Visitors to the recent World Street Food Congress in Singapore were urged to celebrate heritage dishes and street food culture worldwide and dine on “food that you can’t even pronounce.”
With dishes like gudeg, sisig, apom and hoy tord on some menus and close to two dozen carefully selected stalls representing specialties from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and nine other countries, that wasn’t at all hard to do.
Hungry? Here are some dishes spotted at the international street food fest.
Bearing no resemblance to the moist, dark, carrot-flecked cake covered in cream cheese frosting you might find in a U.S. coffee shop, the white carrot cake popular in Singapore looks more like a potato pancake. This one, by Chey Sua Carrot Cake, is made with rice flour and white radish (called white carrot) that is first steamed and then fried with garlic and eggs.
Known for its Chili Crab (made with spices and thick gravy) and a dish called Moonlight Hor Fun, Singapore’s Keng Eng Kee Seafood (KEK) dished up a seafood sampler platter with soft shell crab, calamari, eggplant and a trio of tasty dipping sauces.
The traditional Javanese breakfast dish, gudeg, is a sweet stew made from unripe jackfruits and cooked – for up to 3 days – with a variety of spices. At its stall, Gudeg Yu Nap, from Indonesia, served the stew with greens, crispy cow skin crackers and grilled chicken.
In the Philippines, the much-heralded private dining venue known as Pepita’s Kitchen is famous for the special twist a stuffing of white truffle oil paella gives to the popular street food fare, lechon, a roast suckling pig dish. At the World Street Food Congress, a plate of Pepita’s Truffle Lechon Diva included roasted pork slices and crispy pork skin pieces on a bed of that flavorful rice.
In addition to authentic German bratwurst – a chunky pork sausage – Singapore-based Bratworks served up Germany’s national street food: currywurst sausage blended with masala and covered with Heinz curry tomato ketchup.
Street food from the United States was represented with churros sundaes by Portland, Oregon’s Churros Locos, two Asian-inspired dishes from Austin’s East Side King and a Jersey-style deep fried anchovies dish by Bon Chovie, from New York City.