Chomp Chomp

A few weeks ago, a man seated at a new restaurant from the chef Simpson Wong (Café Asean) recalled a college roommate who, having discovered fermented shrimp paste, would bring a jar of the stuff to the dining hall and slather it, experimentally, on grilled cheese sandwiches. Known in Malay as belacan, that stuff is the key to much of the Singaporean “hawker food” now being served in the space that housed Wong’s eponymous restaurant, which closed last summer for a revamp.

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Wong proves the adage: there’s always room for one more. The palate-dazzling newcomer is the eighth restaurant lining the short Village block that also boasts Po (Mario Batali’s first venture) and Pearl Oyster Bar (the lobster-roll-craze pioneer). Not that the Malaysian-born chef Simpson Wong is a Johnny-come-lately.

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RESTAURANTS; Inventing America All Over Again

UNLIKE nouvelle cuisine, fusion cuisine never developed a theory. This may be because it is not so much an idea as a fact, a practical response to a global market and an increasingly global popular culture. Classically trained chefs, by one route or another, found their way to new ingredients and flavors, and they did exactly what chefs did when confronted with the tomato a few centuries ago.

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