Singaporean hawker centre in Manhattan

Urban Hawker, On 135 W.50th, 17 vendors  Here is a NYT review, good photos of the key dishes.  The Hainanese chicken rice was amazing, worthy of Singapore, get it poached of course.  Condiments!  The Malaysian lontong was quite good, the beef rendang decent.  The lamb biryani I enjoyed, with a thick sauce than you would not find in Hyderabad, laden with cloves and cinnamon.  Most of the people there are not Singaporean, but many have “that Singaporean look,” so it feels fairly authentic, except for the prices, which run about $20 a course.  Ordering your meal and finding/keeping a table can be difficult, also making it authentic.  (Choping needed!)  Ordering a meal and getting a drink of water on the same trip can be difficult, making it more authentic yet.  Overall, not as good as it could be but better than you might be expecting.  Some of the vendors verge on Pan-Asian rather than Singaporean proper, but ultimately Singapore itself is headed in that direction.  So I will go again, though I can’t imagine the chili crab is worth the price.  Most of all, you need to go early rather than at peak times.

And if you are wondering what “that Singaporean look” means, I suppose it refers to looking down a bit, earnest, and seeming not entirely happy, all the while focused on getting some excellent food.


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