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National Association of Street Vendors of India NASVI

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Indian street food vendors to get global spotlight at World Street Food Congress in Singapore

Earning prestige and recognition for its unflinching commitment and work for the street vendors, the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) has got a new feather in its cap with Makansutra, a Singapore based street food promotion company, and the Singapore Tourism Board inviting four Indian street food vendors to join the World Street Food Congress (WSFC) in Singapore from 31 May to 9 June with their best culinary items.

The four street food vendors who would be part of a ten member NASVI delegation, led by Manager, Street Food Programs Sangeeta Singh, include Narayanswami of Dharwar and Bhaskar Urs of Mysore in Karnataka, Gulab Singh of Delhi and Ashok Gupta of Patna in Bihar.

While Mr. Narayanswami and Mr. Bhaskar would be dishing out lips smacking Chicken 65 with steamed rice, and tamarind and lemon rice respectively, Mr. Ashok would be making thunder with Liiti Chokha and special garlic soaked mutton rice. Mr. Gulab Singh would make his presence felt with his special Bhelpuri with potato crisps having seedless dates and amchur.  The WSFC would have 40 corners with street food masters from around the world. .

Alongside the ten day long international street food carnival, the World Street Food Dialogue would also take place in Singapore on 3-4 June. The dialogue would have presence of more than 50 key speakers including NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh. Mr. Singh would be speaking on ‘India’s Quest to Legitimize Five Million Street Food Vendors, Future Potentials & Vision of NASVI’.

The speakers would share, discuss and present on the ways to preserve, professionalize and create new opportunities for street food vendors across countries.

In last three years, NASVI has been undertaking sustained street food advocacy campaign.  Organizing successful Street Food Festival has been a major component of this street food advocacy.  The organization believes that nothing represents the rich tapestry of India’s multi-cultural fabric better than the street foods. The street food is not just palatable, inexpensive and convenient, but also is a large source of employment generation for thousands and thousands of informal workers.

NASVI believes that many a countries protect and promote street foods as street food enterprise contributes immensely to local economy and tourism. The concept of traditional street food has acquired new dimensions in developed countries, with food streets/ food centers emerging as new tourist attractions.  Evidences also suggest that the street food prepared with safe handling of ingredients and water contain more nutritional values in comparison to the foods served in hotels and restaurants.

NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh says, “Though street food culture pervades almost all countries of developed regions, the Asian street food is considered as the best in the world. However, India lags behind several south-east Asian countries.  Our cities trail in the race because there is usually no support from formal institutions to improve street food enterprises or protect them from external influences. The usual response at policy level is generally poor.  We never pause to think that promoting street food and cementing the identity of street food vendors is closely linked with preserving and promoting the social- cultural diversity of place and region, and making economy and society equitable and just.”

Mr. Singh says that the most important challenge in India is to sensitize the policy makers and other stakeholders on key advantages of promoting street food. The country needs a comprehensive National Policy on Protecting and Promoting Street Foods. The cities  need wider and wider consultations, camps and capacity building measures among street food vendors, health department functionaries,  executives of tourism, transport and railways as well as municipal authorities, police administrators and civil society actors.  Creating Street Food Courts in all cities and towns, and celebrating the  social-cultural diversity of India through showcasing vibrant culinary traditions in events like Street Food Festival are  long felt need of the cross sections of society in fast urbanizing India.

The list of key speakers lined up for the World Street Food Dialogue

KF SEETOH, Founder of Makansutra, Singapore.
Accorded Singapore’s Food Ambassador by Singapore’s President Mr. SR Nathan, also hailed as the Guru of Grub by CNN and host of TLC’s The Food Surprise!

Arbind Singh, National Coordinator, National Association of Street Vendors of India.

Well known development activist and social entrepreneur, also recipient of Skoll Foundation Award in 2011.  He has played significant role in center staging the agenda of inclusive central legislation in favour of street vendors of India. Organizer of series of Street Food Festival in India

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, USA – Chef, author, TV show host
Author of bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and host of CNN’s Parts Unknown and hit TV shows Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover

BRETT BURMEISTER, USA – Managing Editor and co-owner of Food Carts Portland Ate at his first food cart in 1991 and never looked back – logged roughly 1000 visits to street vendors in Portland and beyond

JOHNNY CHAN, China – TV show host 5 million people watched him eat the streets over 30 cities in China

IAN KITTICHAI, Thailand – Thailand’s first international celebrity chef. The first Thai national to become the Executive Chef of a 5-star hotel

PAULINE LOH, China – Managing Editor of The China Daily
Published two well-received cookbooks – Love, Food and Dad & Company

CLAUS MEYER, Denmark – Gastronomic entrepreneur
Recently established a foundation whose mission is to help disadvantaged individuals and communities through culinary projects

JAMES OSELAND, USA – Editor-in-chief of Saveur, America’s most critically acclaimed food magazine (under his leadership, the magazine has won over 35 national awards),and acclaimed author of Cradle of Flavor (one of 2007’s best books by Time Asia and the New York Times)

VO QUOH, Vietnam – Top Vietnamese chef and editor
Editor-in-chief and owner of three Vietnamese cuisine magazines: Mon Ngon Viet Nam, Gia Dinh Vao Bep and Vietnamese Delicious.

RICHARD TAN, Singapore – Divisional Director, Hawker Centers Division at the National Environment Agency. His team is responsible for implementing hawker policies, managing about 16,000 hawker stalls in the 107 hawker centers around Singapore

SIMON TAY, Singapore -Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs Public intellectual and private advisor to major corporations and policy-makers

Best known for his successful food chain, Eat&Eat, the themed food court founded in 2008 that has changed the dining landscape across Java Island

DANIEL WANG, Singapore – Ex-Commissioner of Public Health/Director-General of Public Health

BONDAN WINARNO, Indonesia – Indonesia’s celebrated culinary expert. Head of “Jalansutra,” an online community for food lovers in Indonesia

WILLIAM WONGSO, Indonesia – Indonesia’s culinary expert
Restaurateur, food consultant, critique and TV show host

For More Information About World Street Food Congress, please visit


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