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Jun 23, 2013 11:43 PM

Gordon Ramsey takes on Singapore's hawker legends

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  1. A cheap attention grab, but not entirely surprising (I have shared my disdain for local food bloggers elsewhere and this is another instance of their general lack of general awareness).

    If they want to bring more tourists to Singapore to enjoy hawker food, which is the only goal they can plausibly achieve in the short-term, then good luck to them.

    But if they want to achieve something greater, the revival of the image of the hawker as an artisan equivalent to a three-Michelin-starred chef, and encourage more capable youngsters to go into the trade, sorry it just ain't going to happen.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Julian Teoh

      I totally agree with you, Julian. I fail to see how the involvement of a British TV celebrity/Michelin-star chef has got to do with gauging the standard of Singapore street food, other than for a publicity stunt. And Singtel? The largest Govt-linked company in town trying to fulfil their CSR quota for this year.

      1. re: M_Gomez

        It's a funny thing, isn't it? Everyone gets something out of this except for the people who love and care about food:

        1. The bloggers pat themselves on the back - "Wah, I brought Gordon Ramsay to Singapore! Look at how cool and influential I am!"

        2. Gordon's a good sport, and always trying to show how much he's a man of the people, so his PR stock continues to go up.

        3. You said it about Singtel!

      2. re: Julian Teoh

        It IS a cheap attention grab, so let's not pay any more attention to it. Seriously.

        1. re: Peech

          It would surprise you, Peech, how much attention and publicity (even in non-food forums, circles, etc) it is getting here in Singapore.

          It's not a matter of giving it oxygen, but the discussion centres around the fact that they are trying to take on a spiral driven essentially by larger socio-economic factors beyond anyone's control. The decline in hawker standards here is a headline-grabber, it is watercooler talk, and events like this become part of the larger discourse.

        2. re: Julian Teoh

          This was pretty much mainly a publicity event though it does bring up the issue of the future of hawker food into the limelight. There are also some good new-gen hawkers. Perhaps not enough.

          Have you tried the Ru Ji Kitchen Fishball Noodles?

        3. I can't watch it in the USA. If it is anything like his Great Escape series it should be interesting.

          4 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            I liked Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape episodes in India:

            It's always funny (and futile) when a small, modern city-state like Singapore tries to dredge up whatever little "exoticism" is left of our culture - in this case, street food cooking - and, put it on TV, throwing in a temperamental Gordon Ramsay whose F-words will obviously be censored out by our prissy censorship board. Oh, and they better warn Mr Ramsay to leave his chewing gum at home when he comes.

            1. re: klyeoh

              "How old are you? 85? F*ck me, you must have bollocks (Gordon cups his hands) the size of f*cking ostrich eggs, you know that? Jesus f*cking Christ!" Translator laughs like it's the funniest thing he's heard (it probably is), while hawker legend smiles politely, not sure what Gordon is going on about.

              Cut to camera monologue, where Gordon is taking his shirt off and changing into his chef's jacket. "He's been doing this, just this one dish, for 75 f*cking years. And he's good, he's bloody good, no f*cking doubt about that. I just hope I'm still cooking like that when I'm f*cking 85. F*ck me". Shakes his head in disbelief.

              Repeat 6 times and presto, episode 1!

              1. re: Julian Teoh

                Perfect! Now repeat 13 times and you have a series.

              2. re: klyeoh

                I was told that Gordon Ramsay was surprisingly friendly.

            2. I can't watch it in Canada, either!! Pity!!

              1. Pls let me clarify on the content of this video. Its merely a video of GR accepting a throwdown issued by Singtel challenging him to take on Singapore's hawker legends.

                The actual event has yet to happen. As it were, the organisers have yet to decide which hawker to pit against the English chef.

                1. So, Gordon Ramsay's in town now. The challenge - to cook 1,000 portions of Singapore chilli crab, Hainanese chicken rice and Katong laksa, takes place between 6-9pm at Newton Food Centre this Sunday, July 7.

                  Going head-to-head against Messr Ramsay are 3 of Singapore's top hawkers:
                  1) For Singapore chilli crab: Ang Kiam Meng from Jumbo Seafood;
                  2) For Hainanese chicken rice: Mdm Foo Kui Lian from Tian Tian Chicken Rice, and
                  3) For Katong Laksa: Ryan Koh from 328 Katong Laksa in East Coast Road.

                  For more news:

                  I *won't* be there, I'm flying off to the *real* hawker paradise in this part of the world this weekend - Penang :-D

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: klyeoh

                    I know where I'd rather be.

                    Hint: not Newton :D

                    1. re: Julian Teoh

                      I'm going to make a concerted effort to avoid Newton Circus! I can imagine the traffic jams there!