One of the 20 names here will be THE NEXT BIG Culinary Star, as they fight it out to be the very first Eat List Star.

This to-look-out-for cooking competition launched by Singapore’s Mediacorp will see contestants from across Asia Pacific cook, host and show their star prowess on multi- media platforms. Already sounds exciting.

Judges include Chef Ryan Clift from the restaurant-bar Tippling Club, restauranteur Loh Lik Peng, radio DJ Simone Heng, journalist Cheryl Tiu, and actor-host Utt.

The competition will focus on Asian cuisine with a modern twist, so contestants are expected to fire up their imagination and creativity – stress for contestants, fun for viewers.

Daniel’s Food Diary speaks to the batch of 20 Eat List Star talents and finds out about their Must-Have Asian Street Food recommendations. Also, a first look at who they are.

Amelia Lam Yu Ting, 23
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Student
Instagram: @amelialyt

Must-Have Asian Street Food: Korean Hotteok
It is usually eaten in the winter season and many street vendors can be seen flipping the hot, sweet treat on the griddles… very tempting and hard to resist.

I love the chewy texture of the Korean Hotteok and the yummy sweet stuffing—usually a base mix of brown sugar, honey and cinnamon, with the option of sesame seeds and chopped peanuts. Warm, chewy and not overly sweet, it’s the perfect fun street snack to have on a cold winter’s day while enjoying the sights on foot.

I came to know of the Korean Hotteok from watching Korean dramas at home. The actors made the street snack look so fun to eat, they got me drooling in front of the telly.

Where To Have It:
While you could find them at almost every corner of the streets in Seoul, perhaps it’d be easier to direct an interested person to the IFC Mall connected to The Conrad Seoul, within a newly opened organic-themed buffet restaurant in the mall.

Anupong Nualchawee, 31
Country: Thailand
Occupation: Pastry Chef
Instagram: @Alps1984

Must-Have Asian Street Food: Yum Moo Krob
A Thai sweet and sour crispy pork salad. Every single component in the dish goes well together and makes for an interesting mix of flavours.

Where To Have It:
Kaw Tom Ga Dook Moo. 71 Sukhumvit road, Phra Khanong Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110

Caitanya Tan, 28
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Actress/Singer
Instagram: @caitanyatan

Must-Have Asian Street Food: Nasi Lemak
Somehow coconut rice and sambal was often what I wanted to eat when I was living and performing at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Whenever I was back in Singapore visiting I would go straight to a Nasi Lemak place – any one would do.

Where To Have It:
I’m all about making Nasi Lemak at home and eating it as a reminder of home.

Charlotte Mei de Drouas, 23
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Nutritionist and full-time food geek
Instagram: @apennyfortea

Must-Have Asian Street Food: Roti Prata
Roti Prata is of Indian origin, carries a Malay name, and is eaten by all races you find in Singapore. Talk about racial harmony!

It can be eaten in its plain form, or stuffed with eggs, meat, onion, cheese… you name it. It is usually eaten with dahl, or chicken or fish curry, accompanied by a selection of chutneys. I had my first encounter with Roti Prata when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and the child in me fell in love immediately as I got such a kick out of eating with my hands.

Where To Have It:
At Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Raju’s on Jalan Chantek, PJ (+60379561361) – spot the open seating area with large trees, or at Raj’s Banana Leaf on Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar (+60322013806) – just follow your nose!

Christopher Black, 33
Country: Australia
Occupation: Chef
Instagram: @chefcblack

Must Have Asian Street Food: Roti Prata
Prata is always one of my first meals when I am back in Singapore. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper, there is never a bad time to have Prata. Crispy and golden bread dunked in curry, how can you go wrong?

Where To Have It:
I used to live near the S11 at Bishan, which had a great Prata stall. Luckily enough, they were open till late so Prata quickly became comfort food after a hard day’s work.

Clayton Klyne, 38
Country: Australia
Occupation: Private Chef
Instagram: @claytonklyne

Must Have Asian Street Food: Wonton soup
Wonton soup, a dish that I chose to create for the Eat List Star competition. As basic as it is, to me it represents what great food is all about. Simple food done well. I love this dish and many countries have their own version or something similar.

Where To Have It:
Mr Wang Yi Tiao’s wonton soup joint on an ancient street in Tunxi District, Huangshan 245000, China, or Gurney Drive in Penang, Malaysia.

Hatta Teo, 28
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Revenue Manager
Instagram: @Hatteo

Must Have Asian Street Food: Deep Fried Pork Belly on Rice
One of the most memorable dishes I had recently was when I was in Krabi, Thailand – on the dirtiest street serving the best. Oh my god, I died and went to food heaven. Twice.

By the grace of the food gods, it had everything I wanted; deep fried pork belly, lean pork and intestines in clear soup, fried chicken, and steamed chicken.

When I had that very first bite after a long day, it was heaven and for me, that’s the beauty of food because it’s always so relative to every individual’s experience.

Where To Have It:
I’m sure there are plenty in Thailand which are just as good but the one I went to was on the corner of “Maharaj Alley” and “Maharaj 10 Road”.

