Tuesday, January 22, 2013
World Street Food Congress - Presenting, Preserving and Professionalising Street Food Globally
Street food - oh, how it's fed and fascinated people from all over the world.
You've got Jolly Jeeps in the Philippines, tacos stands in Mexico, food alleys in China, food trucks in America, stalls in Bangkok, and kaki limas in Indonesia. Street food is the biggest, most loved and yet most unstructured culinary culture in the world.
But this much beloved cuisine is also one that's most under threat. Street food is often borne out of hardship in developing countries. Cheap, fast and filling food for the poor by the poor - deliciously so! It is honed by people willing to put in long, tedious hours often for not very much in return. In Singapore itself, the continuity of the our hawker food is often greatly debated as the older generation that made it great passes on, and the younger ones pick a more comfortable career.
The World Street Food Congress is happening 31 May to 9 June this year in Singapore at the F1 Pit Building and Paddock (1 Republic Boulevard). It's spearheaded by KF Seetoh, street food champion, founder of food consultancy and street food guide publisher Makansutra, and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). There's a whole lot of people actively throwing their lot into this as well, including:
- TV host and street food aficionado Anthony Bourdain
- chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten who loves creating dishes inspired by the street foods of Asia
- editor-in-chief of US food publication Saveur, James Oseland
- China's top TV food host and winemaker Johnny Chan
The World Street Food Congress comprises three main prongs:
1. World Street Food Dialogue (3 and 4 June): aka the heavy-duty stuff. Big names and prominent minds will meet and present ideas, plans and opportunities for the industry ahead. If you're in the trade, you'll be keen to take a look. The line-up of speakers will be revealed at a later date.
2. The World Street Food Jamboree (31 May to 9 June): the part where consumers are probably most interested in! This is where 35 of the world's best street food masters gather and present an amazing feast! Well, it's also to generate leads and opportunities for the public to be part of the industry.
3. The World Street Food Awards: the world's first awards of its kind to build awareness and recognition, not just for the street food masters, but for their culture and country as well.
So mark your calendars. This very exciting global initiative is kicking off in Asia because we have the richest and widest array of street food, which thoroughly deserves to continue and flourish. And for it to do so, we need to encourage the jobs, skills and opportunities with the tripartite help of government, private sector and the people. Seriously, this could not have come at a better time. Here's to celebrating street food worldwide for more years to come!