A first-of-its-kind Singaporean food hall lands in Midtown Manhattan

An array of Singaporean street food at Urban Hawker. | Credit: Max Flatow Photography

Welcome to your monthly guide to the must-know food-world news in New York City right now. Discover the latest industry trends, the hottest restaurants to try, and more. Dine on.

A first-of-its-kind food hall opened in Midtown Manhattan this September: Urban Hawker, which serves Singaporean street food, saves New Yorkers a nearly 19-hour flight to the Southeast Asian city-state. 

Hawker centers stand for everyday, affordable meals in Singapore, representing the island’s melting-pot culture, a blend of Chinese, Indian, and Malay influences. The kaleidoscopic food halls are so significant that they earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 2020.

New York City’s version is a 14,000-square-foot sprawl with 11 stalls, just northeast of Times Square. Must-tries at the 51st street edition include the Hainanese chicken rice, prawn noodle soup, and sardine puffs. Urban Hawker is the brainchild of guidebook writer K.F. Seetoh, a friend of the late Anthony Bourdain’s, who originally floated the idea in 2014.

Here’s some other food news you don’t want to miss this month: 

  • Food history buffs, take note: exciting new showcases to check out across the city include Food in New York at Museum of the City of New York, the food-themed art show Nafas at Invisible Dog, and The Jewish Deli exhibit opening at New York Historical society on November 11. 
  • There’s a reason New York’s restaurant menus are now so simple, according to Grub Street’s deep dive on the “great pare down.” Shrinking menus and down-sized dishes are a response to supply-chain woes and ongoing labor shortages.
  • A new app, Flavrs, backed by chefs Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio, debuted in September. Envisioned as part TikTok, part grocery delivery service, and part Spotify playlist for food content, Flavrs will offer cooking videos for “people who live to eat,” plus smart, shoppable recipes by cooks and content creators such as Andrew “Babish” Rea and Jamie Milne.

Before you go, these are the new NYC restaurants to check out this month:

  • Contemporary French with Viennese flair at Koloman. Book now
  • Swanky but shareable dinner party food at RH Guesthouse. Book now
  • French cafe favorites at L’Entree. Book now
  • Family-style Southeast Asian fare at Hidden Leaf. Book now
  • Seasonal Japanese tasting menus at U Omakase. Book now

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner is a writer based in Brooklyn, where she lives with her wife and rescue dog. You can follow her on Instagram @melissabethk and Twitter @melissabethk

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