I'm still too tired from following Gordon Ramsay around Singapore the past weekend and surviving the very exciting and intense Singtel Hawker Heroes showdown at Newton Food Centre.
You can read my Yahoo story which came out just a few hours after the event for what happened.
As you all know by now, the British celebrity chef won for chili crab, but could not beat Tian Tian for chicken rice, and 328 Katong Laksa for laksa.
I will add the Ramsay eye candy for all you fans of his later tomorrow.
Oh what the heck, here you go.
Personally, I like the rice in Ramsay's chicken rice better (lighter, drier and not "jelak" or satiating). Tian Tian's was a little too mushy for my tastes, and saltily smothered with gravy. Their chicken was slippery and tender, while Ramsay's was served almost without skin. But Ramsay lost out majorly in terms of the chili sauce alone - his was made with vinegar, while the other is fragrant with lime, ginger and garlic.
Chef Ramsay's laksa was commendable - again more savoury and robust. Rather strong on spices like turmeric and blue ginger...and there's something else in there I can't quite identify. Keropokman said it tastes more like curry mee than laksa. It does take a while getting used to, but I liked it enough.
You know what? @GordonRamsay 's chili crab is better. It's the way I would want chili crab to be.
— Catherine Ling (@Camemberu) July 7, 2013
opening a restaurant here...
KF Seetoh, which also ended in a high-five.
This isn't really about who is more superior or skilled, but shows that it doesn't matter what awards you have, good food can be found in the humblest of places using ingredients that aren't premium or fancy.
Hawkers have been serving us great, tasty and very importantly - affordable meals. That, to me, is an even bigger challenge, because you can easily turn out great meals with best grade and pricey ingredients, and a grand kitchen. Half the job is done for you. But try serving the masses on a budget and keep them coming back for more?
And it was nice to see that even such a decorated chef can turn humble and learn from folks who do exactly that. He's already dreaming up dishes for his restaurants using what he learned here.
Well, at the end of it all, I think the Singtel Hawker Heroes event was a huge publicity coup - the competition itself is mainly great entertainment, but it did wonders fanning our loyalty for hawker food, and putting Singapore hawker food on the international radar. I don't think getting Ramsay to come here was easy (or cheap). But this will remain a talking point for quite some time to come.
So, everybody wins! Singtel, hawkers, Ramsay, and us!
Here's a part of the brief press conference given after the results. I summarised most of it in my Yahoo story too. Sorry for shaky video - trying to juggle taking both photos and videos using iPhone and DSLR! Yeah, I know, I'm greedy.
Watch the crowd go wild at the end as he leaves...
So Singtel, you have spoiled us. What's next?
All photos (unless indicated otherwise) taken with the Canon EOS 6D, kindly loaned to me by Canon Singapore.