Num Pang Opens Today In Chelsea Market, Already Packed With Hungry People

You know those chili-mayo-and-cilantro-soaked banh mi sandwiches – full of glazed pork belly, coconut tiger shrimp, and spiced honey pork – tucked into crunchy, baked baguettes? The ones from Num Pang, that packed Cambodian spot off Union Square, Madison Square, and Grand Central? Well today marks the opening of its fourth location in what is basically NYC’s Asian-Vegan-Seafood-Italian culinary Epcot known as Chelsea Market. And as you can see from the photo, not only does Num Pang "welcome friends & fam" with a very loving, chalk-written welcome sign, but Num Pang’s opening has already been sniffed out by tons of NYers who know a good Asian sandwich when they taste it, and tourists who know a good buzz when they see it.

And unlike all other Num Pang locations, you can only find their new roast beef and coriander sandwich, and chicken salad with spicy cashew sandwich at this new Chelsea Market location – none others. But don’t worry, their five-spiced glazed pork belly, BBQ brisket, and watermelon juice are still there. Always there for you.

Get the inside-scoop on Num Pang, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Get Lucky In NYC Every Night Next Week

This is not false advertising. Starting Monday, April 29th, you can get lucky every night of the week, which is a basically impossible feat in NYC (unless you’re a 21-year-old, freckle-faced, college girl majoring in English, with too many evenings free and lots of insecurity issues). For seven days, you can drink unlimited Bombay Sapphire East Gin cocktails with lemongrass and St. Germain mixed by Iron Chef Morimoto, dance to house tunes spun by scruffy, downtown DJs, and gorge on pinched, pillowy, lamb-filled dumplings made by Mission Chinese Food chef Danny Bowien. And while you’re at it, get lucky with any one you meet. The cause: LUCKYRICE, the 4th annual festival honoring all things Asian (that you can chew and sip) all across NYC.

Some stops along the way include a cocktail feast at The Bowery Hotel lead by eight of NYC’s top bartenders and Iron Chef Morimoto, a “Filipino Fiesta” at The James Beard House hosted by chef Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao (which boasts a BlackBook-obsessed, delicious brunch), and a Night Market at The Maritime Hotel, where 20 Asian spots serve their top dishes in bohemian cabanas à la the chaotic, night market experience in Asia.

Intrigued? Excited? Hungry? Then snatch up the last couple of tickets to LUCKYRICE. 

And (ahem), please tweet at me if you get lucky, thanks. 

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

Pig and Khao Launches Brunch: The Hit Dishes

It all started with the chocolate & bacon rice pudding at Pig and Khao: a multi-layered Filipino treat of sticky rice, coconut milk, whole milk, and chocolate, topped with bacon bits. One rice and pork-filled scoop, and I vowed to never let a silly thing like “healthfulness” or “but I’m going out later”  be a concern on the weekends. Why? Because the Thai and Filipino spot Pig and Khao has just launched their weekend brunch, and with a name that translates to “mountains of rice and pig” in Thai, there’s just no time for any thought besides "bring on the bacon."

About Pig and Khao; every forkful at this Lower East Side spot has been crafted by Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen, and everything else – from the décor to the management – is under the care of Fatty Crew Hospitality, the same group behind NY’s Fatty ‘Cue and Fatty Crab. You’re in good hands.

And good hands yield happy bellies at Pig and Khao, where the brunch menu includes hit dishes like a sizzling platter of braised pork head (pictured) with garlic and a just-cracked egg; corned beef hash with raw egg, Thai chili, and cilantro; and the king of the crop – a pan-seared French toast-inspired bread pudding (below) with caramelized bananas baked inside, topped with caramelized plantains and coconut whipped cream.  

And mimosas are bottomless. At $15, you get nonstop, express-delivered glasses of fresh lychee, mango, orange, and watermelon mimosa. And when you couple two hours of those drinks with the sobering effects of pork head and yellow curry noodles, you too can walk out of Pig and Khao a new person, ready to take on the day. Godspeed.

