World Street Food Dialogue: Heritage Street Food Trends & Insights (Summary)

Related Blog Post: World Street Food Jamboree: 15 Hawker Stalls Worth Lining Up For!

World Street Food Dialogue
The World Street Food Congress (WSFC) is a symposium–both a conference and a street feasting festival–celebrating the world’s most popular heritage street food culture with the theme: “Comforting Flavors of Home“.


The third edition of WSFC was held for the first time in Manila, presented by Makansuntra, Department of Tourism, and Ayala Malls, to put the Philippines on the world street food map. The WSFC Dialogue on April 20-21 covered issues of preservation, sustainability, and opportunities for the industry. 

World Street Food Congress Manila 2016 Series:

– World Street Food Dialogue: Heritage Street Food Trends & Insights (Summary)
World Street Food Jamboree: 15 Hawker Stalls Worth Lining Up For! #WSFC16 (Updated!)
FOODIE GUIDE to the World Street Food Congress in Manila! (April 20-24, 2016) @Makansutra
World Street Food Dialogue: “Can Deliciousness Cure Poverty and Create Opportunities?”
Philippines’ First 15-Hour Food Tour Frenzy Safari (Part 1) #WSFC16
An Epic 15-Hour Food Tour in Manila (Part 2) #WSFC16
Announcing… World Street Food Congress in Manila! (April 20-24, 2016)


Here is the summary of trends and our insights from the street food culture around the world…

World Street Food Dialogue
The dialogue brought in world-class players and speakers in the field to share and even partner up for local and international opportunities.


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The talks focused more on heritage street food business opportunities and collaboration.


World Street Food Dialogue
“Street Food is a brand, it is a cuisine inherited from our parents and culture.”

“People love to travel to eat the best dishes of that country, bringing home the ultimate culinary souvenir.”

K.F. Seetoh, Founder of Makansutra and Creator of the World Street Food Congress 


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The key thought leaders in the culinary field and street food heritage in Manila attended the dialogue. 


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Anton Diaz (Philippines), Founder of Our Awesome Planet and Co-founder of Mercato Centrale.

I had the privilege of opening the dialogue on the topic: Capitalizing on Street Food and Heritage Food Opportunities in Manila“.


Opportunity #1: Boom of the Heritage Street Food Scene in Manila
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Manila’s golden demographic – 50% of the population below the age of 25 with enough spending power to travel and try new things.


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The Philippines has one of the highest Consumer Confidence Index, 117, which measures perceptions about local job prospects, personal finances, and immediate spending intentions.


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2016 is the year of Food Halls, Food Parks, Food Courts, and Hawker Markets in Manila, which all cater to this demographic.


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Mercato Centrale is one of the biggest pop-up weekend markets in the metro that addresses to the demand of this group for good food at a price range of P150-250.


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Watch out for the next evolution of the semi-permanent Mercato in BGC!


Opportunity #2:. The Post-Avant-Garde movement era focus on Origins, Flavors, and Eco-systems

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Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca (#1 restaurant in World’s 50 Best) presented the Post-Avante-Garde era of focusing more on flavors, ingredients, origins, and eco-systems instead of on techniques, as was in the molecular gastronomy era. 


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There’s more emphasis on going back to the roots, heritage cuisine, and presenting it progressively. Like, for example, this green mango soaked in Cerveza Negra bubbles and topped with Himalayan sea salt.


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Our heritage, however, is not only rooted in Luzon, but also in other parts of the country like Mindanao. This Chicken Pyanggang dish, for instance, prepared by Chef Tatung in Madrid Fusion Manila is a Tausug heritage dish cooked using burnt coconut husks.


Opportunity #3: Developing Intramuros as a Food Destination

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Street vendors in Intramuros have been considered an “eye-sore” by the Intramuros Administration for the longest time now.


World Street Food Dialogue
The Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Manininda ng Intramuros or SANAMAI is taking a stand for the rights, education, and one voice of the street vendor community in Intramuros.


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In 2014, the Intramuros Administration worked with the World Bank for the mobility, traffic, and pedestrianization plan of the street vendor market and how to make them an integral part of the community’s genuine soul.



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There are initial plans to work with Kenneth Cobonpue on the design of the street stalls, with Chef Jessie Sincioco on the culinary education and hygiene. It also includes branding studies and uniforms to uplift the status of the vendors.


World Street Food Dialogue
Ian Kittichai (Thailand), Thailand’s Iron Chef.

Street Food Masterclass (Food Demo): BBQ Pork Skewers (Moo Ping)


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Selling street food is a great training ground for entry-level entrepreneurship. 


