An Authentic Singaporean Hawker Center Just Opened in NYC

Iconic Singaporean brands and vendors are coming to Urban Hawker.

Photo by Max Flatow, courtesy of Urban Hawker

Authentic Southeast Asian flavors are closer than you think in NYC. Today, the first Singapore Hawker market in the US is opening in NYC, and it's ready to have visitors travel to the other side of the world through food.

Urban Hawker, the highly anticipated food hall, is soft-opening its doors today in Midtown Manhattan at 135 W 50th Street. Curated by KF Seetoh, an expert of Singaporean foods, the space mimics the experience of Singapore's very own hawker centers, a collection of tightly-packed street food vendors offering world-renowned cuisine.

Bringing to the city the diverse cuisines that make up the Singaporean culinary scene, Urban Hawker aims to introduce Southeast Asian food culture in an authentic and genuine way. Many of the vendors at the center bring their brands directly from Singapore, and some of them flaunt multiple popular and legendary locations there.

It's all about sharing the Singaporean heritage and culture with the Big Apple.

"At Urban Hawker we have a great range of international flavors that we're excited to present to New York's diverse and curious palates and people," Seeoth said in an official statement. "I have always believed that our hawker food will be well-liked by the world. Why? Because it's just good, humble heritage fare that the world will love, too."

Among the 17 featured vendors, hungry visitors can expect to find anything from Singaporean-inspired Chinese culinary tradition to Malay cuisine, authentic Singapore delicacies, and even breakfast food and cocktails. Those wishing to try national dishes can head over to Hainan Jones, which proudly serves Singapore Hainanese chicken rice, one of Singapore's favorite local dishes. Prawnaholic Collections is Alan Choong's prawn noodle concept, which originally opened at Pasir Ris hawker center in East Singapore in 2018 and quickly achieved success. There, guests are encouraged to try the signature special prawn ramen, featuring torched pork belly, crispy pork lard, prawns, fish cake, and ajitsuke tamago. For a sweet taste of Singapore, visitors can try Kopifellas, a modern coffee shop that flaunts seven locations throughout Singapore. The Nanyang kopi (coffee) or tea with the traditional kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs is a must, and boba tea is also available.

One of the main attractions of Singapore's culinary scene is the mixed influence from other countries, and hawker centers proudly display the cultural food diversity. In NYC, Wok & Staple by Dragon Phoenix brings iconic dishes from Chinese-Singaporean food, with national favorites including Sambal Chili Crab, Yam Basket, and Kyoto Pork Ribs.

For a Malay experience centered around communal dining, Padi D'NYC showcases signature items from their Singapore menu, including satay served with homemade peanut sauce, beef rendang, and mee rebus. Singapore Indian cuisine is also represented at Urban Hawker, and Mamak's Corner proudly invites guests to try dishes like nasi biryani, a South Indian saffron basmati rice served with your choice of chicken, lamb, or fish curry, along with pickled vegetables and papadom. A roti selection is also available, and guests can choose their favorite kind of flatbread, including prata, murtabak, and chapati, to fill with chicken or lamb curry.

Urban Hawker is open every day from 8 am–11 pm. For more information and for a complete list of vendors, you can visit the market's website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.