Know every inch of this city by visiting BlackBook’s New York City Guides, and follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Pig and Khao

In a Blaze of Teriyaki Glory, Glaze Opens in Union Square

No longer do you teriyaki junkies have to travel all the way to Midtown to feast on Glaze Teriyaki Grill’s chicken thighs, fresh organic salmon, and soy marinated tofu. Today, owner Paul Krug opens a second location, bringing his Seattle-style teriyaki to a 750 square-foot space in Union Square, a neighborhood he has lived in, and loved, since he moved here from Seattle 10 years ago.

“I hope the downtown people will appreciate an affordable Asian restaurant with a focus on great ingredients,” said Krug, who opened his first teriyaki shop in Midtown in 2010. “With Glaze, we spruced up the food a bit by using fresh quality, all natural ingredients, and make everything from scratch—while trying to remain true to the teriyaki cuisine.”

That means their fish is fresh, never frozen, they use antibiotic-free chicken and pork, and they go organic and local as much as possible. Chef Dennis Lake oversees the kitchenand their signature teriyaki plates have a smoky, caramel-like flavor to them, with a subtle hint spicy ginger and garlic. They let you tailor your heat levels with three different hot sauces, and also give customers gluten-free options. None of the dishes cost more than $10, which makes Glaze a great place to pick up a quick, inexpensive lunch. The best part, if you don’t want to go back to the office or school, there is still time to enjoy summer and your food outside in the nearby park.

But what is Seattle-style teriyaki you may ask? Krug said in his hometown, “there is a Korean flavor profile in the teriyaki sauce.” He added that, though Seattleites are able to chow on good teriyaki at Japanese restaurants here, it just didn’t have the same taste as the stuff he got in Washington State. Does anyone else concur?

Mission Accomplished: Danny Bowien’s Chinese Food Wins in New York

As I chow on last night’s leftovers, my mouth tingles in memory of chef Danny Bowien’s Sichuan pepper-heavy dishes that he serves at the new Mission Chinese Food on the Lower East Side. Now, here is a man who not only knows how to play with traditional Asian spices, but has also figured out a way to make take-out Chinese hip. But don’t tell him that. “A lot of people have labeled us that way, but we are working away from that,” the long-haired chef says. “We are tying to make something at appeals to us, and is something we want to go to our day off.”

Bowien first made the scene with his original Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco, which he opened in 2010 inside a dingy Chinese restaurant. Since then, the quaint joint has caused quite a commotion in the foodie scene as Bowien has won not only an Eater Award, but also a page in GQ and an appearance on The Martha Stewart Show. And how do New Yorkers take this young upstart’s move to the East Coast?

“Tonight is the slowest it’s been since we opened last week,” the hostess told us after explaining that on Tuesday night there was a 45-minute wait for three people. “There have been lines waiting for us when we open at five.” Luckily, they kindly offer a complementary Narragansett, which hungry patrons eagerly tapped from the keg sitting under the neon menu board.

“This is crazy, the overall reception, this just doesn’t happen and I feel very blessed,” says Bowien. “Overall, chefs and cooks have been so overly supportive, which is a big deal since I had never opened my own restaurant, let alone one in New York City.”

The menu remains nearly the same as the west coast one, with easily recognizable Chinese items like the dish that started Bowien on the path of Chinese food, tongue numbing mapo tofu. Funny enough, before his San Francisco restaurant, Bowien, who is a Korean from Oklahoma, had never cooked Chinese food before. “It’s not like rocket science, it’s like cooking.,” he says. “If you can make a slow cooked meat sauce, that’s petty much what mapo tofu is. You kind of just plug these ingredients in and make it.”

About his move east, Bowien told the New York Times in February, “We could have opened another one here in San Francisco, but I love New York, the way it pushes you. It inspires me so I wanted to come to New York.” Now, Bowien jets between coasts and, in two short years, has gone from a fine dining cook to restaurateur making waves. Enough waves, that opening week Daniel Boulud popped in and in and whipped up an omelet, which you can watch below. This sense of support and camaraderie blew Bowien away, especially since it’s exactly what he is going for.

“We are trying to create a sense of community here,” says the young chef. “Like two of your favorite bands playing together. It’s not just about one person it’s about a lot of people.”