Best Bites at Asian Feastival 2010 – NYC
Long time readers know I was a huge fan of the Singapore Chilli Crab Festival. Last week, Wendy Chan (the same woman behind the Singapore Chilli Crab Festival), along with daughter and food blogger Veronica Chan, brought to Flushing Asian Feastival, and I was invited to cover the event. As can be imagined, it was a great event with several small panels, some thought-provoking (Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi spoke about the differences of sustainable eating versus eating locally during the Sustainable Seafood Panel) and some a little more light-hearted (In the Asian American Cuisine Panel, upon asked where he gets inspiration, Akira Back of Yellowtail responded that sometimes inspiration comes from “a stupid flower.” Hilarious.). But most importantly, there were a lot of tastings from Asian restaurants all around Queens. I made sure I did a lot of “research,” and my favorites of the day were the xiaolongbao from Nan Xiang, fish cutlets from Bownie, kimchi mal-ee (김치말이) from Hahm Ji Bach (함지박), and miang kana from Ploy Thai.
Nan Xiang was in full effect last Monday; rolling, stuffing, and steaming the little bad boys right on the spot. It was quite impressive.
As can be imagined, the soup dumplings were pretty awesome. The dumpling skin wasn’t too thick, and the soup inside was light and plentiful. For you Joe’s Shanghai lovers out there, the xiaolongbao at Nan Xiang are more delicate, and the soup less greasy and thinner. I’ll have to go to Nan Xiang for a complete comparison, but from what I tasted, Nan Xiang makes delicious, well-crafted xiaolongbao.
The fish cutlets were probably the most tasty unassuming bites of the day. It was pretty obvious freshly steamed xiaolongbao were going to be good, but room-temperature brown balls of fish? Not quite so. However, looks are often deceiving. The fish cutlets were still crunchy on the outside, and the potato and fish innards — stained a brilliant yellow from the curry — was flavorful. The fish flavor wasn’t too pronounced, but potatoes and curry are always good in my book. I’m sure hot these would have been even better.
I was glad to see Hahm Ji Bach at the event. When I lived in Queens years ago, Hahm Ji Bach us