Satya Narayanan Mohanan (James), 31
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Chef
Instagram account name: @ChefJamesSatya

Must Have Asian Street Food: Nasi Lemak
Some stalls still retain the tradition of wrapping the rice in a banana leaf to enhance its flavor. It is commonly found on the streets in Malaysia where it is considered the national dish.

All Singaporeans know that the real star of the dish is the sambal – Nasi Lemak’s signature condiment. The moment I see a sizeable dollop of thick, red sambal, for sure I can’t wait to dig in. With the first mouthful, I could taste how grainy and light the rice is.

The crunchy fried ikan bilis with salted peanuts, boiled egg and garnished with slices of refreshing cucumbers are the perfect combo for the luscious rice.

Where To Have It:
Nasi Lemak Kukus, 229 Selegie Road near Little India MRT. I am happy that the steamed coconut rice is still very aromatic and the sweet and spicy sambals are just as good as before.

Jennifer Angela Lee, 34
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Chef
Instagram: @dulce_cheeks

Must Have Asian Street Food: Bun Rieu Cua
A tomato and green onion vermicelli soup made with rice paddy crabs. We sat on these tiny plastic chairs with the locals and piled herbs into our soup to freshen it up. I had this dish in the Hanoi Old Quarter while travelling through Vietnam.

Where To Have It:
In the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

Marc Justin K. Tee, 29
Country: Philippines
Occupation: Chef
Instagram: @marcjustintee

Must Have Asian Street Food: Fish Balls
In the Philippines, fish balls are commonly sold in carts with portable stoves and pushed around the city by vendors. It is very cheap and is a favorite mid-day snack or “merienda” by most Filipinos.

Fish balls are fried in oil to a light golden color and a crispy texture. It is served with 2 kinds of dipping sauce, one is cane vinegar seasoned with minced garlic, onions and chilies. The second kind is a sweet and savory soy based sauce.

This sauce is made with soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and is usually thickened with cornstarch. Personally, the best way to eat fish balls is to combine these two sauces for a perfect combination of sweet, sour and spicy.

Where To Have It:
There are quite a lot of fish ball carts inside the University of the Philippines, but by far my favorite is the one located in front of Vinzons Hall. It is a green and maroon wooden food cart that normally has a lot of people gathered around it.

Michelle Mae Villanueva Vivo, 30
Country: Philippines
Occupation: Legislative Staff Officer / Pastry Consultant for Slice
Instagram: @michikovivo

Must Have Asian Street Food: Deep Fried Scorpions In Beijing
The scorpions have a hint of curry which surprisingly complemented the crustacean taste of the scorpion.

As I grew up, it has been my self-imposed rule to always try something exotic wherever I traveled to. I spent more time (and money), scouring the streets and trying every imaginable (and unimaginable) food.

Where To Have It:
Head to Beijing, China, if you’re up for some deep fried scorpions, turn your heels to Wangfujing street or Donghuamen Street (perpendicular to Wangfujing). Both food streets are lined with numerous stalls offering every inconceivable food such as scorpions, centipedes and silk larvae.

Neilkhan Bautista, 25
Country: Philippines
Occupation: Restauranteur
Instagram: @chefneil_ph

Must Have Asian Street Food: Pork BBQ
Pork BBQ. Since childhood I would save the pocket money I had and would walk to the street round the corner to satisfy my cravings. Sometimes I would go straight from home once I could smell smoke from the grill.

Where To Have It:
Uncle Ihaw Ihaw was very famous for his superb BBQ. Unfortunately Uncle Ihaw Ihaw has gone, but I have discovered one of the best BBQs again after a long search – Tonias BBQ. Not only do they offer BBQ, but also my favorite dried fish snack. It is located at General Avenue, Bahay Toro, Quezon City.

Paolo Mendez Rigotti, 33
Country: Philippines
Occupation: College Dean / Entrepreneur
Instagram: @PaoloRigotti

Must Have Asian Street Food: Grilled Barbecue Bamboo Skewers
You can find grilled barbecue bamboo skewers nearly in every Filipino street corner. You can have different kind of sticks, and my favourite are the most exotic parts, delicacies you don’t usually find in the restaurants, like liver and intestine. They always are freshly prepared, served with some sweet, savoury barbeque sauce and they make the perfect snack every time.

Where To Have It:
I don’t have any specific favourite place where to have barbecue sticks, as long is in the street. I’ve been trying many times to prepare it at home but I’m telling you, it never tastes the same.

Shahrizal Bin Salleh, 36
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Chef
Instagram: @walkingfridge

Must Have Asian Street Food: Satay
It is the epitome of grilled meat. Every Asian country has their own version of satay and no two satays are the same. Not only the morsels of meat needed be marinated to a T but the peanut sauce too has to be in sync with the taste as well. Somewhat like a perfect marriage.

I remember going to my mom’s kampung, in Pekan Bahru (Indonesia) when I was about 6 or 7 years old in 1987. And my distant cousin brought me to eat by the streets and it was SATAY MADURA. I still remember as if it was yesterday.

