Singapore "Hawker Heroes" Beat Gordon Ramsay in Local Food

Created: 2013-07-09 11:35 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific
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More than five-thousand people gathered to catch a glimpse of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in Singapore on Sunday (July 7) in a cooking competition with three local street food hawkers.

The star chef made three Singaporean signature dishes—chicken rice, chilli crab and a local spicy noodle soup called laksa—to win over a crowd of mostly local tasters.
 
A thousand tasters from the public judged and voted for their preferred version of each dish.
 
Singapore food lovers like teacher Rachel Chan were divided over which versions to choose during the judging.
 
[Rachel Chan, Teacher]: 
"I think both sides have equal chances, especially for the chilli crab and the chicken rice. There are good points of each dish, especially for the chilli crab—one is tangy and the other one is sweet -- so it really depends on the eater's preference.”
 
[Sean Lim, Student]: 
"I think so far I'm Team Gordon. I think the chilli crab is better, it has more flavour and it's more spicy and I love spicy food." 
 
The result was a close one where Ramsay lost out 2 to 1 to the local hawkers.
 
Ramsay won in the chilli crab category trumping local favourite Mr. Ang Kiam Meng from Jumbo Seafood.
 
But he lost out in the chicken rice category to Mrs. Foo Kui Lian of Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and in the laksa category to Mr. Ryan Koh of 328 Katong Laksa.
 
Ramsay had spent time over the past few days learning from the three local vendors in their respective categories.
 
[Gordon Ramsay, Chef]: 
"Do you know what? The real winners tonight are the Singaporeans. Where did I go wrong? I think for the laksa, I needed a little bit more coconut, a little bit more spice. It's tough to get up to speed in 48 hours to how good these dishes are. But, for me, what I'm taking home is another confirmation to how good these hawkers food is and what it stands for.”
 
The celebrity chef known for his fiery temper in reality cooking shows was humble in defeat.
 
[Gordon Ramsay, Chef]: 
"Chefs are obsessed with other chefs beating them. But to see the generosity and the way they treated me inside their hawker stalls and I'm the disruption… so for them to still be that gratifying and tell me how to cook their food, honestly, it's humbling. I mean really humbling." 
 
In June, two-point-five-million people had cast their votes to determine who were Singapore's most popular hawkers to go up against Ramsay in the cooking competition.