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Chef Simpson Wong Brings Singaporean Hawker Food to Manhattan at Chomp Chomp

Chef Simpson Wong Brings Singaporean Hawker Food to Manhattan at Chomp Chomp

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At Chomp Chomp, the newest restaurant from chef Simpson Wong, Singapore’s ubiquitous hawker fare gets the introduction it deserves.

Seven Cornelia Street in the West Village was last home to the chef’s acclaimed restaurant Wong, about which Pete Wells raved, in a two-star review, “It’s been a long time since Asian fusion cooking has promised thrills of this sort.”

But for Malaysian-born Wong, the challenge of fusion cooking is right up his alley. His Café Asean, which has been open for two decades, continues to thrive as a beloved flagship. The décor is bright and silly, and the food gets the attention it deserves — there’s not a stray edamame salad or pointless vegetable slaw in sight.

This year, Wong decided to go into a new direction at 7 Cornelia, which brings us to Chomp Chomp. In Singapore, the menu here might be best recognized as street food, but in New York City, you get to sit down in a soothing dining room just a few feet away from the open kitchen.

The menu, which features hawker staples like spicy prawn mee (noodles, prawns, and ribs in a spicy shrimp broth), murtabak (roti with minced beef or vegetables), Hainanese chicken rice, and tau eu bak (pork belly stewed in soy sauce and star anise), is just as approachable for those new to Singaporean food as it for those who need a taste of home. For dessert, go for the durian cream puff, which will separate the brave from the fearful among your dinner companions.

Best of all, the menu is the perfect size for you to really dig in and order plenty of plates for the table, while knowing that when you come back next time, there will be more to try.

The chatterbox


Hasn’t it been amazing to see how the restaurant industry has rallied to help donate funds to Italy after the horrific earthquake near Amatrice? So many lives lost, so many buildings destroyed. As San Franciscans in our own shaky city, our hearts go out to them.

While every dollar for eating pasta all’amatriciana around town counts, we want to do something that can have an even greater impact: an all-day event to raise funds for earthquake relief!

On Sunday September 25th, we hope you can join us at

We’ll be serving Italian cocktails, including Aperol Spritzes, Americanos, and Negronis courtesy of Campari America and Rye on the Road, and vino (grazie, Fiorella, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Full Circle Wine Solutions, Uva Enoteca, and Scuola di Vino)! And, of course, pasta all’amatriciana (with pasta from Rustichella d’Abruzzo and Manicaretti, products from Lettieri & Co., and tomatoes from Casa de Case—and a leg of prosciutto too)!

The event runs all day from 12pm-8pm, and we are selling tickets in two-hour time blocks (12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm, 4pm-6pm, 6pm-8pm). There will be different restaurants serving at each time slot, so you don’t have to worry about food running out!

Tickets are $75 per person. Even if you can’t attend, please consider a donation! Or just spread the word! (Here’s the event on Facebook.)

Everyone is donating their time, products, and labor for this event in order for us to be able to donate 100 percent of the ticket price to earthquake relief! All proceeds will be donated to the Comune di Amatrice, and divided among the projects in need in Amatrice. Grazie, tutti!

We look forward to seeing you. Please help spread the word. Post/share on Facebook, tweet/RT, like and repost on Instagram, email your friends. Any help with donations (Italian food, products, wine, beer, compostable plates and silverwarve and cups, extra hands to help serve and clean, promotion) is so very appreciated! Contact Marcia of tablehopper! Baci! See you there! And please, spread the word!

Guests must be 21 and over. Invitation is nontransferable.

Sunday Sep 25, 2016
12pm–8pm (in two-hour time blocks)
$75 (all proceeds will be donated)
more info

54 Mint - 16 Mint Plaza San Francisco - 415-543-5100

Singapore Goes Stateside

Ingrained with a rich history and a medley of global influences, Singapore&rsquos multicultural cuisine is perfectly positioned for an American premiere.

Bustling dining halls, roving food trucks, and a love of heat and spice that&rsquos bordering on fanaticism&mdashthe Western culinary world has been imbued with these powerhouse themes in recent years. From a piquing interest in lesser-known Asian cuisines to a renewed demand for convenience and speed, one tiny island off the coast of Malaysia is emerging as the epitome of culinary perfection: Singapore.

The Southeast Asian city-state is indeed causing a stir. The Wall Street Journal called it the &ldquonew Korea&rdquo when it comes to food trends, and the latest Fancy Food Show was teeming with products that give a nod to its influences. Emerging details about the Singaporean influence in the upcoming opening of Bourdain Market, an international street food center in New York, spearheaded by TV personality Anthony Bourdain&mdashare certain to bring it mainstream recognition.

Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

Thanks to its geographically charmed placement, the city-state of Singapore has long served as a hub for international commerce among nations around the world, which enabled its modern economic prosperity. Welcoming traders from all over Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, Singapore became a steady confluence of many cultures. &ldquoAnd like any great city, when people from all over the world congregate, so does their food,&rdquo says K. F. Seetoh, an internationally renowned ambassador for Singaporean cuisine and founder of the World Street Food Congress and Makansutra, a consultancy promoting and celebrating Asian food culture around the world. In Singapore, spices, cooking techniques, and dishes from China, India, England, and other nations mingled and began to blur&mdashresulting in &ldquoa third flavor,&rdquo Seetoh says, with new creations like Chinese-style curries and Indian-style noodles.

This fusion of flavors is at the heart of Singaporean gastronomy today, yet it&rsquos the country&rsquos vibrant street food culture&mdashand Singapore&rsquos now-famed hawker centers&mdashthat emerged over the past half-century that put this metropolis on the global culinary map.

Where Authenticity Reigns

Hawker centers are bustling arenas of traditional, simple, affordable street food&ndashstyle meals. Filling these compounds are clusters of 10-by-10 stalls&mdashas many as 180 in some centers, Seetoh says&mdasheach in which a hawker prepares one recipe, over and over, to perfection: noodle dishes like seafood-forward Hokkien mee and savory char kway teow Indian roti&ndashinspired murtabak satays of chicken, pork, beef, or mutton bak kut teh, an herbal pork rib soup and Hainanese chicken rice, deemed the national dish of Singapore, among them. Hawkers dole out heaps of fragrant jasmine or coconut rice and refreshments like sugar cane juice to wash it all down.

&ldquoThey&rsquore the guardians of our food culture,&rdquo Seetoh says of the chefs working day in and day out in hawker centers. Unlike the pursuit of modernization and innovation that drives the Western world, nothing short of total authenticity and consistency is expected of hawkers. &ldquoThey don&rsquot need to be creative,&rdquo Seetoh explains. &ldquoPeople here just want them to be perfect.&rdquo

All Signs Point to Singapore

Hawker centers may be the secret ingredient behind Singapore&rsquos growing appeal in the U.S. A convergence of stateside trends&mdashauthentic international fare, ethnic flavors, street food, and convenience&mdashthese markets have plenty of appeal for the American consumer.

Chef and consumer studies reinforce this winning formula. In a survey of more than 1,400 American chefs, the National Restaurant Association identified likely trends for 2016: ethnic flavors, authentic and international cuisine, and street food and food trucks all ranked highly. Similarly, a consumer survey found that more than half (57 percent) of diners actively seek out authentic ethnic cuisine experiences, and two-thirds report eating a wider variety of ethnic cuisines than they did five years ago.

To its benefit, the ingredients and flavors that make up Singaporean food are familiar to a consumer base that already enjoys Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and other related cuisines. Yet authentic Singaporean dishes are not yet easy to come by in the U.S., says Simpson Wong, the Singaporean chef behind New York restaurants Cafe Asean, Wong, and his newest operation, the hawker-centric Chomp Chomp. Since its opening last May, Chomp Chomp has received a swarm of press coverage, accolades, and a discerning clientele&mdashmany of Singaporean and Southeast Asian origin or descent. &ldquoIt&rsquos a new cuisine,&rdquo Wong says. Despite its familiar qualities, he says, &ldquonobody knows about it.&rdquo

Though it&rsquos a sit-down restaurant, Chomp Chomp (named for a famous hawker center in Singapore) retains its hawker vibe with a casual atmosphere and reasonable prices for dishes, earning high praise from the city&rsquos top critics. &ldquoThat&rsquos one thing about street food&mdashit has to be affordable,&rdquo Wong says.

Specialty Imports

With a comprehensive list of Southeast Asian ingredients making up this cuisine, the availability of ingredients stateside can pose a challenge, although it&rsquos improved in recent years, Seetoh notes. Wong says many favored ingredients, such as fresh pandan leaves, blood cockles, and Sri Lankan crabs, are still tough to come by or prohibitively expensive to import.

The specialty food industry is growing its share of products that embody the spirit of Singapore. Importer Roland Foods has ramped up its selection of Southeast Asian foods&mdashnow at 120 SKUs, including curry pastes, sauces, coconut milks and oils, and dry noodles the company&rsquos newest product, Sambal Matah, a chile-based relish, hits the market in April. Newcomer Little Red Dot Kitchen channels hawker fare with its Bak Kwa meat snacks, employing on-trend flavors like chipotle and hickory smoke.

