(THE NEW PAPER) - I am fascinated by the eating habits of millennials. It seems that much of what they eat is driven by aesthetics and a herd mentality.
Location, taste, value and ambience are secondary considerations, as long as they get a good picture of a dish that their friends have eaten.
NY Night Market, direct from Seoul and inspired by New York City (hence the name), seems to check all the boxes for the young: The queue is insane, the dishes are plated for Instagram and it combines two food trends - cafe-style and Korean.
The difference, thank goodness, is that the food is at the very least palatable.
There are a couple of dishes that are actually delicious.
The Waterfall Cheese Shrimp ($13.90) is gimmicky and likely calculated to be the social media star of the menu. A bucket of gooey cheese sauce is served alongside sauteed shrimps and the drama comes from pouring the sauce over them. Beyond the flourish, the dish is a simple, indulgent and tasty serving of shrimps with cheese.
My favourite is Under the Sea ($16.90), a comforting combination of slightly spicy Japanese oden soup filled with mussels and assorted fish cakes, chilli and lots of garlic. It is not particularly photogenic, but the soup is clear and robust and the garlic added depth.
When I saw the Cream the Curry ($13.90), I was intimidated by the copious amount of whipped cream. Strangely, it worked. The cream actually added volume to the beef curry.
I do not know how a Swiss dish fits into a Seoul-New York concept, but the Rosti & Beef ($10.90) worked. It is made with finely shredded russet potatoes and topped with slices of bulgogi beef. Again, it is a simple dish that is tastier than it looks.
Remember the "steak" that we used to get at coffee houses? The Finger Steak ($14.90) reminded me of that. Pan-seared beef ribeye steak is served on a hotplate, alongside broccoli, sliced king oyster mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and Gorgonzola butter.
The dish is not remarkable except for the price. It is a stomach filler in case you are broke, but still want to eat out with friends.
NY Night Market
Where: 01-08 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, tel: 6816-1018; open: 11am to 10pm (weekdays), 11am to 11pm (weekends)