Singapore on the Hudson
The so-called Bourdain Market, which will purportedly offer food from around the world in 40 to 50 stalls, is certainly generating a lot of interest.
Though Calvin Trilling might argue otherwise (scroll to the very last paragraph), recreating the Singaporean hawker center experience in NYC has always been my fantasy, assuming that one day I became old, wealthy and persuasive enough to make it happen.
(Sometimes this fantasy goes a step further and I imagine having a superpower–invisibility and flying are so overrated–where you could beam yourself anywhere at any time so I could lunch on char kway teow or laksa in Singapore [though it would be the middle of the night] and then materialize right back at my desk afterward.)
Of course I wouldn’t call my food center Garcia Market because that would be really arrogant and stupid, plus it would cause people to expect nachos and I wouldn’t be selling them.
The latest news is that K.F. Seetoh, Singapore’s chowhound-in-chief, will be involved to some degree with Bourdain’s project. I’ve been to Seetoh’s highly curated Gluttons Bay, though sadly I only got some satay to go and took very few pictures because sickness become the overriding theme on that trip. I will say that five years ago I never would’ve imagined a NYC equivalent ever coming to fruition.
It can be fun watching food shows with people who have no interest in food or food personalities. An episode of Parts Unknown focused on Bahia, once appeared on my TV screen and Anthony Bourdain was sitting on a beach eating wedges of grilled cheese on a stick when the scene slowly faded to an attractive woman in a bikini showering al fresco. The cable-free friend posited how funny it would be with a gender reversal. Indeed, a weathered 58-year-old, white-haired woman in shades, drinking caipirinhas, morphing into a hot young man in Speedos would never ever be on TV–though it’s sadly hilarious to imagine it.