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Lucky Rice Festival: Celebrating Asian Cuisine

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Photo: Jason Chau

Last week, Cooking Channel staff was fortunate enough to attend the second-annual LUCKYRICE Festival, an exciting, week-long tribute to the incredible diversity of Asian culinary culture.

The NYC-based festival featured truly unique events hosted by talented chefs who specialize in Asian cuisine, including Iron Chef Morimoto,  chef Ming Tsai, and Cooking Channel’s own Ching-He Huang (see the full list or participants here).

Here are some highlights from the event:

The LUCKYRICE Night Market promised to happen rain or shine, and while the skies were clear in Brooklyn on May 4, the air was chilly at the outdoor event that featured street food from 50-ish New York City Asian restaurants.

It was easy to forget about the cold, however, while feasting on steamy noodles, crisp spring rolls, fish balls on a stick and pork belly in all forms: buns, sliders, dumplings and even tacos. Restaurants including the likes of Ember Room, Fatty Crab, Macao Trading Co., Social Eatz and Ma Peche brought savory and sweet dishes  to delight the hordes who managed to land a ticket.

Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Shrimp & Vegetable Spring Rolls from NYC's Spring Kitchen.

Those who needed a break from all the sampling headed into the drinks area, a heated space offering sake samples, Bombay Sapphire cocktails and Singha beer. One word of advice: if you go to the Night Market next year, make sure to get there early — unless, of course, you’re charmed by the crowds typical of a quintessential Asian night market.

Shaved Ice

Shaved Ice, Red Beans, Fruity Pops, and Sweetened Condensed Milk from NYC's The Shaved Ice Shop.

At the LUCKYRICE Festival’s Grand Feast, held in the ultra-swanky Mandarin Oriental Hotel Ballroom last Friday, guests were greeted with Champagne, but the bubbly and the spectacular views of Central Park were overshadowed by the exciting and eclectic mix of tasty Asian bites showcased around the room. Juggling Champagne flutes and chopsticks, hungry ticket-holders moved from Morimoto’s sample of Spicy King Crab (yes, the Iron Chef himself was manning the booth) to David Chang’s peek into Ma Peche, a delightful bite of Fluke Tartare that exploded with flavor notes of citrus from blood orange, creamy avocado and black rice.

Edamame Dumplings

Edamame Dumplings with Shallot-Sauterne Broth from NYC's Buddakan.

One of the most memorable mouthfuls, though, came from En Japanese Brasserie. Their Braised Washugyu Beef Cheek in Red Miso was so tender and succulent it melted in your mouth, permeating the senses with sweet, aromatic miso flavor.

Wagyu Beef

Braised Washugyu Beef Cheek in Red Miso from En Japanese Brasserie.

From Malaysia to Korea, China and more, the exotic eats were virtually endless. But drinks came in colorful and crazy varieties too. One martini with a peculiar-looking garnish – a pickled, mini octopus – left those daring enough to try it savoring notes of seaweed and chili. As for desserts, few could resist Bar Boulud’s sweet, mango-topped rice pudding, the perfect ending to an amazing Asian feast.

Octopus Martini

Mini Octopus Martini served up by the Bombay Sapphire mixologist squad.

On Sunday, Cooking Channel’s own Ching-He Huang hosted the Talk + Taste event for the LUCKYRICE Festival in Manhattan. The event featured cooking demos from four all-star chefs as well as samples of Asian food and drink to munch on while mingling. Chef Angelo Sosa demonstrated Malaysian cooking, Chef Jennifer Maeng delved into Korean food, and Chef Ming Tsai explored the fusion of East/West cooking.

Ching

Ching showing eager onlookers the ins and outs of Asian cooking during her Talk and Taste.

Ching kicked things off with her demonstration of Chinese cuisine, including recipes for vegetarian crispy beancurd rolls and steamed chicken with Chinese mushrooms, goji berries and dried lily bulbs. All the samples were also available for tasting after the demonstrations.

Bean Curd Roll

Ching's Vegetarian Crispy Beancurd Rolls.

A special congratulations to Jason Chau for winning the ticket give-away contest, and thanks to all that entered!

Craving Asian fare at home? Check out Ching’s Top Recipes and explore our Chinese Cooking package.

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