By the time we arrived, the place was packed. Long lines of people, mostly Singaporean expats, had queued up in front of the various hawker stalls set up around Wollman Rink, which, in colder months, serves as an ice-skating venue.
Despite the crowds, you couldn't have asked for a more orderly affair. There was no pushing, shoving, or line-jumping—most folks seemed content to wait in line and chat with friends and fellow countrymen.
KF Seetoh, the man when it comes to Singapore eats (he's the one behind the Makansutra guides to the city-state's food), was on hand giving cooking demonstrations for the uninitiated.
By the time we got there, some of the stalls had run out of food. Each line had a hundred or more people and took close to an hour or more from end to plate. Seetoh said that each stall served at least 1,000 plates and that many did 1,500. The long lines prevented me from grabbing all of the dishes I wanted to, but what I had—fried hokkien mee, bak kut teh, carrot cake—had me ready to hop on a plane to Singapore.
Serious Eats's Lia Bulaong on the carrot cake: "This was so, so good! Singaporean carrot cake is actually made of radish, as the radish is considered part of the carrot family. The sauce was made from Sichuan peppers with fermented fish paste. I would buy it in jars and eat it with everything if i could. Seetoh said it took four hours to make."
If you missed the event or don't live in New York City, the organizers mentioned the possibility of expanding the event to other American cities at a later date.
Photographs by Lia Bulaong