Where To Have It:
Haron Satay Stall 55, East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, 468960.
There is one street stall in Simpang Renggam, Malaysia, called Satay Wak John. I had that when I went there for a homestay. The satay is bloody amazing!

Sharon Mah, 41
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Consultant
Instagram: @cheekychillipadi

Must Have Asian Street Food: Nasi Lemak
Fragrant coconuty rice, with spicy sambal and ikan bilis (I always pick out the peanuts), fried-to-a-crisp ikan selah, a sliver of omelette and freshly sliced cucumber – all wrapped up in banana leaf.

Small thrill for me in my growing up years. I even had a SEP (standard eating procedure): strip the fish, break up the omelette, pick out peanuts, mix the whole lot in the rice, slowly incorporating sambal until optimum spiciness. Then enjoy!

Where To Have It:
Latiffa Yuri Nasi Lemak. 498 Jurong West St 41, 7 Stars Coffee Shop, Singapore 640498

Steven Snowdon, 29
Country: Philippines
Occupation: Chef
Instagram: @ChefStevenSnowdon

Must Have Asian Street Food: Ilocano Empanada
I am currently residing in Laoag in the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, and my must-have street-food is the local delicacy “Ilocano Empanada”.

Although empanada has its Spanish influence, the locals have very much adapted this staple dish and made it their own using local produce and locally made sausage ‘longanisa’.

I love this street food because it provides you with that satisfying all-in-one meal, from veggies to meat and the surprise soft runny egg inside. It’s usually eaten with a local vinegar made from sugar cane infused with chillies called ‘suka silli’ or with ketchup made from bananas.

Where To Have It:
Dap-Ayan Ti Ilocos Norte, J.P Rizal St. near Museo Iloko and the Provincial Capitol, corner V. Llanes St., Barangay 10, Laoag City, 2900 Ilocos Norte. It is just at the Western part, next to the Philippine National Bank Bldg across the street. Just ask any local and they would be very willing to direct you to the Ilocos Norte Dap-ayan.

Suriyana Binte Jumari, 33
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Housewife
Instagram: @qianzhangg

Must Have Asian Street Food: Nasi Padang
Whenever I go to Geylang Serai to stock up my groceries. I would always drop by Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang. They sell one of the best Malay dishes that I have ever tasted. Asides the delicious food, I truly love how they handle their customers.

Good service is most important to me. The owner of the stall is very humble and is able to connect with his customers well.

Where To Have It:
Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang #02-137 Geylang Serai Market and Foodcentre, Singapore. Opposite Joo Chiat Complex.

Timothy Ong (pref: Tim), 27
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Chef
Instagram: @tim_ong

Must Have Asian Street Food: Ramen
I’ve always had an affinity to ramen, a delicious broth + noodles + toppings. It’s freaking delicious. The combinations, permutations and how every shop has their own style, flair and uniqueness. No one tries to copy each other, they try to perfect it in their own path of cooking.

Where To Have It:
There’s this must-have ramen shop where they do this ma la spicy smoked mackerel ramen. Talk about a flavour explosion in your mouth. It’s in central Tokyo and you can hear this distinctive taiko drum being played from the streets. Address is: 東京都千代田区鍛冶町2-10-10 Tokyo, Chioda-ku, Kajicho 2-10-10 (Near Kanda Station).

Vivian Chen Pei, 46
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Food Geek
Instagram: @Viviliciousxo

Must Have Asian Street Food: Bak Chor Mee
There is something about the combination of al dente noodles, lard, meat or fishballs and chilli that make for total comfort in a bowl. And I suppose since I have spent almost 12 years in Singapore total, it is MY comfort food.

Where To Have It:
Tai Wah on Crawford Lane is famous for good reason, the balance of flavours and textures in this bowl of BCM is really hard to beat. My usual order is with extra vinegar and extra lard. Only downside is the queue!

Tay Jun Yang (Zachary), 34
Country: Singapore
Occupation: Sommelier / Private Chef
Instagram: @ChefSommZach

Must Have Asian Street Food: Satay
During my childhood days, I lived in the Woodlands area and there was a Satay man who would come by every Sunday on his motorbike and grill the satay as you ordered them.

I would run down to get my weekly Satay fix but unfortunately as I approached my teens, the elderly gentleman has since left for a better world.

Where To Have It:
Unfortunately in my teens I did not have a circle of friends mad enough about food to explore and find a replacement. Which is how I got about formulating my own recipes.

Eat List Star, a search for the best new culinary talents, is Mediacorp’s first programme under its Eat List umbrella of food-centric initiatives.

The competition aims to identify and groom a new generation of food personalities who can cook, host and charm. It will give them the chance to develop their culinary careers, build a fan base, and land long-term media and business development contracts with Mediacorp.

These 20 talented home cooks and chefs will move on to the semi-finals, where they will gather in Singapore for an intense bootcamp from 13 to 17 March. The semi-finals will be documented and aired as a reality web series on in April.

For more updates and contestants’ profiles, get on to or @eatliststar on Instagram.

* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Eat List Star.


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