Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 – Celebrating Singapore’s Hawker Heritage
I AM CURATING ULTIMATE HAWKER FEST 2014!
When Touch Community approached me in August, I just looked at them in utter shock. “WHAT? ME? ARE YOU KIDDING?” Obviously the ladies were very serious about it. After a long discussion and assurance, I agreed. For those who are not familiar, the Ultimate Hawker Fest originally started in 2012 as a charity event to showcase some of our finest street food in Singapore. At the same time, it was also an event to raise money for the beneficiaries under the care of TOUCH Community Services.
I have been to the Ultimate Hawker Fest in 2012 and 2013. I have seen how successful the event was and how the profits has helped so many beneficiaries. Honestly, the task to continue this festival and make it a better one is definitely a challenging one. I feel the stress. I don’t know what got into me to agree to it. But yeah, LET’S DO IT!
Running this blog for 7 years, I have been thinking about how to merge my passion for food with charitable activities. Ultimate Hawker Festival is the perfect opportunity. With less than 3 months, one man effort is definitely impossible. So I got in my makan kakis – Derrick and Ian to join me in the planning fun. I guess being my friends is not the greatest thing afterall. LOL.
After the venue was confirmed in late August, we spent a good one month searching for potential hawkers. Honestly, this is the most difficult part. Till date, all of us have spoken to close to 100 hawkers. The rejection we got is a common story every other day. Many of them simply don’t have the manpower to run an extra stall. Three of us have our individual contacts and we spent alot of time meeting the hawkers every week. Finally, the menu is ready.
Over the last two years, the event has also been a great opportunity to bring our various hawker heroes under one place to produce “ultimate” versions of their hawker dishes. This would include using some of the most premium and exceptional ingredients to bolster their dishes.
However this year, the “ultimate” element is not just restricted to using special ingredients, but the ultimate aspect will come to include the essence and authenticity of our classic hawker/street food. Hence, we present to you our three never-before-seen ultimate food zones:
1. “Ultimate Original Recipe” – celebrates the heritage of pioneer generation hawkers through stalls helmed by chefs from the second, third and fourth generations of famous hawkers.
2. “Ultimate Pursuit of Happiness” – celebrates the enterprising spirit of budding chefs and hawkers by featuring individuals who left their jobs in other sectors to pursue their passion in the hawker industry.
3. “Ultimate Ingredients” – features hawkers who have added special ingredients to conventional hawker fares to create dishes that are truly a league of its own!
Expect over 20 hawker stalls present at the event. We will see some returning favourites who will be showcasing the “ultimate” versions of their signature dishes. These will include Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice who will be using 100 day corn fed Anxin chicken which are free from harmful chemicals and antibiotics, and Uncle Kun (Genshu) who will be presenting his special abalone filled glutinous rice at this year’s event. We have also found new debutants including Tony Tee’s Crocodile King Soup (specially for this one-day event only!) and Uncle Lim’s authentic Teochew bak kut teh from Rong Cheng.
This year’s event is also an opportunity to highlight some of our young generation hawkers and food makers who have valiantly taken on this challenging but proud heritage of producing our own local street cuisine.
Some of our younger hawkers will include Penang Kia, started by a young couple comprising former flight attendants, Old Bibik by two army friends, Fishball Story which is started by 23 year old Douglas, as well as some of the older establishment’s next generation of food makers such as Gavin from Lek Lim Nonya Kueh Confectionary, Teochew Handmade Pau and Jin Jin Dessert.
Celebrity chefs such as Chef Eric Neo from intercontinental Hotel, Chef Tan Yong Hua from Restaurant HOME and Chef Melvin from Ramada & Days Hotel will be showcasing our local delights on that day. Culinary consultant Shen Tan will also be cooking her famous nasi lemak. Not forgetting Kingsley who will be doing sio bak. Well known local brands like TenderFresh, Mr Bean and Moonshee Satay will all be supporting the festival too.
All in all, it has been an exciting time working with the hawkers who will be partnering us in Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014, and personally, it has been both a privilege and an immense joy to be participating in the event.
As per previous years, Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 coupons will be the official currency for food purchase at the event. Coupon Booklets priced at $50 each can be purchased online at the official event wensite. Proceeds from the event will go towards meeting the needs of over 32,000 clients and 231,000 service users across the 17 services under the care of TOUCH, regardless of race and religion. So, that alone is a good enough reason for everyone to come down on that day to partake in the activities!
But the main thing is the wonderful food that will be on display on that day, and Singaporeans are known to be very passionate about their hawker fare, I see every reason for every local foodie to turn up at this event.
Here’s the menu:
I really hope to see everyone there for what I believe, will be one of the most significant food events of 2014!