It doesn’t get any more rustic than this; an urban rooftop garden set in the heart of Chinatown, a place more widely known for its sweet pork and burning joss sticks than a pop up farm. Helmed by a motley crew of DIY and environmental enthusiasts, NONG (which is Chinese for farming) had run its course on the spacious rooftop of People’s Park Complex, and it was time to bid it adieu.
The send-off? A miniature farmer’s market of workshops, hipster wares and – not forgetting – food and drink! Set against a backdrop of architectural mishmash (read: high rise buildings towering over ye olde shophouses), vendors like The Cajung Kings, Ice Cream & Cookie Co. and 28 Hongkong Street were the main crowd drawers, while the smooth beats of Matteblanc permeated the evening atmosphere.
Haven’t had the chance to check them out, so there was no way I was missing out on Hit The Roof. With food and drinks being freshly prepared with each order, the food segment of Hit the Roof seemed like a very casual live kitchen, making more than a few mouths water in anticipation. 😉
My first pick of the evening was a messily beautiful Cantonese Style Roast Duck Taco from The Cajun Kings.
Generous strips of duck meat heaped with mango salsa, guacamole, onions and cheese on a soft taco shell that barely looked like it could hold it in. No fork and knife, you say? Challenge accepted.
I’m no expert on tacos, but I was intrigued to find a Western meets Asian kind of flavour on this one. I loved how the duck had a strong taste that wasn’t too overwhelming, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture that made me just want to close my eyes in bliss on the first bite. The guacamole tasted just as good and passed the mark for this avocado aficionado. 😛 So was the mango salsa; zesty and fresh, it added an interesting dimension to a typically Asian dish.
Check out those vibrant hues of green, yellow and brown – almost like a mini edible garden itself. 😀 This was such a beautiful taco that I almost forgave it for spilling into the paper box moments after I sank my teeth into it. Talk about an Instagram worthy meal. 😛
Fresh from their stint at Savour 2014, The Ice Cream & Cookie Co. were also there with a couple of treats to beat the heat. Presenting to you, the Peanut Butter and Jam Ice Cream Sandwich, packed between two freshly toasted buns.
There was also a Chocolate flavour but I decided to be adventurous and get the Peanut Butter and Jam instead; check out that thick strawberry jam oozing out from underneath the top bun! Definitely not your average peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that one is so used to chowing down for breakfast without rushing off to school.
One bite of it and I can see why there’s so much hype around The Ice Cream & Cookie Co.. I’m not gonna lie, the peanut butter flavour was really strong and put me off at first; it was only after a couple of bites that the flavour grew on me. 😀
But it was the strawberry jam that really sealed the deal, because it made me feel like I wasn’t just nibbling on a chunk of ice!
Rum concoction from 28HKS to cool off. And yes, that sprig of mint was freshly plucked. 😉
Hit the Roof wasn’t just about the food, however. With the event set to promote urban farming, 10% of the proceeds went to training the next generation of urban farmers at Pathlight, a school for autistic children. Also on site was a series of workshops for those with budding green fingers. Oh, and not forgetting a myriad of quirky designs and goods that were on sale too, including a really cool crowdsourcing concept. 😛
Casual, hearty and unpretentious; Hit the Roof was certainly a hit with the crowd if the atmosphere, smiles and light-hearted chit chat all around were anything to go by. There’s also something intriguing about heading up to the top floor of an old shopping centre, opening the door to the rooftop and stepping into an almost entirely different world. I had a great time and wouldn’t mind attending a similar event in the near future 😉
Read more about Edible Gardens here.