The Inaugural World Street Food Congress and Jamboree, Singapore Pit Building May 31st-June 9th, 2013

Having already blogged about the World Street Food Congress here I thought I should probably do a follow up on how my afternoon there went and more importantly, what I ate! I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to go alone as I only had a Tuesday off and most of my friends visited on the opening weekend, so when my friend E (who blogs here said she was keen to come with me I was extremely happy indeed and so off we went, just in time for lunch!

We started with what our friends had declared to be their favourite dish of the congress, Abhishek Chicken 65. A chicken drumstick marinated in their secret recipe, apparently some say 65 refers to the number of days it marinates for, or the number of chilli’s in the dish although the more likely reason being that it was the 65th menu item from the restaurant in Chennai that invented the dish. The deep fried drumstick was spiced perfectly and the coriander rich salsa it was served with was addictive.

From here we moved on to the Seafood Tostada from La Guerrerense at $10. It is fair to say that I heard a lot of debate about the pricing of the items at the WSFC, I mean $10 is hardly street food price, we were expecting $3-$6 tops, however the Seafood Tostada was more than worth every penny, it was so good in fact that we went back for a second one (each) before we left! The lovely lady in charge of the stall explained that they had three levels of spiciness, numero uno, numero dos and numero tres. I asked her which she would eat and she told me that she would have the numero tres so of course this was the one I chose. The Tostada was layered with crab salad with chopped vegetables, then slices of marinated octopus, slivers of raw scallop and prawns before being crowned with a scoop of perfectly ripe avocado and a drizzle of the appropriately spiced level of sauce and some roasted peanuts. WOW! I mean really, WOW! The crunch of the tostada with the creamy avocado and crab salad and the sweet scallops, slightly chewy octopus and then the roasted chilli sauce (my first taco had La Guerrerense salsa – I think made with chipotle amongst others) – I mean it was just a mouthful full of contrasting textures and flavours and truly, truly delicious!

We were so blissed out that we decided to wander around taking photos before moving onto the next dish however the lovely Uncle at the “Qiong Yuan Bao Luo Fen” stall had other ideas. Seeing our interest in the stalls he beckoned us over and gave us one of his signature soup noodles to try. Made with thick rice noodles that were so slippery it was a struggle to keep them on the fork, beef stock, dried beef, sweetcorn, peanuts and sliced pork Bao Luo Fen literally translates as “hugging a beauty” which is said to be how the locals describe the pleasure of eating this dish. It was the perfect comfort food and a real surprise in just how good it was and did I mention how lovely the Uncle on the stall was?!

E wanted to try the Vietnamese pancakes from Phan Rang 58 and so we headed over there to try their Banh Xeo & Banh Khot. Originating from the coast in Vietnam, Banh Xeo is a pancake and Banh Khot is a rice cake both made with rice flour and served with seafood and minced pork, you are supposed to roll the pancakes up with the Thai basil inside the lettuce leaves and then dip them into the sweet fish sauce they are served with. This was a nice contrast to the richness of the noodles we had just tried, really light and refreshing and the perfect thing to eat by some tropical Vietnamese beach, chilled beer in hand.

We happened to be there whilst Chef Peter Lloyd from London’s W hotels “Spice Market” restaurant was doing a cooking demonstration on Salt and Pepper Sting Ray with a lime, ginger and basil emulsion which was interesting to watch and of course taste! I was lucky enough to chat briefly with both Chef Peter and Chef Ricco, his counterpart from Spice Market NYC which was really interesting and a great benefit of attending events like this for someone like myself who is in the F&B industry.

As I mentioned, we headed back to La Guerrerense for another taco and then onto try some putu mayam rice poppers with sugar and coconut for something sweet to finish with before we finished what had been a great afternoon.

The WSFC had teething issues for sure but this is only to be expected from a first event such as this, shortening the period it runs for, holding more demos and cheaper talks would also be a benefit as well as looking at the layout and having more stalls but I am sure the guys at Makansutra have all this well inhand and have no doubt that next years event will not only be bigger but better.

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