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He encourages making street food not only tasty but also healthy using organic and sustainable ingredients.


World Street Food Dialogue
Richard Tan (Singapore), Former Director of the Hawker Centres Division of the National Environment Agency.

Topic: Government’s Role in Preserving and Delivering Street Food Culture–a Singaporean Perspective


World Street Food Dialogue
In the 1960’s, vendors in Singapore would sell their food on the streets, which gave rise to issues such as proper sanitation, improper trash disposals, and health problems.

With the intervention of the government they were able to regulate the vendors, through providing hawker centers with proper facilities.

In the 1980’s, hawker centers proved to be very successful and the government allowed the private sectors to manage.

In the year 2010, hawker centers became more of a place to make business and the government intervened again.


World Street Food Dialogue

The government intervened to lower cost because of the rising rental value of the privately owned hawker centers.

Hawker Centers became a hotbed for political issues and a place where the heritage and identity of the people were preserved through tradition and recipes.


World Street Food Dialogue
Singapore Government’s Modes of Intervention:

Focus on Infrastructure
– Provide infrastructures, opportunities and keeping costs (rent) low to allow hawkers to earn.
– Currently have 107 owned and managed hawker centers by the government and 15 thousand stall holders.
– The plan is to build 20 new hawker centers in the year 2025 in Singapore.
– A source of hidden increase in Singapore’s GDP

The Need for Preservation
– Because of a change in pace, hawkers who know the recipes are shrinking and dying.
– Youngsters are influenced by other glamorous careers that hawkers are slowly becoming a dying breed.

Role of Social Enterprises
– Social and private sectors are taking over by hiring someone to learn and deliver the same taste.
– The first generation hawkers are passing it down to the second generation.


World Street Food Dialogue
Chef Xu Jiny Yi, (China) 

Street Food Masterclass (Food Demo): Zhu Hou Chicken


World Street Food Dialogue
Chef Xu practices Foshan style cooking (old school Cantonese fare) by preparing them the traditional way, similar to Guangzhou style but a little sweeter.


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Sangeeta Singh (India) 

Topic: Protecting & Preserving Street Vendor livelihood


World Street Food Dialogue
For 14 years, Sangeeta Singh has been protecting the livelihood of street vendors in India though the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), a non-government organization that is constantly challenging and defending the rights of 10 million street vendors in India.

They have successfully engaged with the federal government to legitimize all itinerant vendors throughout India.


World Street Food Dialogue
They started a street food program wherein for 2 days the vendors undergo a hygiene seminar and be registered, including a 500 Rupee incentive.


World Street Food Dialogue
They have organized a successful world-class food festival (Nasvi Delhi Street Food Festival), showing the diversity and rich culinary recipes of the different states. 

The festival was so successful that it became a venue for music and entertainment, thus even making more noise from the younger generation.


World Street Food Dialogue
Malcolm Lee, Candle Nut (Singapore) 

Street Food Masterclass (Food Demo): Singapore Laksa


World Street Food Dialogue
Digging down to his Perenakan roots and old recipes from his grandmother, Chef Malcom Lee prepares a Singaporean favorite–the Laksa.

A popular spicy noodle soup in Peranakan cuisine, it’s a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with prawn in spicy soup based on spicy curry coconut milk.


World Street Food Dialogue
Woo Wai Leong (Singapore), Master Chef Asia 2015 Winner 

Street Food Masterclass (Food Demo): Sapin-Sapin


World Street Food Dialogue
Chef Leong reinvented a popular Filipino dessert the sapin-sapin. He made a point to stay true to using the same textures, colors, and main ingredients–coconut milk, glutinous rice, ube, and jackfruit–in this creative dish.

The new creation is a chewy ube glutinous ball, with coconut milk sherbet, topped with dried candied jackfruit and fried coconut “tuile”.


World Street Food Dialogue
Sean Basinski (USA)

Topic: Problems with street vending in New York

In 1998, Sean Basinski spent his summer selling burritos from pushcarts in the street and was constantly harassed by the law. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, he got a grant of $15,000 from Yale Law School to set up Street Vendor Project (SVP), a non-profit organization that provides legal representation and advocacy for 20,000 people who make a living on the sidewalks.

The SVP brings 2,000 of the vendors together with refreshers on training, talks, and food safety seminars. Vendors are updated with the latest trends and changes in the food industry.


