The seeds for Anthony Bourdain’s forthcoming food court in New York City were sown years ago when he and hawker food hype man, K.F. Seetoh, came together while filming for the Travel Channel in Singapore. You’ve seen Seetoh on camera before, as there’s hardly a production that comes to town that shoots without the owner of the World Street Food Congress and founder of Makansutra. In 2013, I attended the World Street Food Congress as a delegate for Mexico in coordinating the lone Mexican representative: Ensenada’s 55 year old seafood institution, La Guerrerense, run by master cocktailer Sabina Banderas, her daughter Mariana Oviedo, and the rest of the family.
Banderas and Oviedo reunited with Bourdain for a brief photo op at the Congress after their first encounter on No Reservations, Baja California, back in 2012. Little did we know that the foundation for Bourdain’s then unannounced street food market was captured in that moment. While the market wasn’t specifically mentioned back then, a panel discussion with Bourdain moderated by Seetoh sure was talking up hawker markets as the best thing for the future of street food in places like NYC.
La Guerrerense has joined Singapore’s Geylang Claypot Rice, as the first two international vendors signed on to Bourdain’s market, which will put Mexico’s most famous seafood cart at Pier 57, just a few blocks away from the Chelsea Market. Their signature tostadas made with a variety of ceviches: sea urchin, cod, mussels and fish layered with pismo clam, callo de hacha and octopus. Their seafood cocktails and raw bar items will be overseen by Sabina, and once the kinks are worked out, family members will rotate to maintain quality.
“My mom (Sabina), brother and I will be there for the opening, at least for a couple of months,” said Oviedo. “And the idea is that my mom will be supervising the operation.” We’re sad that New York City is getting a La Guerrerense before us, but our consolation is that Sabina’s sea urchin tostada topped with pismo clam and a gourmet peanut and dried chili salsa is just 3 1/2 hours south of us in sunny Ensenada.