Asian New Wave
Whatever you think of the word fusion, there’s no denying that some of the most delicious food comes from the artful collision of cultures and flavors. Just ask Jean-Georges Vongerichten or David Chang. Or try a Kim Dog at Mrs. Kim’s (160 Franklin St., at Kent St., Greenpoint; 718-389-8881) and see for yourself. The juicy house-ground pork sausage, slicked with gochujang ketchup (a paste made from red chiles and fermented soybeans) and garnished with kimchee on a soft toasted roll, is but one of several fruitful collaborations between a Korean owner and two American chefs, and makes an excellent chalkboard special ($10 with a pint of beer). Kimchee, seemingly the new salsa, is also a staple at Purple Yam (1314 Cortelyou Rd., nr. Rugby Rd., Ditmas Park; 718-940-8188), where Filipino chef Romy Dorotan tucks it into a Korean-meatball hero on a purple yam bun ($8). Pan-Asian explorations animate his menu, a border-crossing document that features dishes as traditional as vinegar-braised chicken adobo ($16) and as unexpected as one evening’s crimson steamed dumplings ($7), stuffed with beets and tofu and served with yogurt, a combo that conjured Kiev more than Manila. King Phojanakong calls the Thai-Filipino fusion he first introduced at Kuma Inn “Asian-American,” and of all the small plates on offer at his Brooklyn sequel, Umi Nom (433 DeKalb Ave., nr. Classon Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant; 718-789-8806), we steer you toward the grilled mackerel ($11), a slender specimen garnished with a salad of cherry tomatoes and jícama in a lively garlic-chile-lime dressing. Asian-American would also be an apt description of Zak Pelaccio’s genre-busting barbecue at Fatty ’Cue (91 S. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-599-3090), the Malaysian-flavored roadhouse frequented by the Underground Gourmet whenever the craving strikes for Pullman toast with ’cue drippings (a.k.a. Master Fat, $4), or a late-night smoked-brisket-and-smoked-Cheddar sandwich with chile jam ($10). The U.G. has also been known to bulk up on Haus Baos ($4.50) at Baohaus (137 Rivington St., nr. Norfolk St.; 646-684-3835), where chef-owner Eddie Huang reinterprets the red-cooked pork of his Taiwanese-American youth with Angus skirt steak and a marinade that combines cherry cola and Chinese sorghum liquor.