice from the turnip and meat.
A colourful and inviting dish, Taliwang Bersaudara serves up moist and succulent grilled chicken wings. When the vendor handed me my plate, she cheerily quipped: Spicy! Not a very intimidating warning, but still, be warned. When they call this dish one of the hottest ones in Indonesia, they do mean it. Accompanied with a side of vegetables and beef satay, this is a dish that if, you can beat the heat, will be one that you’ll fall heat (sorry, head) over heels in love with.
What you get: Juicy grilled chicken, and vegetables sprinkled with peanuts topped with a spicy sambal paste. The heat doesn’t make itself felt until after a few bites (it just comes out of nowhere!), but thankfully the beef satay helps to cool things down a little. You might want to accompany this with an iced cold drink!
Last but not least, our very own hawker heroes: the ones who have contributed to our rich and diverse food scene and have kept our hungry stomachs satisfied for years.
Known for its snaking queues at dinner time, Keng Eng Kee Seafood (located at Bukit Merah) has managed to bring their crabs to the jamboree in an ingenious manner. Choosing to use deep-fried soft shell crab instead of whole live crabs, patrons can expect to dip these little morsels into KEK’s signature crab sauces: Chilli, Black Pepper, and Salted Egg Yolk.
Also to look out for is Chey Sua Carrot Cake, or more commonly known as the “only-got-white-one” carrot cake. Run by two sisters, yes, Chey Sua does only the white version of carrot cake but we think that’s good enough for us, because they are obviously great at what they do. The rest of Singapore seems to think so too, with them participating in various Singapore Day events around the world!
Housed in the Singapore Pavilion, don’t forget to check out the little exhibitions at the corner that feature fun facts about how our hawker scene started.
We obviously haven’t covered all the wonderful stories these vendors have to tell, and all the treasures hidden in the 24 stalls, but we’ll leave that up to you, because there’s nothing like discovering what you love for yourself. Good food made with hard work and passion not only warms the being in that moment, but also the soul when all has been said and eaten, so come over and discover what the world has to offer!
WSFC is located at the open field opposite Parco Bugis, at the intersection of Rochor Road and North Bridge Road (directly above the Bugis MRT station), from 8-12th April.