From May 1-6, 2012, New York Asian food enthusiasts are invited to sink their teeth into a week-long celebration of Asian food in the City, with events ranging from a Night Market underneath the Manhattan Bridge to a Salute to Asian Spice dinner, a Talk and Taste event and – of course – a Grand Feast, the festive culmination of the festival. Are you hungry yet?
While this year’s Luckyrice Festival program almost sounds too good to be true (especially if you’ve traveled and eaten through Asia), it’s not… See the goodness for yourself through the tantalizing photos we’re including from the 2011 edition:
If you’re going to pick only one event to attend at this year’s festival, make it the Grand Feast on May 4. “Imagine traveling through all of culinary Asia without leaving the majestic Mandarin Oriental ballroom overlooking Central Park,” the festival organizers’ explain on the festival’s website. The Grand Feast is not an ordinary feast – star chefs from around the world will be serving up their best Asian dishes.
Oh, and did we mention drinks? Where else do you get to taste extraordinary delicacies such as pickled octopus martinis!? We wouldn’t miss that!
To learn more about what kind of discoveries we will make this year, we had a chance to chat with David Wong, currently Executive Assistant Manager and Head of the Food & Beverage department at the Institute of Tourism Studies (IFT) in Macau, which includes the Michelin recommended training hotel, Pousada de Mong-Ha. He is also a renowned sommelier and a regular food and wine judge on the international circuit.
LF: We can’t wait to attend the Grand Feast this year, can you share your best memories from the event last year? The happiest food moment?
DW: Cooking at James Beard House for 80 wonderful guest and 1,000 guest at the Mandarin Oriental for the Grand Feast event, plus meeting Chef Daniel Boulud.
LF: You live and work in Macau, which has a unique cuisine which is a blend of Portuguese cuisine with significant influences from Southeast Asia. What are the dishes one has to try when in Macau?
DW: African Chicken, Portuguese Egg Tarts and Minchi. One of the most famous dish in Macau is African Chicken or in Portuguese, Galinha a Africana. This dish is a result of borrowing ideas from Africa, with spices from Angola and Mozambique. Coconut and peanuts featuring predominately with other ingredients added like paprika, chilli and red bell peppers. Portuguese Egg Tarts or Pasteis de Nata and originally a specialty from the district of Belém, in Lisbon. This is a small round flaky pastry tart filled with a sweet egg cream. It is listed at number 16 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011
LF: And how about drinks? What do locals drink in Macau?
DW: Portuguese Wines
LF: One ingredient you can’t live without?
LF: One simple cooking tip that anyone can use?
DW: Keep it simple
LF: If you had to take a food journey in Asia, where would you go?
LF: Since we are not traveling to Asia this year, we will be at Luckyrice festival. Can you give us some insider information on what kind of food and drinks we should or shouldn’t mix, what we should absolutely try, and how to digest it all?
DW: Thai food is in, so here are some tips on matching Thai food with Wines, it’s from the article I recently done for South China Morning Post:
Thai food is known for its balance of three to four different sense of taste in each single dish and also for the whole meal. The order of preference usually follows in this order, sour, sweet, spicy and then salty. Thai dishes usually have a strong taste with powerful flavours from lots of herbs, spices and other ingredients which include lemongrass, chilli, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime, basil, mint, coriander and the pungent Nam Pla (fish sauce). Not one single wine will work with every Thai dish due to the many contrasting flavours, textures and fragrance.
A lot of acidity in food will make the wine taste fruitier and sweeter but less acidic. Sweetness in food will make the wine taste bitter and less sweet unless it is sweeter than the food. Salt makes wine tastes fruiter and richer while umami, often referred to as savouriness will make wine tastes more bitter, drying and less fruity. Chilli heat can make wines appear less sweet and red wines bitter and drying. Other factors include flavour intensity, with the food match the weight and intensity of the wine and the method of cooking of the main ingredient but also the sauce and condiments, must be taken into consideration.
Champagne or other sparkling wines, with its bubbles can cleanse and refresh the palate as the acidity can often softens the powerful taste of the spices. Some sugar residue in wines will work with many spicy Thai dishes, acting as a foil to chilli.
LF: Besides Asian food, what’s one NY-specific food you are excited to have on this upcoming trip?
DW: Peter Lugar Steaks, already booked!
This is the third installment of the festival in the City, and soon Luckyrice will be taking over the West Coast (Los Angeles and Las Vegas). Stay tuned!