Famous hawkers from Singapore debut overseas
Makansutra Hawkers has finally launched in Manila
It had been a year coming, fraught with issues, including ingredient sourcing problems and lack of proper local equipment and expertise.
But Makansutra Hawkers has finally launched in Manila - with 11 stalls, plus a refreshment and snack station, spread over about 14,000 sq ft in SM Megamall.
With support from our technical advisers, Mr Anthony Kweh and Mr Y R Seow, we created one of the most modern yet retro-looking heritage food halls in Manila.
Five famous hawkers and street food restaurants from Singapore and Malaysia made their international debut - Geylang Claypot Rice, Alhambra Padang Satay, HK Street Old Chun Kee, Jin Ji Braised Duck and Kway Chap and Donald & Lily.
CLASSICS: Crispy and fluffy roti prata. PHOTO: KF SEETOH
All, except Geylang Claypot Rice, were featured at the recent World Street Food Congress in Manila.
The other stalls are new hawkers licensed under Makansutra and trained by hawkers in the team and myself.
There is Mian Ji (fried Hokkien prawn mee and the soup version), Baoji Xiang (chicken rice and paper-wrapped chicken), Ah Tee (oyster omelette and carrot cake), Adam's Ribs (bak kut teh), and Curry Flurry (roti prata, fish head curry and nasi briyani).
CLASSICS: Some of the 300 people who showed up at the Makansutra Hawkers opening. PHOTO: KF SEETOH
At the press preview and tasting session, 50 media folks came. Many were familiar with Singapore food.
They were treated to a spread that featured salted egg yolk crab, claypot rice, oyster omelette and more, all cooked by the Filipino chefs.
The design is a throwback to the 60s and 70s.
Corrugated zinc sheets were used for the ceiling and the floor is plain polished concrete.
There is graffiti on walls, construction beams in the middle of the eatery and the furniture does not match.
Paper-wrapped chicken noodles: From Baoji Xiang stall. Sesame oil and sambal wanton noodles with pieces of chicken marinated in wine, ginger, pepper, and soya sauce.
Oyster omelette: Crispy and gooey with local oysters and a homemade lime, vinegar and chilli sauce.
Claypot rice: They bake it from the bottom and sides using a wood fire so it has crispy - but not charred - bits of rice topped with chicken, Chinese meat and liver sausage and salted fish.
Chicken rice: I remember this the old-fashioned way and that's how I taught the team to make it. It comes in one plate with a heap of garlic, ginger and pandan-laced rice. It is served with the three dips: soya sauce, ginger, and chilli.
Beef donburi: A bowl of rice is topped with slow-cooked beef, tendons and egg. Extremely hearty.
Kway chap: From Jin Ji Braised Duck and Kway Chap. This was a hit at the World Street Food Congress and they drew the same eager response. The Filipinos did not realise offal can taste this good, especially with the tangy sambal.
Nachos with salted egg yolk sauce: Just good old crispy nachos with a bowl of curry leaves and chilli-laced salted egg yolk sauce.
2/F SM Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like food markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.