Singaporean cuisine has sadly yet to gain a major foothold in the U.S., but thanks to Singapore Restaurant Week, New Yorkers got a taste of what they’re missing out on. And on Friday night, Singapore chefs; culinary influencers; VIPs; members of participating restaurants from restaurant week including Shake Shack, Madison Square Park, Bergdorf’s, and ilili box (which transformed into a hawker pop-up stall); Singapore street food authority KF Seetoh; and those involved in the week’s culinary activations were treated to a special Throwdown Party hosted by The Daily Meal at the International Culinary Center.
The evening began with a brief introduction by The Daily Meal’s Vice President and Editorial Director Colman Andrews, who introduced Singapore Tourism Board Director Lionel Yeo as well as the evening’s guest chefs, Marea’s Michael White, Sky on 57’s Justin Quek, and Keng Eng Kee’s Wayne Liew. Guests had the opportunity to watch the guest chefs prepare passed small plates, including Liew’s deep-fried “har cheong” pork ribs and salted egg yolk chili crab, Quek’s Yusheng salad with sashimi, and White’s sweet potato samosas and grilled prawns with laksa vinaigrette.
The cooking demonstration portion of the evening followed next, with Quek demoing wok-fried sirloin in Asian black pepper sauce, Liew cooking classic Singapore chili crab, and White preparing chili crab fried rice with puffed rice and cilantro for the gathered crowd to sample.
White, a traditionally Italian chef who also happened to be the only non-Singaporean chef in the kitchen, actually felt right at home trying his hand at Singaporean cuisine. “Singapore is a nation of foodies, and I had one of the most intense and amazing eating experiences of my life there, so I’m just glad to be able to take the party to Manhattan,” he told me. “The cuisine of Singapore is such a hodgepodge, a melting pot of so many different cultures. We all gravitate to impact flavors, ones that are different from what we cook, and while we don’t use Asian flavors at Marea, there’s a tremendous amount that I’m learning that I can apply to something at the restaurant. We can solve all the world’s problems if we sit down and break bread together.”
As the evening wound down with a video showing all the different events that the week had to offer, it was clear that it had all been a major success, as well as hopefully a taste of things to come. Read on for photos from the event.
“Har Cheong” Pork Ribs