Two Magical Soulful Nights in Brooklyn with the Asian Food Mafia at the Chef’s Hawker Centre

Asian Food Mafia
Spring Roll platter, Happy Valley Filet mignon Un-shaken beef

Chef Tu David Phu created this food experience after the inspiration of the Hawker style eating in Singapore. He is a first generation Vietnamese-American with a rich culinary background. An alumni of highly regarded kitchens (such as: Daniel, Acquerello and Chez Panisse).

Chef spoke about how after a decade of working in Michelin star restaurants, working side by side his mom, aunties and sister was where he began to immerse himself in the practices, ingredients, techniques, and flavors of Vietnamese cuisines.  Revisiting his favorite childhood dishes through the memory of taste, he started to cook the cuisine of his Mothers’ generations-old wisdom handed down grassroots-style. An advocate to recognize the talents of more female chef’s, who are unmatched by these Michelin Star Chefs. Most recently, Chef Phu was a featured contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 15. One of my favorites.

CHC is a Traveling Pop-up Series celebrating Asia’s favorite dining institution, the “Hawker Centre.” The event is one of the most anticipated dinner series, featuring the nation’s top emerging chefs. It promised to be a fun night full of great eats and killer drinks.

Chef Tu David Phu of Chefs Hawker Centre and the Asian Food Mafia (chefs Chris Cheung, Medwin Pang, Ed and Lien Lin and Christine Lau) team up to celebrate the evolution of Asian cuisine through modern techniques and the art of BBQ. 9 courses and drinks each night of choice. An epic tasting menu featuring dishes like “Lop Cherng Crusted Trout” and “BBQ Chicken Stuffed Eel”. It all takes place at Bricolage, Brooklyn’s premiere Vietnamese gastropub.

Chef’s Hawker Centre
Chef Lein Lin and Chef Christine Lau. Photo by Faith Rein

Chris Cheung of East Wind Snack Shop

Edward and Lien Lin of Bricolage

Medwin Pang of Hunger Pang

Christine Lau is a consultant chef

Tu David Phu of Chefs Hawker Centre

Day One

Beverage pairings Modern Asian

Beets by Dre – Mizu Lemongrass Sochu, Beet shrub, rhubarb amaro, soda

Bohigas X Xarel.lo 2016 (Catalunya)

Olive the Thyme – Scotch, Antica Torino Vermouth., Amaro Abano, Bitters

We began on Wednesday with Chef Medwin Pang of Hunger Pangs in Park Slope and his Stinky Tofu Caesar Salad. Tofu melted in your mouth with a light dressing to brighten your palate.

Another of our favorites was Chef Tu David Phu and the “Goi Khoai Tay” – Sweet Potato Tartare. I particularly love sweet potato’s so I was especially excited about this dish. Already I felt as if I was home, but no home I knew. Just like a warm hug.

Asian Food Mafia NYC
sweet potato Tartare. Photo by Faith Rein

Hot and Sour Silken Tofu followed. This was prepared with love by Chef Christine Lau.

Chef Lau dazzled with my pick for the Super Star dish and there were many, with her Lap Cheong Crusted Trout. Prepared to perfection. Light and buttery with salty crispy skin sitting in a plate licking wish there were seconds kind of sauce.

Chef Medwin Pang also gave us, in his words Broccoli & Beef. This was grass fed beef cooked to a mouth watering rare. Sticky rice and fresh broccoli. Quite a step above or 10 above your local take out joint.

9 courses of playful, heartwarming dishes.

Chefs Hawker
Grass fed Beef & Broccoli. Photo by Faith Rein

But wait…there’s more.

Day Two

Pairings for the Asian BBQ

Boulevardier – Bourbon, Campari, Sweet Vermouth

Other Half “Forever Ever” Session IPA

Ground Effect Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Santa Ynez, CA)

Chef Lien and Ed Lin created a beautiful plate of Chrysanthemum, lotus fermented bean curd salad. Chef Lien wanted to start us with something light with all the heavy BBQ we would be getting. Yes Please.

Chef Tu David Phu
Chrusanthemum, lotus, fermented bean curd. Photo by Faith Rein

Nothing prepared me for the 2nd course. Jerk Avocado. As our table mate stated with enthusiasm. “ I love when Avocado’s are treated like meat”. I do too ! Avocado’s are a perfect food. Jerk Avocado isn’t necessarily pretty but it was the tastiest combination of spicy with a kick and smoothness of classic blues singer. It makes you feel good down to your soul.

A Spring Roll Platter is always fun. With chef Christine Lau doing the Black bean Prawn & Crispy Pork Belly. Bo Nuong la Lot by Chef Lien and Ed Lin.

Braised Pig Tail & Sticky rice – Chef Chris Cheung. A surprise dish I would never think of being so tasty.

Asian Food Mafia
Spring Roll platter, Happy Valley Filet mignon Un-shaken beef
Happy Valley Filet Mignon “Un-Shaken Beef” – by Chef Lien and Ed Lien

Beef that was so tender and beautifully prepared. The Filet melted in your mouth with flavors that kept giving with each bite.

Only to be topped by the Cumin Lamb Tsukune.

Finale by Chef Chris Cheung – Lychee tart. Ending all 9 courses delivered and crescendo of the perfect evening.

“the best food I’ve personally eaten in my life were with my hands, squatting in the Hawker Centre of Asia” – Tu David Phu

Chef & Founder

Upcoming Pop-up can be found

These food experiences are also right here in Brooklyn

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Living and loving in NYC, food has been a passion of hers. East Coast to West, Faith’s goal is to explore and learn with the contribution of other like-minded foodies. Faith Rein has written for Youtube channel – faith.rein, love food love faith. You can find her @: Faith.rein/facebook (always looking to add friends) / faith rein@twitter / faith.rein@instagram /