Nona Lim, a native of Singapore, launched her eponymous line of health-forward soups, broths, and noodles inspired by her childhood visiting hawker centers with her father. &ldquoIt wasn&rsquot until I moved away that I understood how healthy it was to eat that way and how special it was to have such high-quality meals ready at hand,&rdquo she reflects. Lim says her best seller is her most Singaporean product, Laksa Rice Noodles.

Though dedicated menus and packaged products that tout signature Singaporean style remain limited, the opportunity for explosive growth is palpable. Bourdain Market&rsquos impending 2017 debut may be the launchpad, with Seetoh on board to curate a Singaporean hawker center with some 50 vendors.

It&rsquos a task he takes seriously. &ldquoIt&rsquos going to be authentic as hell, as far as I&rsquom concerned,&rdquo he says. &ldquoOtherwise, I&rsquoll be cheating.&rdquo&mdashE.M.

Chefs' Picks: Chinese Takeout

For some, ordering Chinese food is a time-honored Christmas Day tradition. For those who plan to dive into a bowl of noodles tomorrow, follow the lead of these chefs who’ve shared their preferred takeout plates, including Americanized favorites and regional classics.

Chefs Salil and Stacey Mehta brought the traditional Chinese fare of India to Brooklyn earlier this year when they opened the Chinese Club, which honors Stacey’s Indian-Chinese heritage. Given the hectic pace of running two restaurants (they’re also owners of LAUT in New York City) while raising a family, the husband-and-wife duo are fans of ordering in when they need a bit of a break. Stacey’s takeout picks are Kung Pao Chicken, Chinese corn soup and Singapore Mai Fun, while Salil opts for crab rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken and roast pork fried rice. “We love these dishes as our lazy day food, especially after a long day of working at both restaurants and also looking after children: dropping them off at school, picking them up, spending time with them and playing with them,” says Salil.


Photo by: EmirMemedovski ©Emir Memedovski

EmirMemedovski, Emir Memedovski

At his Denver post, Lucky Cat, Executive Sous Chef Brent Calley creates new spins on time-honored Chinese takeout dishes, but he also has an affinity for delivery. His top picks are Mongolian Beef and Ma Po Tofu, which not only satisfy Calley, but also stir up nostalgia for him. "If I am ordering takeout, these are my go-to dishes,” says Calley, appreciating that they remind him of childhood. “Every time we went for Chinese, I would order these dishes extra spicy!"


Whereas some folks prefer to order delivery after a long day, Chef Sunny Oh opts for morning takeout, a tradition that carries over from his younger days. "In my twenties after a late night of partying on the weekends, I would wake up in the morning and reach for the phone and order Chinese take-out," says Oh, who is chef and partner at Juvia and Sushi Garage in Miami Beach, Florida. His number one option is a Sunday dim sum staple known as Beef Chow Fun. "Since the dish travels well for takeout, I love that the noodles don't lose texture or flavor, making the dish great for leftovers as well," Oh says. Another of his favorites is General Tso’s Chicken, which also works well as a delivery dish. "The breading on the outside is perfect and holds the flavor of the sauce. Love a good spicy dish!"


Chef Simpson Wong’s highly lauded Singaporean hawker restaurant Chomp Chomp has drawn crowds since opening in New York City in 2015. The well-versed chef of Malaysian-Chinese descent has three criteria for his top takeout picks: They must travel well, pair nicely together and still taste good after a night in the fridge. Wong’s favorite takeout meal skews Sichuan, as it brings together boiled sliced beef with hot and spicy chile sauce. He describes the dish as "super comforting, very beefy and chewy." Other regional dishes in Wong’s takeout repertoire include Sichuan dan dan noodles, cold chicken with chile sauce, pork wontons in sesame oil and braised fish filet with tofu in chile sauce. "There is a ritual I follow. I usually place my Chinese food order on the way back from the airport after a trip to the Caribbean or Europe," Wong says, explaining that travels to those regions of the world means he’s often tired of Western-style food upon his return. "The minute I land, I am craving Chinese food, and I need my fix."

Food for the Future: Trends of 2016

The Tacombi taco stand at the Gansevoort Market.

By now, diners are more than ready to move past 2015 and all the food trends it encapsulated. After all, how many fried-chicken sandwiches can one consume in a lifetime?

