Often times when I meet people and it comes up that I have this reckless hobby of writing about world foods, we very quickly come to a moment of realizing I am no service to them or 99% of people in New York City. It can happen in various ways, but somehow relates to the very first recommendation they might ask from me. Something along the lines of "What restaurant would you recommend to me in the West Village?"
Rather than telling the person I don't know, I usually explain the premise of my website a little better and say it involves travel and getting out to other boroughs for experiences and yada yada yada. If you are reading this sentence now, there is a lower chance that this will not offend you: Most people do not want to hear my answer, and probably forget me by the time they sleep, comfortable in the fact that they ate somewhere a major outlet recommended to them, no matter how much money left their wallet.
Looking through my coverage of this specific neighborhood to date, there are actually seven tasty spots that have been spoken for over the years, but until today I am not sure that a bridge between worlds has been constructed. Chomp Chomp, an upscale Singaporean restaurant that bills itself selling "hawker style" foods, might just be that bridge.
If this spot was in the back of a mall in Flushing or something similar, it would fit the bill of this website so perfectly I would not hesitate to give it my highest praise. That being said, the food here is without a doubt excellent, the complexity and beauty of Singaporean food shining through in almost every dish, a mixture of Chinese, Malay, and Indian inspiration at its top level but with so much more underneath. If you have contemplated a visit to this tiny city-state, come to Chomp Chomp first and have yourself talked into it by the food.
Since my first visit, the place has been glowingly given stars by the New York Times, but coming before 8pm or so on a weekday can still afford prompt seating. The bar stools in front of the kitchen (above) are the last to be assigned, but if you are in the mood, ask for them and enjoy the show.
Oh luak ($12), oyster omelet, chili vinegar
Lobak ($8.50), five spice chicken, crispy tofu skin
Hah zheung gai ($10.50), shrimp paste chicken wings
Pasembur ($7.50), salad of fried shrimp, tofu, cucumber, etc.
Murtabak ($9), roti with minced meat and curry dip
Fried Hokkien mee ($15), stir fried seafood noodles with yu choy
Asam fish ($15), hake in tamarind coconut sauce, vegetables
Sarawak laksa ($14), spicy coconut broth, shrimp, chicken, tofu
Char kway teow ($14), fried rice noodles with seafood, true hawker fare!
Duck noodles special ($18), roasted leg with vinegary pepper sauce
Kangkung belachan ($8), stir-fried morning glory
The portions here are not gigantic, so be prepared to pay between $30 and $40 even if you are not drinking. The atmosphere will not speak of a hawker stall in a night market, one of the most amazing reasons to visit Singapore and Southeast Asia, but the food will win you over nonetheless.