Southeast Asian Dishes to Feature in Anthony Bourdain’s International Street Food Market in New York
Come 2019, a Southeast Asian-style hawker centre – complete with the region’s very best street vendors – is set to open in New York and will occupy a space the size of three football fields, making it the largest food hall in New York by far
Anthony Bourdain, the uncensored chef, author and peripatetic culinary traveler said to The New York Times that he'll be opening Bourdain Market at Pier 57 on the Hudson River, Manhattan, New York.
He pointed out planned attractions with steaming noodle stalls, vibrant farmers’ markets, a mezzanine cluttered with food stations and bars.
“Think of an Asian night market,” he said. “Eating and drinking at midnight.”
“They moved them into enclosed spaces, imposed certain regulations to ensure safe food handling, and now you can go to this cleanest of city-states and line up with people rich and poor – all of whom value the $2.95 plate of noodles just as much as something in a fancy restaurant. Why don’t we have this in New York, or Europe or the rest of the world?” said Bourdain at the World Street Food Congress held in Manila.
And given the scale of the Bourdain Market’s own ambitions, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Bourdain and his partners expect to see it packed with shoppers, diners, and tourists alike — they’re estimating 20,000 visitors per day.
He also assured the crowd that he wants to “introduce New Yorkers to the ways things have been enjoyed in their [the hawkers’] home countries for years. Not a modern, Westernized take. ... We will need open flame. We need the smells. We’re looking for a sense of controlled chaos. We’re creating a living, breathing, stinking market."
“Is there a market in New York for char kway teow? I don’t really give a shit,” Bourdain said. “I love it and I’m pretty sure that if New Yorkers are introduced to good char kway teow, they will love it, too."
When pressed for his wishlist of Singapore stalls, without naming any specific hawker, Bourdain said: “We need a very good char kway teow stall, chicken rice, laksa, nasi lemak and black pepper crab. Those are just the baseline before we even look further to other varieties.”
Bourdain also thinks Americans will go crazy for sisig, predicting it will be a “breakout dish,” fit “into the current pork-centric zeitgeist.” “Best. Thing. Ever,” says Bourdain.
“Filipino food is definitely underrated worldwide. In New York, it doesn’t have hipster credibility yet," he concluded. "But things are changing, and I hope to be a part of that change."
He assured local press that he is not interested in stealing hawkers from their countries: He knows that would be anathema to the international food world. His goal: All invited hawkers need to have the means to open a second shop in NYC in addition to running their original businesses back home.