On nights like tonight I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else but NYC. The food in NYC is amazing - the restaurants are delicious and great food-centric events happen all the time. This week is LUCKYRICE (a festival celebrating Asian cuisine) and Alex and I bought tickets for the Night Market event this evening. Night Market was held under the Brooklyn Bridge and is supposed to simulate an actual Asian night market with tons of street food (and more upscale interpretations thereof). I'm not sure if the food we tasted tonight was in any way street food, but some of it was downright delicious. Restaurants like Social Eatz (head chef Angelo Sosa was one of the front-runners from Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars), Umi Nom and Kuma Inn (Alex and I were lucky enough to take a cooking class with chef King Phojanakong last year), Ma Peche (the lone Vietnamese-inspired restaurant in the Momofuku empire, as well as the only Momofuku located outside of the East Village), An Choi, Obao (another one of Michael Huynh's multitude of Vietnamese restaurants) and Spot Dessert Bar (click here to see an earlier blog post on Spot) all participated. The Taiwanese tourism board also participated and let me tell you, they were ballsy. As soon as we walked into the event I was like "OMG. Someone here is serving stinky tofu." You could smell it from like 45 feet away (maybe further). I actually walked by all of the tables on that end of the night market to see where the smell was coming from before I finally found it. For those of you who have never heard of/experienced stinky tofu, the name is well-deserved because that stuff smells terrible. When I lived in China I would sometimes cross the street to get away from the smell when it was particularly rank. It smells that bad.
Enough of that. My favorite bites of the evening in order of preference were the:
- Chicken and Cabbage Salad Served on a Vietnamese Prawn Cracker (An Choi)
- Rice Cake Topped with Asian Pork Bolognese (Kuma Inn/Umi Nom)
- Khao Soi Curry Served on a Betel Leaf (Betel - pictured above)
- Kalamansi Honey Thai Iced Tea (Spot Dessert Bar)
I also think an honorable mention needs to go out to the Tomato Curry Soup from Social Eatz and a rice noodle dish from Ma Peche. And the spring rolls from Spring Kitchen were perfectly fried and very tasty. Also, the stinky tofu was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. They served it fried, which helped to mute the taste, and served it with soy sauce and a chili sauce of sorts. It tasted like it smelled (only a little less aggressive), but it wasn't quite as foul as I had imagined. I managed to avoid it for the entire year I was in China, only to give in and eat it under a bridge here in NYC. I have to admit that Alex was the driving force behind our sampling the stinky tofu. If it were up to me I would have avoided it. Life is funny like that sometimes.
More photos after the jump!
Happy Alex with his tomato soup from Social Eatz.
Rice noodle dish from Ma Peche.
Chicken and cabbage salad on a prawn crack from An Choi.
Spring rolls from Spring Kitchen.
Stinky tofu is in the back of the plate with the hot chili sauce on top. They served it with some sort of fried pork, and then some sort of cabbage dish.
Pork belly sliders from Danji.