Makansutra: Celebrating hawker food at World Street Food Congress in Manila
Celebrating hawker food at World Street Food Congress in Manila
Hawkers or street food cooks today are seen increasingly as vendors of food culture, especially in countries that have a rich history of street food.
They lend a culinary brand to a place, offer a dish that is a part of their culture, be it old or progressive.
In the new world of travel and lifestyle experiences, these heritage street food vendors are highly sought after by gastronomic travellers.
At the recently concluded World Street Food Congress (WSFC) in Manila, we ranked eateries based on their operational efficiency, hygiene, ingredients sourcing, food preparation techniques, consistency, confidence and the quality and flavour of food.
For these hawkers to be on the Top 50 World Street Food Masters list, their ability to inspire and create jobs in the community was also taken into consideration.
The judges included well-travelled food commentators and writers, food celebrities and professionals with a penchant for heritage street food culture.
Emerging at the top was our own Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (466 Crawford Lane, #01-12). The dish has become something of an icon.
The stall also won a Michelin Star last year.
Franklin Barbecue (Austin Historic East Side, 900 E 11th Street, Austin, Texas) took second spot.
It is a Texan legend, and is known for its soft, juicy, aromatic wood smoked meats with "bark".
Third on the list was Thailand's Che Paek Pu Ob Woon Sen (Thanon Charoen Rat Soi 1, Khlong San, Bangkok). Its steel pot glass noodle crab is a sensation and is made on the spot.
For the first time, the Philippines entered the list, with Aling Lucing Sisig (Glaciano Valdez Street, Angeles, Pampanga), coming in fourth . It created this chopped pig head sizzling platter with lime, soya sauce, onions and chillies, which is now a national dish of sorts.
Renowned US food TV host Anthony Bourdain said it should be featured in his upcoming Bourdain's Market in New York.
Indonesia's Pak Sadi Soto Ambengan (Jl. Wolter Monginsidi No. 28 Petogogan Kebayoran Baru, RT.1/RW.6, Petogogan, Kebayoran Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Jakarta) earned fifth place.
The 2013 champ's spiced chicken soto broth is filled with blended bits of fish and seafood, thickened with a spoonful of crushed prawn crackers and fried garlic, giving it that oomph.
Notable entries include New Dehli chef Dinesh Kumar's Litti Chokha food stand.
Mr Kumar was featured in the inaugural WSFC 2013 and the humble hawker had never travelled before.
He become a star of sorts after that year and today, he has 10 stalls in the city. His garam roasted bread with dahl and chicken curry is a hit every year.
Check out the full 2017 World Street Food Masters list at www.wsfcongress.com