The best of hawker fare comes to The Fullerton Hotel's Town Restaurant from March 26 to April 6, with 10 top hawkers showcasing their local delights as part of the restaurant's dinner buffet spread.
Savour everything from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Haron Satay, Casuarina Curry Restaurant's roti prata and hearty lontong from Nusa & Tara - without having to queues at their stalls.
Hawker grandmasters (L-R): Ms Mariani Marto of Nusa & Tara, Madam Gwee Peck Hua of Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh, Ms Harlina Haron of Haron Satay, Mr Elango Subramaniam from Casuarina Curry, Ms Doreen Ho of Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodles and Ms Foo Kui Lian of Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJESEGARAN
The others include nasi lemak from Haji Maksah Barkat Chahya Food, Original Serangoon Fried Hokkien Mee, Indian rojak from Rojak & Mee Siam, Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodles, Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh and Roxy Laksa.
These hawkers were judged to be at the top of their game at the yearly Singapore Hawker Masters hunt. The awards programme started in 2010 and is organised by The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao newspapers.
Each year, six categories of hawker food are identified and the search begins for the master in each one.
After public voting to shortlist three finalists in the categories each year, a panel of judges picks the winning stall after tasting sessions.
The judges include Mr Dennis Wee, chairman of real estate agency Dennis Wee Group; food consultant Violet Oon; and Mr Wong Ah Yoke, Straits Times food critic.
Six of the 10 hawkers were present at a media preview yesterday at Town Restaurant. The hawkers themselves may not always be around during the promotion as they still have to run their stalls daily.
Besides cooking yesterday, the hawkers also took the opportunity to meet their fellow Hawker Masters and try one another's dishes.
Ms Harlina Haron, 40, of Haron Satay at East Coast Lagoon Village Food Centre, says: "We feel honoured to be part of this event. We are friends with Casuarina Curry's owners and it's great to be cooking together with the other hawkers too."
Ms Mariani Marto, 50, and her husband Sarponen Amin, 57, owners of Nusa & Tara at ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre at Block 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, who specialise in hand-made lontong, have noted a 30 per cent increase in business since winning the Hawker Masters title for best lontong.
Mr Sarponen says: "We've heard of many of these famous stalls but don't often get the chance to try them. Now is a good time to not only meet the hawkers, but try their food too."
On the opportunity to cook at The Fullerton Hotel, 40-year-old Doreen Ho of Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodles at Old Airport Road Food Centre says in Mandarin: "It's a good experience for us to introduce our local food in a hotel.
"We are a bit nervous about cooking for the customers here, but it will help us to improve. It's an honour for us to have tourists staying at the hotel to try our food too."
The Fullerton Heritage's general manager, Mr Giovanni Viterale, 48, says: "As a heritage hotel, we want to celebrate the very best with our Hawker Masters. Locals and tourists alike love good hawker food and we hope to continue this in the restaurant.
"Next month, we are also looking to include local desserts such as traditional kueh for our dessert counter."
THE SINGAPORE HAWKER MASTERS AT THE FULLERTON HOTEL
Where: Town Restaurant, The Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square, lobby level
When: March 26 to April 6, 6.30 to 10.30pm Price: $52 (adult), $26 (child aged six to 12 years old)
Info: Call 6877 8128 or e-mail email@example.com
This article was first run The Straits Times newspaper on March 15, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.