World Street Food Dialogue
Together with the mayor of New York they provided a public market for food vendors to try out selling their dishes for free. The participants were mostly women with good recipes and who had never sold anything in their life. It’s a place where vendors are free from the harassment of authorities.

The SVP also organizes the popular Vendy Awards, an annual street food competition series that determines the “best of the best” in street food. Each year, thousands of guests eagerly purchase tickets to sample food from publicly nominated vendors.

The Vendy Awards also serve as a fundraiser for the SVP.

The new project of SVP includes a dedicated food stall section in Anthony Bourdain’s market on the west side of New York. 


World Street Food Dialogue
Odilia Wineke (Indonesia), Food editor at 

Topic: Preserving and Promoting Street Food in the Digital Era


World Street Food Dialogue
Key insight: The smartphone is doing everything in Indonesia

A new perspective for young entrepreneurs to use digital marketing

Indonesians have become the top users of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) around the world


World Street Food Dialogue
Every “warung” or hawker in Indonesia has a Twitter and Instagram account

– Platform for direct sale from producer to consumer with no need for stores and staff

– Made the products only for sale, no display, no return, and low cost


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The Advantage of Online Selling using Social Media

– No promotion cost, promote directly by owner or admin

– Direct Communication with customers

– Complaints can be handled directly and fast

– Product Pictures and customer’s testimony can be used as a promotion item


World Street Food Dialogue
They have successfully launched an app–Jakarta Smart City–showing all 400 hawkers around the city including food pictures, price, location, and services.


World Street Food Dialogue
Grab Bike and Go Jek have partnered up with these hawkers in delivering food right to your doorstep for a minimum of about P45 for 10km.

The digital era is here, street food is in the hands of the new generation. We should allow the youngsters to preserve street food in their own way.


World Street Food Dialogue
William Wongso (Indonesia)

Street Food Masterclass (Food Demo): Seafood Asam Keueung (Tamarind Seafood Stew)


World Street Food Dialogue
Indonesian tamarind comes from dried bilimbi fruits or dried torch fruits. The sourness of the soup reminds me of sinigang.


World Street Food Dialogue
Brett Burmeister (USA) 

Topic: Street food in Portland and beyond–America’s fascination with Food Trucks 


World Street Food Dialogue

In Portland, street food has gone mainstream. American street food is a co-op of different cuisines.

It’s near schools, parks, and an integral part of the community’s culture. It’s a craze that will never go away.


World Street Food Dialogue
It is in the city’s development plan to include street food centers in their expansion.

Food trucks don’t only sell in the cities but also in suburbs.

He urges us to have a changing mindset that food truck business isn’t a low-income job, it’s actually a catalyst with many successful entrepreneurs who are now proud owners of well-established restaurants.

The next thing for street food are micro-restaurants centered with food carts and restaurant types all sharing the same seating, bathroom, and space.


World Street Food Dialogue
Chef Duangporn, Bo.Lan (Thailand)

Street Food Masterclass (Food Demo): Bamii Mu Ba Chua 


World Street Food Dialogue
Chef Duangporn’s live demo of Thai Bamii Mu Ba Chua, a tom yum-style egg noodle dish with minced pork, while discussing what makes Thai food uniquely Thai with condiments and spices.


World Street Food Dialogue
Chef Sau Del Rosario (Philippines)

Street food has become his inspiration for his business. Our dishes have been a great tool for introducing our culture to other countries.


World Street Food Dialogue

Chef Sau Del Rosario’s love affair with sisig! Inspired by the famed Aling Lucing of Pampanga, the dish well describes his upbringing and a taste of Filipino culture. 

Recreate the authenticity in a more modern and better manner without losing the tradition and taste.


For more information, visit


World Street Food Congress Manila 2016 Series:

– World Street Food Dialogue: Heritage Street Food Trends & Insights (Summary)
World Street Food Jamboree: 15 Hawker Stalls Worth Lining Up For! #WSFC16 (Updated!)
FOODIE GUIDE to the World Street Food Congress in Manila! (April 20-24, 2016) @Makansutra
World Street Food Dialogue: “Can Deliciousness Cure Poverty and Create Opportunities?”
Philippines’ First 15-Hour Food Tour Frenzy Safari (Part 1) #WSFC16
An Epic 15-Hour Food Tour in Manila (Part 2) #WSFC16
Announcing… World Street Food Congress in Manila! (April 20-24, 2016)


Live an Awesome Life,



Disclosure: Our Awesome Planet is an online partner of World Street Food Congress. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights

P.S. Thank you to our Ayala Family and San Miguel Family for supporting the World Street Food Dialogue!

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