Picture This: Singapore Heat

by UCLA Magazine, July 1, 2012

When a microbiologist realized his heart was really in a restaurant, he created one of downtown L.A.’s hottest eateries.

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(Above) Chef Bryant Ng feeds the fire. The lunch menu is built around Southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches on homemade bread, made with Vietnamese ham, paté, headcheese, garlic mayo, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeños. Photos: (Bryant ng) Courtesy of Anne Fishbein at LAWeekly; (sandwich) Courtesy of Rick Poon. 

“Like a good Asian boy, I studied molecular, cell and developmental biology,” says Bryant Ng ’00. But his heart never left his parents’ Chinese-American restaurant, Wok Way, in Los Angeles.

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So, after a stint in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, Ng went back to school, this time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He worked at several top restaurants, including La Folie in San Francisco and Pizzeria Mozza in L.A. Today, he and his wife, Kim Luu-Ng, own and operate the sizzling-hot Spice Tablein L.A.’s Little Tokyo. Earlier this year, Food & Wine magazine named Ng “Best New Chef.”

The Spice Table celebrates the heritage of the couple’s families, who are from Singapore and Vietnam. By day, the menu is built around Southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches on homemade bread, and at night, satays rule, grilled on a custom-designed, wood-burning hearth.