No matter how many times I've been there, I always have to suppress a gasp when I walk into Spice Market. What a stunning place ...
Last Wednesday was no different. I'd been to Spice Market on a few other occasions with my Filipino freinds. This time I was with my dearest Céline, our visiting Belgian friends Kevin and Jelena, and soon-to-be-New-Yorkers Kim and Chris (well, Kim's going back to being a New Yorker really, but that description just rolls off the tongue much more easily).
A friend once told me that the interiors of Spice Market consists of elements imported from Bali, which is pretty believable given the incredible level of detail inside. The food is oft described as reimagined Southeast Asian street fare, which I must say leaves me feeling a tad neglected since they seemed unable to find a single dish to include from any of the Philippines' 7,100 islands.
But enough taking things personally and moving along to the important stuff. What did we eat? I thought about ordering the Red Curried Duck, which I've tried before and loved. But since it was a ridiculously hot night in New York, I felt more inclined to have seafood. I picked the steamed red snapper with shitaake mushrooms, ginger, scallion and tarragon ($27). I loved the strong flavors, which nicely soaked into the soft and succulent fish.
However, the next time I come to Spice Market, I am definitely ordering what Céline had: the Halibut Cha Ca La Vong with herb salad ($25). The halibut was just addictive, swimming in that heady soup spiked with turmeric, peanuts and fish sauce. Love, love, love. I had total food envy.
Kim's dish was also pretty delicious: Onion and Chili Crusted Short Ribs with Egg Noodles and Pea Shoots ($22). The flavor reminded me a lot of beef brisket soups so common in Asia. So hearty, and the short ribs were incredibly tender and flavorful. This dish is also definitely worth a repeat.
While my entree was not the best of the bunch, I was still stuffed silly since I took full advantage of the complimentary jasmine rice and polished off my entree completely. Such a great meal with wonderful company. Not much more I could ask for ... except maybe an haute version of sisig or turon on the menu someday?
Spice Market is located at 403 West 13th Street, New York, NY. Tel. (212) 675-2322