After my last street food outing - a collaboration with Yum Bun, never did I thought the chance would present itself once again for me to experience the trial and tribulations of life as a street food trader. Last week, I was invited to attend #BloggerSaturday hosted by Street Feast in Dalston Yard, a special event where 6-8 bloggers were invited to set up stalls and put their culinary skills to the test.
I received the email on Tuesday morning and was told that I had to come up with an idea of what I'll be serving by the end of day. Throughout the day, I was filled with both excitements and nerves. I knew right away that I wanted to serve my signature Ox Cheek Rendang and Assam Pork Belly and that I had to transform them into something that will lend itself well as street food. Just a plate of meat with rice on the side simply will not do. I wanted something fun and tactile, something that will stand out from the crowd and definitely something unique and yet doesn't strayed too far from my Singaporean and Nyonya roots. And so by the end of the day, after much deliberation and creative juices flowing, 'The Ballz Brothers' is born.
The idea is simple, I will roll the fillings in Nasi Kunyit, yellow turmeric-infused coconut sticky rice that we often served in traditional Nyonya household, shape these into round balls and serve with sweet tamarind sauce and crushed roasted peanuts.
Once the menu is set, I then had to get on with the cooking. Both the Rendang and the Assam will need at least 16 hours of slow braising to achieve that perfect tenderness so the prep began on Wednesday evening and the meat then sit in the low heat oven overnight until the following evening. These were then left to rest in the fridge to intensified the flavours before rolling them into rice balls on Saturday morning.
To further embed the 'fun' factors of my stall, I have also made up some quirky signboard and menu board. They might not have the finesse of a professional finish but at least it represented what this was about - Fun. I have also enlisted my friend Oli (who took these photos) as my wonderful helper on the day.
Not knowing what the reaction on the day would be, or how many I would sell, I pre-rolled 80 rice balls thinking that 40 sets would surely last me till late afternoon. How wrong was I as these were all sold out by the time lunch service begun and I had to temporary stop service to roll more rice balls. And these too, were all sold out not long after we resumed our service so more balls rolling. By the end of the evening, a grand total of over 160 balls were gone.
Throughout the day, There were positive feedback on these balls and lots of hilarious banters and innuendo jokes with the customers. Despite the relentless rain and heavy downpour, leaking roof and flooding stalls, the atmosphere was great. We exchanged food with fellow bloggers and savoured each other delicious offerings. It was a fantastic day!
What truly made my day was finding out that one of my customer towards the end of the service was in fact the daughter of my first customer (the lady in the picture above). She loved my rendang so much that she urged her daughter that she must come and try it for herself. This was the best compliment ever. And the daughter too, gave me thumbs up!
Finally, I just want to say a massive thank you to all who brave the torrential rain to come down and say hi and supported me, to my fellow bloggers who were there braving the weather and soldering on with me.
Also want to mention a special thank you to my 'Ballz Brothers' Oli for his help in making this a success.
And last but not least, thank you to Adam, Tweat up for organising this wonderful day and for inviting me to be part of it - Thanks for the Chilli Back Adam!