Far off the beaten path of Singapore, in a leafy, tranquil stretch far north is a sleepy little neighborhood that has one nationally celebrated landmark: Chomp Chomp, widely regarded as one of the best -- if not the best -- places to find the best hawker/street food vendors on this tropical island nation.
Singaporeans across the country enjoy making pilgrimages to Chomp Chomp to feast on its unique and unparalleled sampling of the country’s hawker food. And Chef Simpson Wong, who first introduced New Yorkers to his global approach to cooking in 1996 when he opened Café Asean, a fine pan-Asian restaurant in the West Village, followed by Jefferson a New-American restaurant in 2003 and Wong, an Asian-locavore restaurant in 2011, now brings the flavors of Chomp Chomp to life today in the West Village.
At Chomp Chomp, Chef Wong will be showing New Yorkers an authentic taste of Singaporean hawker food -- which is akin to street food, though in Singapore, street food vendors have been housed in open-air food courts called hawker centers for decades now. His menu is a litany of Singaporean specialties, many of which are incredibly hard to find in the United States.
Chomp Chomp’s decor, designed by Thomas Dang Vu, is pure old-school Southeast Asian chic. Antique wooden Chinese doors, similar to ones that functioned as doorways into Singapore’s pre-war Peranakan (Straits Chinese) homes, adorn the dining room’s rustic open-brick walls. Bamboo blinds partially shielding the sleek open kitchen, an elegant dark-wood bar and sepia-toned lighting complete the feel of an old Singaporean supper club, even before the buttery sounds of vintage Shanghai cabaret and jazz come on.