What will the new year bring? It isn’t easy to play the role of culinary prognosticator, but it is possible to pick up on clues, such as restaurants or concepts that started to catch diners’ attention in 2015 and seem primed to explode in 2016. In many instances, they are riffs on established trends.

With that in mind, here is what hungry folks can likely expect in the months ahead:

Hot chicken will become the new fried chicken

If fried chicken was all the rage in 2015, particularly in sandwich form, then hot chicken—essentially, fried bird done Nashville-style with a boost of spicy heat—is poised to take over in the new year.

Already, David Santos, of the now-closed West Village restaurant Louro, has been busily staging hot-chicken pop-ups. In early 2016, celebrity chef Carla Hallis set to open Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen, a restaurant in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood that will make hot chicken its calling card.

Chefs' Picks: NYC Pizza

New York City may be many things to many people, but there’s no denying it’s a pizza town. The first commercial pies made on American soil were baked in a Manhattan oven at Lombardi’s Pizza in 1905. And today on nearly every street in the five boroughs you can find a shop slinging slices slicked with sauce, smothered in cheese and adorned with virtually any topping imaginable. New Yorkers are passionate about pizza, and chefs are just as committed — maybe even more so — to their favorite spots for a slice in the Big Apple. Here, the pros dish on their top pizza picks.

Chef Gabriel Israel serves excellent modern Israeli food at Green Fig in Hell’s Kitchen, but his first job was making wood-oven pies at his father’s event space in Bnei Zion, about a half hour away from his hometown, Tel Aviv, Israel. He still advocates for wood-fired pies, preferably resembling those found on the Southern Italian coast. “I really like Neapolitan-style pizza — that’s my weakness,” says Israel. When the craving hits, the chef sticks close to home at Pizza Beach on the Upper East Side. The place hits all of Israel’s requirements: wood-fired oven, good dough, quality ingredients. Another plus? It’s right near his apartment. “Their margherita pie with housemade mozzarella is great, as is their four-cheese pie,” Israel says.

Jason Atherton Takes the Helm at the Clocktower

THE CLOCKTOWER The English chef Jason Atherton, who has a tidy empire in London with outposts in Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and a few Michelin stars as well, has landed in New York. He is the executive chef for the restaurant at the New York Edition, a boutique hotel group created by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International. “I’m not doing a London restaurant here it’s a New York restaurant,” Mr. Atherton said. The hotel occupies the landmark clock tower, designed to look like the Campanile in Venice, that overlooks Madison Square Park and was originally part of the Metropolitan Life headquarters. A collection of mahogany-paneled executive offices has become three dining rooms, a gilded bar and a billiard room. Despite the elaborate décor, the rather unassuming Mr. Atherton said that he will serve “tavern food” at bare tables, like stewed lamb shoulder for two. (Less humble are a version of Peking duck with cherries king crab with dashi jelly and whole roasted Dover sole.) “It’s not precious food,” he said. “It has to be delicious.” The pastry chef is Sebastien Rouxel, formerly of the French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery, who is now, like Mr. Atherton, working with the restaurateur Stephen Starr. (Opens May 17): New York Edition, 5 Madison Avenue (24th Street), 212-413-4300.

ABAJO This bar serving cocktails of tequila and mezcal, with inventive small plates including fried guacamole, is tucked below Angelo Sosa’s downtown branch of Añejo. (Friday): 301 Church Street (Walker Street), 212-920-6270,

CHOMP CHOMP Simpson Wong has renamed his restaurant, Wong, for a popular center of hawker stands in Singapore, with street food to match. Temptations include fried chicken wings coated with shrimp paste pork belly braised in soy sauce and garlic and an omelet of oysters and garlic chives: 7 Cornelia Street (Bleecker Street), 212-929-2888,

ELI’S ESSENTIALS WINE BAR The latest of Eli Zabar’s cafes and carryout shops turns into a wine bar in the evening, with small plates like morel toast, lamb sliders, arancini and soft-shell crab on brioche to accompany a mostly French wine list, with 20 choices by the glass: 1270 Madison Avenue (91st Street), 646-755-3999,

FARO “Sustainable” and “local” are the watchwords for Kevin and Debbie Adey’s place, a neighborhood restaurant close to their home. Mr. Adey even mills the upstate flour for his ravioli, lumache and grano arso (burnt wheat) stracci. (Wednesday): 436 Jefferson Street (St. Nicholas Avenue), Bushwick, Brooklyn 718-381-8201,

THE FILLMORE ROOM Liran Mezan’s makeover of Moran’s restaurant, in Chelsea, has Art Deco touches and a vintage bar: 146 10th Avenue (19th Street), 212-921-7772,

