It's nearly impossible to imagine a restaurant or market opening as anticipated as the Bourdain Market, the giant food center food TV icon Anthony Bourdain is constructing on a Manhattan pier. It's three times the size of the original Eataly and filled with 100 vendors, some local like April Bloomfield and others that Bourdain has fallen in love with overseas, many like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice from Singapore. The project is slated for 2019, but Bourdain already has strong beliefs about who the market is for.
In a New Yorker profile this week, which takes readers along for a meal with President Obama in Hanoi and to Manhattan's Korean barbecue destination Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, Bourdain explains that he wants not just the American-born Korean diners but also those who were born in Seoul. "If the younger Korean hipsters and their grandparents like us, we’re gonna be O.K.," he says. He adds that it's not just for "the gringos."
Many have wondered how Bourdain will bring the experience of street food from places like Hanoi, where meals are served on small stools on the sides of the streets, to New York with its strict Department of Health. Bourdain says, he'll look to Singapore's hawker centers, or malls of sorts dedicated to casual food stands. "They cracked the code without losing this amazing culture," he says.
Still, he doesn't want things to be too sterile. Describing the market, he says, "Imagine a post-apocalyptic Grand Central Terminal, if it had been invaded by China."
We'll have to wait two years to see what that looks like.
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