Peaches: Comforting Southern

It’s hard to resist a challenge when you read in the papers of a Southern restaurant owner boasting that his spicy fried chicken is so hot that it “will kick you in your face and make you cry.”

Anyone who’s been to Singapore or sampled real Singaporean food knows that my people don’t shy away from spice. My mother, in fact, has been observed eating the tiniest, spiciest raw chilis– like candy.

So when the sister was in town recently, we immediately set off to see what all this making you cry business was all about.

With Singaporean blood coursing through us, this chicken couldn’t possibly take us. No, we would take it.

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Singapore Takeout (New York): Feeding the Homesick

Calvin Trillin once wrote of Singaporeans: “Culinarily, they are among the most homesick people I have ever met.”

Truer words have rarely been said. Thankfully for us homesick transplants, however, the Singapore Tourism Board has been on a publicity rampage recently, ever determined to spread the gospel of our extraordinary cuisine.

And so it was that I found myself in the heart of New York City’s fashionable Meatpacking District on Friday, soaking in the heady smells of a creamy spicy laksa brewing, trying to quell my palpitations. Before us was a shipping container, a portable kitchen that the tourism board designed to travel the world, hitting nine cities starting with London in June and ending with Sydney in March 2012.

Starring in New York’s “Singapore Takeout” was chef Malcolm Lee, who helms Singapore’s Candlenut Kitchen, a restaurant that serves traditional Peranakan food, a Straits Chinese cuisine that combines flavors from the Straits of Malaya and China.

Chef Lee will be serving up Singaporean food in New York Sept. 17 and 18 from noon to 3 p.m. and I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview before the public gets to have its first bite …

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Hanco's (Brooklyn Heights): Finally, Pho

As you may have read on this blog, I live in something of a gastronomic wasteland.

Don’t get me wrong — I adore Brooklyn Heights and its picturesque streets and 19th century brownstones. What it does not possess, however, is more than two really good places to have a meal.

So when a new sign went up on the neighborhood’s main street recently, we all began watching the storefront’s papered-up windows with great anticipation. On Sunday, the paper finally came off and Hanco’s, a little Vietnamese sandwich and pho shop was in business. Would it present a third viable option for good food? We immediately got in a very long line to find out …

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Jake's Wayback Burgers: New Burgers On The (Brooklyn) Block

Burgers are my big, decadent cheat.

When I’m too tired to cook and there are no dinner plans on the horizon, my neighborhood Five Guys Burgers is my instant best friend.

And so it was with great excitement that I read about a new burger joint opening near my Brooklyn neighborhood this spring — Jake’s Wayback Burgers, a chain that began as Jake’s Hamburgers in 1991 in Newark, Del., and in 2010 changed its name to brand itself as a throwback to a time before “frozen hockey-puck burgers” or celebrity chefs “selling overpriced burgers for $20 at their upper-crust burger boutiques,” so says its Web site. Now, having had some of these types of burgers — and enjoyed them very much — I was curious to see how a chain that slams other burger purveyors would make its own.

So, on a recent afternoon, we set off to see how this bygone burger would taste …

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Famous Sichuan: A Fiery Summer Meal

The best policy when it comes to summer eating is — the hotter it is, the spicier the food.

Growing up in a tropical country tends to teach you this, anyway. And so when temperatures soared in New York City recently, fiery noodles and stir-fries started beckoning.

Now, living in New York gives you no dearth of great options when it comes to spice — Grand Sichuan in the East Village and Chelsea are both phenomenal. As is Wu Liang Ye in Midtown. We’d been reading lyrical posts about the offerings at a little Chinatown place that boasts authentic — and flaming-hot — Sichuan food, however.

So when a recent day had us marinating in sweat the moment we stepped out the door, we found ourselves making our way toward Famous Sichuan on little Pell Street…

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