MAMO Massimo Sola, the chef at this branch of Mamo Le Michelangelo, a restaurant in Antibes, France, tosses in an occasional nod to Provence. A classic salade niçoise and stuffed vegetables are on his basically Italian menu. Vintage movie posters, a nod to Cannes, dominate the room. (Friday): 323 West Broadway (Grand Street), 646-964-4641,

PIER A HARBOR HOUSE AND HARRISON ROOM The second-floor rooms in this historic pier-turned-restaurant on the Hudson River are opening in stages. The main dining areas, done with a vintage look, and the leather-upholstered bar at the eastern end of the building, the Harrison Room, will be ready next week. The wood-paneled Commissioner’s Bar, with sunset views, is to open this summer. All are under the direction of the executive chef, Joe Mallol, whose menu offers straightforward American fare. The Dead Rabbit, an award-winning bar from HPH, which also owns Pier A, is creating the cocktails: 22 Battery Place (West Street), 212-785-0153,

VIRGINIA’S With pedigrees that include Per Se, Charlie Trotter and Locanda Verde, Christian Ramos, the chef, and Reed Adelson have opened this American spot. Check out the framed menus from world-famous restaurants: 647 East 11th Street (Avenue C), 212-658-0152,

TACOWAY BEACH The new taco stand, formerly Rockaway Taco, has opened for the season at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club: 302 Beach 87th Street, Rockaway Beach, Queens

Chefs on the Move

ARTHUR BARRETTE has been named by Geoffrey Zakarian to be the executive chef of the Lambs Club.

CAROLE WAGNER GREENWOOD, who had restaurants in Washington, has become the chef at 2 Duck Goose in Gowanus, Brooklyn, where she has tweaked the menu with an Asian kale Caesar salad and warm soba with market vegetables.

JOEY SCALABRINO is the new chef at Grindhaus in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Looking Ahead

ALTA LINEA The owners of L’Apicio, Anfora and L’Artusi will open this seasonal outdoor restaurant in the leafy courtyard of the High Line Hotel this summer. Picnic baskets will be sold. The hotel is in a building that was originally part of the General Theological Seminary, dating to 1895: 180 10th Avenue (20th Street).

HAROLD’S MEAT & THREE Harold Moore, the executive chef of Commerce, will translate the classic Southern meal formula to a cafeteria setting in a new hotel this fall. You select your meat and three sides: Tommie Hotel, 231 Hudson Street (Canal Street).

HUDSON YARDS When this mammoth complex of offices, residences, retail and restaurants is completed in 2018, there will be a dining collection of about 12 restaurants, including one from Thomas Keller, all selected by Mr. Keller with Kennth A. Himmel, the president of Related Urban, the retail developer: 30th to 34th Streets, 10th to 12th Avenues.

L’ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON Late next year, the French chef Joël Robuchon will open a multifaceted space in Miami’s Design District. It will be along the lines of what he will unveil this fall at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan, with a bar and lounge, a counter-style restaurant, an outdoor terrace and La Boutique, a bakery and cafe: Paradise Plaza, 41st Street and First Avenue, Miami.

Taking a bite of the Big Apple

New York is the city that never sleeps. As far as I’m concerned it never stops eating either. Everyone has his or her favourite spot. Bump into anyone on their way to New York City and they’ll reel off a list of suggestions.

‘I love Katz’s Deli on Lower East Side,’ says Andrew Perkins, British Airways’ Senior First Officer, who I meet in the business class lounge before take off. ‘It features in When Harry met Sally you’ll immediately be able to picture this long-standing bustling diner – stick with their signature sandwiches on your first visit.’

His colleague Jose Linan butts in. ‘You’ve got to try Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway. It’s an old-fashioned diner where the waiting staff burst into song while you’re there, with all the latest musicals.’

I had a notebook full of suggestions, from Five Guys burger chains to Little Italy’s Pizza, before we’d even taken off for JFK.

All of my favourite food trends have come from New York – the city had me hooked at the humble cupcake, back when Sex and the City was first on. I’ve had to resign myself to going up a dress size this visit as I investigate the new foodie trends. But I didn’t expect to find amazing food quite so early on in my journey – sitting in British Airways’ business class. You know a food trend has been taken to heart when it appears in-flight, but the airline’s first-ever gourmet burger is a pleasant surprise. Our taste buds are diminished by 30 per cent in the air, so the meal includes three cuts of beef that retain the most flavour and moisture, as I’m assured by the airline’s head chef Mark Tazzioli, who tells me later, ‘It has taken months of trials to ensure we get the perfect texture and succulence… as taste buds are affected at altitude, we have created an original patty, which has proven extremely popular in taste-tests.’

