KUALA LUMPUR: In another endorsement for Line Clear nasi kandar in Penang, which was recently ranked No. 9 on the world Top 50 Street Masters 2017, acclaimed chef and TV food show host Anthony Bourdain has given the outlet the nod for his Bourdain Market in New York.
The US$60mil (RM256mil) food market – billed as the “food market of the century” by Eater magazine – will feature 100 of the world’s best street foods.
This announcement on the Malaysian hawkers who have made it to his hot 100 list – so far – includes the Sarawak laksa announced last year on the Bourdain Market Instagram. The Choon Hui Café Sarawak laksa in Kuching goes down in Bourdain’s book as a “breakfast of gods”.
Bourdain was speaking at a dialogue at the World Street Food Congress in Manila earlier this month. The author of Kitchen Confidential and star of acclaimed food shows – CNN’s Parts Unknown, the Travel Channel’s No Reservations and The Layover, and Food Network’s A Cook’s Tour – is recognised as one of the most influential chefs in the world.
The fact that New York does not have a real food market like the ones in Singapore and Hong Kong is shocking to the New York native.
“This is why we are trying to put together this enormous project in New York where we hope to bring together people in one place to do what they do so well for a very long time,” said Bourdain.
So what is this god of food looking for in a potential vendor?
“Obviously it’s about my taste ... it is always about me!” he said with a laugh.
“Is there a market in New York for char kway teow? I don’t really give a s***. I love it and I’m pretty sure that if New Yorkers are introduced to a really good char kway teow, they will love it too.
“The determining factor to me is if a Singaporean grandmother and her grandson would be able to recognise it; that this is not some bull**** Disneyland version of Hawker World. We are talking of a wide selection of the real deal.”
While Bourdain has the last say on who gets on the list, he is working with the nonprofit Street Vendor Project and has enlisted the help of Asia’s guru of grub, the Singapore-based KF Seetoh, whom he credits with showing him “some of the best meals of my life”.
Seetoh is founder of Makansutra and the World Street Food Congress. While Seetoh has voted both Line Clear and Siam Road char kway teow in Penang to his Top 50 Street Masters 2017 hall of fame, when it comes to char kway teow, Bourdain’s preference is Singapore’s Hill Street version, according to his Instagram list.
Construction of the Bourdain Market is ongoing at Pier 57 on the Hudson River, constituting a part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project touted as the “future of New York”. It is slated to open in 2019.