Locals not happy with New York restaurant's representation of 'authentic' Singaporean dishes

Nurul Azliah
Lifestyle Lead
One of the dishes served at NYC’s Chomp Chomp is popiah, priced at USD8.50. (Photo: Chomp Chomp)

INSIDER, a website popular for its videos of trending food around the world, on Thursday (20 April) posted a video on Facebook featuring a New York restaurant called Chomp Chomp and its range of what the website calls “authentic” Singaporean street food.

However, the dishes featured in the video, which includes Chili Crab Cheese Fries and Lamb Rendang Mee Pok, had given an inaccurate representation of authentic dishes available in Singapore. Not surprisingly, Singaporeans who viewed the video took some offence.

“As someone who lived in Singapore for six years, I gotta agree it’s nowhere close to authentic Singaporean hawker food. Bit too much fusion to cater to Western tastes,” said commenter Pearl Zheng.

“These may not be the most authentic version per se, but the Singaporean influence is clearly there… Of course though, it would help if INSIDER didn’t mislabel it. It ain’t [Singaporean] street food,” said one Joshua Lim.

According to INSIDER’s post, the video was produced and edited by another food site called The Crepes of Wrath.

Chef and owner of Chomp Chomp, Simpson Wong. (Photo: Chomp Chomp)

Chomp Chomp – named after the popular hawker centre at Serangoon Gardens – is located at 7 Cornelia Street in New York and is owned by chef Simpson Wong. The dozens of dishes available at the restaurant include Chee Cheong Fun, Mee Rebus, Nasi Lemak and Laksa – called ‘Curry Mee’ on its website.

“I grew up very, very poor, so we didn’t go out to eat at different restaurants or try out different cuisines, but when we go out, my parents would take us to a hawker centre because it was a lot cheaper…” Wong was quoted in the video.

The Malaysian opened his first restaurant in New York in 1996 called Cafe Asean and has since opened two other eateries, Wong and Jefferson.

This is the latest restaurant opened by the former banker and United Nations liaison, through which he hopes to show New Yorkers “an authentic taste of Singaporean hawker food”, as stated on his website.

Last November, Chomp Chomp NYC was given the Bib Gourmand nod and listed in Michelin’s 2017 list of affordable restaurants in New York.

Prices at Chomp Chomp NYC start from USD$8.50 for popiah to USD$18 for a Newport Steak.

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