It’s the kind of food that New York excels in – comfort food, made locally, with fresh ingredients and interesting twists.

So if you’re about to hit New York this winter, where do you start? The thing to remember is that New York is a city constantly digesting one trend while waiting for the next one to be served. It’s a city that thinks about food constantly, like a ravenous bear, and for every gourmet burger invented, there are a hundred pop-ups, food trucks, installations, restaurants and rooftop farms out there that call to you to taste and try.

As you can’t possibly eat everything (I know, I’ve tried), here are a few of the best food trends that are still shaping New York, and where to try them – yes, it was worth sacrificing a pair of jeans for.


Think New York, think food trucks, right? From tacos to truffle-flavoured ice cream, food trucks have revolutionised how we think about comfort food, ingredients and fine dining, but the whole outside bit – the standing-up one – has got a bit tiresome.

Lucky then that this ever-evolving city has taken the best tastes of the food truck and placed them happily indoors. Up by Times Square sits City Kitchen on the first floor of Row NYC. Inside are the city’s yummiest vendors, hand-picked by the organisers – from the award-winning doughnuts at Dough (oversized, stodgy Homer Simpson-style carbs that come in flavours like passion fruit with cocoa nibs), Luke’s Lobster (fresh East Coast crustaceans), or Kuro-Obi (oozy, thick steamed buns). With communal tables and views down Eighth Avenue, it’s ideal for a foodie pit-stop amidst the sightseeing.

Over in the hipster, brick and iron-girder heavy Meatpacking District, there are a couple of food halls that celebrate everyone’s favourite food trends, but in the comfort of the indoors. Gansevoort Market is a compact, street-side food hall in an old brick warehouse where you’ll find colourful shacks and stands selling everything from local veggies to ceviche, bruffins (savoury muffins), macarons and superfood smoothies. A market like this gives you a real feel of just how many pop-ups, independent food companies, bakeries and drinks’ companies New York has. Clue – it’s spoilt for choice.

Walk off the calories you ate at Gansevoort Market via the High Line nearby to the larger, more established Chelsea Market. New York’s High Line (which transformed a derelict elevated train track into a community garden and walking path) has its own collection of uber-local cafés and juice sellers, but Chelsea Market is the granddaddy of this independent, local scene.

Within the market, housed in an old Hudson River warehouse that takes up a whole block, is an urban food court that pulls in over six million visitors a year. With 35 vendors, from traditional bagels to an oyster bar, sellers of soups, cheeses, local meats, sushi restaurants and ice pops all here, this is the place to find the food trends that have become part of the city permanently.

But it’s not just about eating on-the-go or super-casual dining. There are also restaurants that have taken the love of street food to heart and created menus around it. Chomp Chomp brings the Singaporean love of hawkers to a more sedate level, with a cute, informal industrial-meets-Asian-restaurant in Soho.

Starters include finger lickin’ spicy chicken wings and delicate summer rolls, all served up on brightly coloured plates that ape the cheap and cheerful atmosphere of an Asian food market. Don’t miss the BBQ stingray – tender and juicy, it’s a staple of Singaporean cuisine not often recreated elsewhere but done at Chomp Chomp with aplomb by Chef Simpson Wong, who has a trio of fine dining restaurants in the city. While he’s following a recently well-trodden path of fine dining chefs opening more casual eateries, there’s no pretension here – he has tamed the best hawker-style food without losing its soul. (Did I mention the banana fritters with chilli flakes? Who needs expensive ingredients when you have these?).

While you’re in this part of town, the best place to sleep off a full meal is the Gansevoort. It’s bright, brash and one of the Kardashians’ favourite places to stay in the city. With views over the Hudson River from its rooftop club it’s not hard to see why. Rooms have a kitsch pop-up feel that echo the local environment, and the ground-level restaurant, The Chester, is great for lazy people-watching.


Manhattan’s Meatpacking and Greenwich districts merge together in a criss-cross of tall buildings laced with fire escapes that bind the bricks together. This part of New York has that fabled buzz of the city yellow taxis honk horns, women slink past in cutting-edge tailoring, while drip-feed coffee bars prop up bearded creative types. Among all of this is Rosemary’s, a neighbourhood Italian all-day restaurant that’s ditched the heavy pizza and pasta and focuses on Tuscan-inspired seasonal dishes. Even though it sits on the corner of a busy intersection, the restaurant has its own rooftop farm.

