I've been to Singapore three times and Malaysia once, and the first thing I want to do when I get there is to eat at a hawker center. They are usually open-air food courts with a dozen or more small restaurants selling noodles, barbecue, soups, and other mouth-watering dishes. The center of the area has shared seating. The food is inexpensive, too. I had a bowl of pork noodle for about $6 from a hawker stand that had been awarded a Michelin Star. Hawker centers are a wonderfully unique Southeast Asian dining experience. Naturally, Las Vegas is making a simulacrum of a hawker center.
Famous Foods Street Eats, a "hawker-inspired food hall concept" created by Zouk Group (a big-deal Singapore nightlife and lifestyle brand), will debut as part of the new Resorts World Las Vegas coming to the Vegas Strip this summer.
"Famous Foods will transport guests to an authentic Asian hawker market—an experience that's never been replicated in the U.S.," said Andrew Li, CEO of Zouk Group, in a statement. The group has recruited top Asian hawkers from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand alongside well-known U.S. chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, James Trees, and the team from beloved Houston BBQ spot Blood Bros. to staff up 16 individual stalls. The focus will also be on "edutainment," with videos and info boards at each stall giving background on the vendor, recipes, and the cultural significance of the food being prepared.
I'm in no position to pass judgment on Famous Foods Street Eats since it hasn't even opened yet. It could be as good, if not superior, to a real Singapore-style hawker center. But take a look at the photos of the Vegas center here, and compare it to the photos I've taken of real hawker centers and tell me I'm wrong for being skeptical.