The farm is a work in progress, only three seasons in, but the restaurant’s commitment to uber-local ingredients is not just symptomatic of a trend, it’s almost expected now in this city. The restaurant has had help from Brooklyn Grange, the largest urban rooftop farm in the world, in Queens.

These guys lead the way in urban farming, with 40 beehives, herbs, wildflowers, vegetables and eggs all being produced up in the air. What the restaurant can’t produce it often buys from local food markets and Brooklyn Grange, and this sense of community is palatable. With small sharing plates based around one ingredient in season such as cabbages or radishes, cold Italian meats and home-made mozzarella, Rosemary’s takes Italian comfort food and creates an NYC-worthy spread of delicate simple tastes backed up with oily, pillow-y, moreish focaccia.

Of course it’s not the only restaurant in New York to produce some of its own ingredients. Every borough has an array of farm-to-table eateries, from fine dining options such as ABC Kitchen in the Flatiron building in Midtown to The Farm on Adderley in Brooklyn. As real estate is at a premium, New York leads the way in vertical and hydroponic farming, which gives its restaurants such choice when it comes to uber-local ingredients.

For a hotel that places the same importance on nature and sustainability, check into the organic 1Hotel Central Park. It has converted a gorgeous old brick building into a forward-thinking mid-range hotel that really wears its natural heart on its sleeve. Expect high-tech meets hemp linen with recycled materials down to the smallest details. It’s also home to knockout new eatery Jams by Jonathan Waxman that again is all about simple food, created locally. (Book in advance for the restaurant).


Name a comfort food that gives you more of a coveted sweet-and-sour hit than the relatively new pairing of fried chicken and waffles… go on. You can’t. This belt-breaking combination has found plenty of love among hipster restaurants in New York and London, but the humble Pies ‘n’ Thighs on Lower East Side in Manhattan kicked off the trend nearly 10 years ago. The retro-looking red-and-white diner was once a tiny kitchen under the Williamsburg bridge with six stools. Now in two locations, the premise is simple – there’s chicken and waffles and there are pies. Neither is going to help me fit into my jeans, but then that’s not what comfort food is about – and the chicken and waffles sure are comforting.

The chicken is crispy, salty and has a real taste to it (unlike most processed chain-restaurant chicken), while the buckwheat waffles are light but not too sweet, and the cinnamon butter is absolutely necessary. And even though the food might be simple, there’s no scrimping on ingredients – all of the chicken comes from a nearby farm, which doesn’t use antibiotics and raises the birds humanely. This transparency with ingredients is a theme that winds its way through almost every menu now in New York, where expectations over food provenance are some of the highest in the world.


One man who knows exactly where his menu comes from is Scot Rosillo, otherwise known as the bagel guy. Manhattan might have been all about the ‘cronut’, the doughnut-croissant hybrid that made everyone sugar-high for a while, but Scot has been inventing new versions of the bagel since 2000.

He’s taken years to develop a technique to create the bright rainbow swirls of bready goodness that he makes in his Brooklyn bakery’s basement every day. Each one is created by hand, with a roll and flick technique that he makes look easy. And of course colour isn’t the only thing he plays with, there’s the different flavours, too – from pumpkin spice bagels to savoury numbers, and then different types of cream cheese.

3. Norman Musa

Just like Ping Coombes, Norman Musa also started his love for cooking Malaysian food when he moved to the UK as a student at University of Portsmouth. After graduating in quantity surveying in 1997, Musa landed his first job as a quantity surveyor in Bournemouth, South England, before moving to London and then to Manchester. After years working in the corporate world, in 2006, he took a sabbatical from his job to plan, design, and build his restaurant called Ning, with his then-partner.

Serving Malaysian and Thai cuisine, Musa acted as the Head Chef and worked in the restaurant for a year before returning to his day job as a quantity surveyor. Although he shifted back to the corporate world, he still was Ning’s Head Chef. After the business took off, Musa couldn’t juggle between the two jobs and called it quit as a quantity surveyor in 2009 to work full-time in Ning.

During his university days, his late mother taught him how to make curries and rendang, and today, her recipes are featured in Ning. Besides owning a restaurant, Musa also ventured into teaching where he launched his own cooking classes to the Brits, by showing them how to make rendang, gulai, murtabak and much more. In 2012, Musa was awarded Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year at the Asian Curry Awards, and his restaurant in Manchester received ‘Best Malaysian Restaurant’ award at the same event.

New York’s Newest, Internationally-Inspired Soups

It may officially be Hot Soup Month, but you hardly need a faux food holiday to steer you towards warming, good-for-you, and intensely flavorful broth. And we’re rounding up some of the newest, most inventive, and totally international bowls to hit NYC’s dining scene — from the Kohlrabi Bisque at Taavo Somer’s new Le Turtle in the Lower East Side to High Street’s Spiced Pumpkin Soup!

High Street on Hudson

The long-waited West Village location of the beloved & uber popular, Philly staple is finally open for lunch — serving locally-sourced, heritage American fare like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on housemade roasted potato bread, paired with silky Pumpkin Soup, strewn with spiced pumpkin seeds and ribbons of pickled squash, or Clam Chowder-Chilled Seafood, with smoked Manhattan chowder broth.

Le Turtle

With a menu described as “French New Wave health food,” this avant garde bistro is a collaboration between Freeman’s Taavo Somer, The Smile’s Carlos Quirarte and former Blanca chef, Greg Proechel, which means you can forget about finding staid brasserie classics, like crocks of French Onion Soup. Instead, Le Turtle is offering assertively vegetal Kohlrabi Bisque, striped with lamb belly and smoked cabbage, and spiked with pickled mustard seeds.

Mario by Mary

One of the many, celebrity-studded vendors in The Pennsy — a buzzworthy new Penn Station-adjacent food court — Mario Batali joined forces with star caterer, Mary Giuliani, for this Italian sandwich and soup shop. Don’t be confused by the Wedding Soup (which is actually a sandwich, featuring meatballs, escarole and mozzarella) as there are four other, legitimately spoonable options, like White Bean and Rosemary, Roasted Eggplant and Tomato, Kabocha Squash and Parsnip, and Chicken Kale Stracciatella.

Chomp Chomp

Simpson Wong is serving all sorts of Asian-inspired soups at his critically acclaimed, Singaporean hawker food spot, Chomp Chomp. Try the Curry Laksa, which features shrimp, tofu and noodles in a spicy coconut curried broth, the Hokkien-style Prawn Mee a potage made of pork bones and prawns steeped for over 48 hours, and fleshed out with egg noodles and spare ribs, and the Kuala Lumpur favorite, Lam Mee Noodles — sauced with a thin egg gravy, poached egg, crispy chicken leg and Chinese spinach.

Recently opened by The Good Fork Team, Insa is Brooklyn’s very first Korean barbecue joint/karaoke bar. But there’s more to the menu than table-grilled hunks of short ribs and pork belly a sizeable selection of soups includes Yukgaejang a spicy beef broth bearing wild fiddleheads and sweet potato noodles, Seollungtang an ox bone soup with brisket and daikon, Janchi Guksu somen noodles dunked in seafood broth, and Tteok Mandu Guk meat dumplings and rice cakes in an anchovy-steeped soup.

Cozinha Latina

Chef Shanna Pacifico — who came up under farm-to-table guru, Peter Hoffman — is behind this bi-level Greenpoint spot and while she always keeps an eye on seasonality, paying homage to authentic Brazilian cuisine is her primary goal. As such, the traditional, hominy-thickened potage, Pozole, is a mainstay on the menu, featuring a cilantro-verdant broth packed with pork and briny, in-shell clams, as well as the African-inspired shrimp stew, Bobo de Camarao, rich with coconut milk and fortified with starchy yucca and particles of puffed rice.

Now with a seasonal location at Mad. Sq. Eats, this modern Asian noodle spot is known for its Soy Milk Dan Dan Sorba ground beef, iceberg lettuce and strands of sorba (a cross between ramen and soba, crafted especially for the restaurant), swirled in a creamy white soy milk broth. There’s also a classic Chashu Ramen, which includes thinly sliced pork belly, scallions and sweet soy pickled bamboo shoot in a soy sauce broth, but if you can’t choose between the two, might as well spring for the Ramen Tasting Menu instead, which offers from 2-5 samples of KOA‘s signature soups.


There’s no question that Long Island City’s restaurant scene is popping, and the brand new, 4,000-square foot Eastern European-style beer hall, Bierocracy, is drawing some of the biggest crowds. The drinks menu includes 35 bottles and 13 options on tap, but there’s more than one way to ingest your suds — why not pair a stein of Schneider Weisse with a bowl of Bier and Cheese Soup a blend of house Witte beer, Vermont cheddar and brie, topped with a smattering of crunchy mustard croutons?

Watch the video: SINGAPORE HAWKER FOOD. No. 8 Fish Head Steamboat u0026 Sliced Fish Soup. Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre