Queens Examiner

Wendy Chan is no stranger to the world of food trade shows. Her New York-based marketing and consulting firm, Definity Marketing, specializes in business development, strategic planning and event production, but she noticed that something was lacking in many of the trade shows. Chan, an Asian food veteran and co-author of New Asian Cuisine, said it can be difficult for buyers who have not traveled to Asia to know what is good.

She was inspired to produce Asian Feastival, a celebration of the many diverse Asian cuisines in Queens. On Labor Day Monday, feastival-goers enjoyed their day off from work by

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indulging in regional food and drink, listening in on moderated panel discussions, watching cooking demonstrations and sampling fresh Asian produce from an onsite outdoor farmer’s market.

“I’m into giving people a ‘wow’ factor. My goal is to bring all these experts in the Asian food industry to come together so we can provide an impetus for people to explore,” said Chan. “After this they can be inspired to come back and shop and even cook Asian themselves.”

Even seasoned chefs like Adi Yanuar, who works at a Manhattan sushi restaurant, learned a thing or two at Asian Feastival. Yanuar, who hails from Indonesia, is familiar with many types of Asian cuisine, but he still delighted in tasting different styles of cooking.

“I got some new inspiration for the future,” he said. He pointed out the workshops and demonstrations were also helpful tools. “This is a good experience. I like to teach; maybe it will help me know how to explain better to people.”

Another young Asian man was impressed by the variety of different Asian cuisines available across the borough. Wesley Chen, a Los Angeles native who is attending school in New York, admitted he rarely makes the trek from Brooklyn to Queens even though he knows it’s “where all the real Asian people live.”

Citing Korean restaurant Hahm Ji Bach’s pumpkin slush as one of the most unique things he tried at the event, Chen said, “This is somewhat of an encouragement for me to come out to Queens and eat more locally.”

Chan’s vision to highlight the best of the borough was truly manifested through the diversity of Asian Feastival’s participants and feastival-goers.

“For people who haven’t tasted yak, this is their chance to try it, or to taste Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Burmese food,” said Chan, referring to those cuisines as minorities from the perspective of most people. “We can all learn from and respect other cultures. This is why we are all in America.”

Kristen Saberito, a New York University graduate student enrolled in the college’s Food Studies and Culture program, noted the Asian market is very informative for people like herself who are not of Asian descent. She was fascinated by the demonstrations, but it was the tea salad with its unique blend of peanuts, chilies and tea leaves that captured her attention and taste buds.

She pointed out the admission ticket paid for itself because it allowed her to savor dozens of unique flavors at a minimal cost.

“This is a foodie’s heaven without buying a plane ticket to Hong Kong,” said Saberito, who will be visiting the city in January with her class. “This is probably just a glimpse into the Asian food world but it’s a great introduction. I’ll be excited to recognize some things when I’m over there.”

Read more: Queens Examiner – Foodies delight their taste buds at Feastival


Asian Feastival, Sep.6, 2010

I met a lot of interesting people, tasted plenty of diverse, exotic food, and learned a lot about Asian vegetables. My mission for the event was to demonstrate 2 kinds of Korean kimchi making: perilla leaf kimchi and spicy stuffed cucumber kimchi.

One of my readers came up to me: “Maangchi! I’m your reader! Do you need any help?” His name was Samson Woo and he was a Asian Feastival volunteer.
“Sure, I may need your help!”
I asked Sam: “How long have you been my reader?”
He said: “For years! Long time.”
I asked: “Have you ever left any comment on my blog?”

“No, I’m a silent reader, but I’ve made some Korean food with your recipes.”

I was lucky to meet Sam there because I really needed his help. He helped me set up the table, took some photos for me, and even cleaned some bowls and my cutting board after I finished the demo. Thank you, Sam!

Sam and Me

a blogger and my reader, Lori Lee

yummy perilla leaf kimchi with multi-grain rice

ooh hoo hoo! It’s fun to wrap rice in this spicy leaf!

yummy! Now I know what Korean kkaennip kimchi is!

oisobagi (spicy stuffed cucumber kimchi)! “What is oi?”
“oi is cucumber and also my Thai friend’s name! ” lol

yes, yes! I love kkaennip kimchi (perilla leaf kimchi), me, too~~

“Did u taste it?” “Yep! my stomach is on fire now!” : )
very good!!

Before and after my cooking demo, I was at the

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vegetables and fruits table on the Hotel terrace with 2 other panelists: Kian Lam Kho and Cathy Erway. We explained the name of the fruits and vegetables to those who asked and if they wanted to taste some, we helped them with it. There were all kinds of fruits like Korean melon, jack fruit, durian, and dragon fruit. There were a lot of familiar items there, but some Chinese vegetables I had never tasted. Of course I asked Cathy and Kian so

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many questions.

“What is this?” Cathy says, “yes, it is…”

Durian: the most popular fruit that people wanted to taste

Qingdao cold noodles (my number one favorite among all the dishes!)

Korean rice cake and rice cake balls (gyeongdan)

“kyaaa! Taiwanese beer tasted good!” : )

I was happy to meet my readers there. “Maangchi, can I take a photo with you? I’m your reader!”
Yay! awesome! I was going to take a photo with Cheryl Tan who was one of the New York kimchi contest judges, but I missed her.

It was great and fun day, but I was really tired when I got home. After dinner, I fell asleep until 8:00 am today! : )

I met Akira Back executive chef at Yellowtail Restaurant & Bar at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he gave me his book. He’s a very down-to-earth person! Once we started talking, he said, “hangukmalo haeyo?” “Let’s talk in Korean” Cool guy! : )

Jenny and me. Jenny is a culinary arts student and she also has a blog. She made rice cake soupwith my recipe and posted it on her blog.

Ravi Jolly, one of my long time readers. I actually met him last year at a festival in Brooklyn by chance which means I meet him often? : ) He loves healthy and delicious food. Ravi! I was delighted to meet you there!

James, Julie, and me! It was great meeting u guys! : )

aww! cute smile! Wonderful photo! don’t u think so?

My cute readers! : )

Lori and me

Sing Tao Daily

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The City Sweet Tooth

I got to attend the Asian Feastival in Flushing this past Monday and it was fantastic! A great mix of samples from diverse Asian restaurants, as well as lectures, demonstrations, and an Asian green market too! (pictured above – Dduk sweet rice cakes).

One of the new things I got to try was Burmese noodle salad, which was part of the Burmese cooking demo. It had fish oil, shrimp flakes, tamarind, onions, and was really yummy!

More Dduk! I think these were from the Korean restaurant KumGangSan.

I got to try my first ever Durian and it was way better than I expected. It’s always hyped to be this really scary stinky fruit, but I don’t think it was too bad (of course it was cut outside, which may have made it less smelly). I actually really liked the custardy texture.

The best drink was Golden Star Tea, which was very Champagne-like.

Banana Langka Toron with Caramel Sauce from the Filipino restaurant Payag.

Payag also had Halayang Ube Cake. Ube is a purple yam jam.

Gorgeous carved watermelon by George Wong!

Mooncakes from Deluge Asian Fusion!

Shanghai Soup Dumplings from Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao in Flushing. Considered by many to be the best in NYC!


Kazuko Nagao of Artisanal Japan and PecoPeco did a fun Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki demo!

Lovely sugar cubes from Chambre de Sucre!

Natural Vegan Way had these cute cupcakes in Green Tea, Wasabi, and Pandan flavors!

We also stopped in at the Flushing Mall food court while we were in the area and got some dumplings! Dumpling makers in action!

Finished product! Yum!

Shaved ice in the Flushing Mall! We will definitely be back to check more of Flushing out, there is so much to see and eat there!

New York Times Diner’s Journal

At the Asian

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Feastival in Queens

Photo: Nick Fox
Nan Shian Dumpling House prepared their specialty at the Asian Feastival on Monday.

As with so much in life, you get what you pay for in food festivals. Or feastivals.

Want a free ride to Governors Island for your pick of cheap food from vendors at BklynYard’s Parked on Sunday? Wait an hour and a half for the ferry and who knows how long for the food. (Anyone? How was it?)

On the other hand, if you paid $50 in advance ($60 at the entrance) at theAsian Feastival in Flushing, Queens, on Monday afternoon, you had your pick of food from 20 of the borough’s restaurants, serving about a dozen cuisines.

Granted, that’s not a cheap lunch. But the price wasn’t unreasonable given the variety and quality of the food, and it also included panel discussions and demonstrations on Asian cooking as well as a tour of the neighborhood with the food writer Joe DiStefano.

Some of the borough’s traditional big draws weren’t there at the Sheraton LaGuardia East hotel, but Wendy Chan, the marketing consultant who organized it, said one of the goals was to “give a boost to up and coming and deserving restaurants in Queens.’’

So there was no Sripraphai, but Ploy Thai, (81-40 Broadway in Elmhurst, 718-205-2128) served a rarely seen snack called miang kam — pork, coconut, peanuts, ginger and lime wrapped in a betel leaf.

Payag, (51-34 Roosevlet Avenue in Woodside, 347-935-3192) is probably a bit too new for even some Filipinos to have heard about its “redefined Filipino cuisine,’’ but the crowd on Monday — about 600 people showed up, Ms. Chan said — seemed to love its humba tartlets with shredded pork; kinilaw canapes with a coconut ceviche of tuna on cucumber slices, and chunks of lechon — roast pig.

The only thing that passed for a line — a dozen people at most — was at the booth where the folks from Nan Shian Dumpling House (38-12 Prince Street in Flushing, 718-321-3838) assembled their specialty.

There were also numerous Chinese and Japanese desserts, tastings of Laotian beer, sake, wine, Golden Star tea and Bruce Cost’s ginger ale.

At the small Asian farmer’s market table you could try durian — yes, it tastes better than it smells — and at the Himalayan Yak stall, you could try yak dumplings. Who knew there was a yak farm in Vermont?

But as Ms. Chan said in explaining her hopes that the festival would draw more people to Queens to try the different cuisines, “It’s hard to know what’s what if you don’t have a guide.”

Ed Schoenfeld shares his ideas on Asian Fusion

Ed Schoenfeld is a restaurateur with an expertise on Asian food. He shares some insights and gives us a preview of his new, upcoming project, Red Farm. Meet Ed tomorrow at Asian Fusion Confusion tomorrow at 1:45.

What does it mean for you to be a part of the Asian Feastival?
It’s a good form for me to talk about an area that I’m very knowledgeable about and share that with people in the community who have a mutual set of interests and concern. It’s a field that I’ve worked in for many years at this point, it’s kind of in my heart and it’s something that I love. I just find that simple. Just sharing knowledge and interacting with people who have similar tastes that they’re very knowledgeable and excited about.

You will be discussing Asian fusion at the festival. What is your definition of Asian fusion and why do you think there is such confusion regarding the term?
In some parts of Asia, fusion food has been the norm. In Hong Kong for years there has been a whole variety of cultures there. The Chinese diaspora has created all kinds of mixes of Chinese food. In Malaysia there is Malay Chinese food. In Brooklyn, you can find West Indian Chinese food, not to mention in the West Indies. You can’t say one is good or one is bad because it’s a mix of flavors, a mix of techniques. I don’t know how interesting the topic of fusion food is. I’m more interested in talking about how good someone’s cooking is. In reality, anyone who cooks on a regular basis has probably been influenced by a variety of experiences. Just because we say someone has been influenced by Indian food and Malaysian food and Cantonese food and we call that fusion – is that so different than someone who has been influenced by Spanish food and French food and Italian food? There’s a lot of crossover in this world, so I think the term fusion is useful only to a very limited extent. It describes a mixture of cuisines. After that, what’s being mixed? How well do they cook? Someone is a pretty terrific cook whether he’s cooking straight up Cantonese food or something else. I care about the technique they use to cook. How good is the texture? How good is the flavor? How can they make money selling it? Can it create excitement? All that factors into it when you look at it from a business point of view. Fusion is a word that describes a mixing of styles, but it can have so many meanings. It can be good or bad, and at a certain point it becomes a little on the silly side. We talk about NYC being a melting pot – do we have fusion food here? I have a more existential viewpoint. It is what it is.

As a well known NYC restaurateur, what is the main thing that you are looking for when you are creating and imagining new restaurants?
Success. Restaurants are businesses. They are complex living and breathing entities because of the people who have to work together. There’s a different group of people involved in putting together and creating a new restaurant and there’s a separate group of people involved in operating a restaurant. When I put projects together, I look to create a lot of synergy between the concept and the look and the cooking and the hospitality and the marketing. It’s when restaurants are thought through, coordinated on those levels and hit the market the right way that they are most successful. So when I work on a project, I work for different types of clients and different situations. Typically each client has a set of strings that they bring to the table. It varies greatly from one client to the next. Some are very experienced restaurateurs, but maybe don’t know very much about Asian food. I may have Asian clients who are the reverse of that

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– who know a great deal about the cuisine they’re selling and the business they’re in, but not so much about how to market it or how to create a restaurant that is effective in terms of creating sales and building regular business and repeat customers. It’s understanding what the client brings to the table and understanding what their needs are, kind of creatively approaching each individual situation and making an assessment of what the goal of the client is, what constitutes success in the particular situation, understanding what strengths the client has in place already, and what needs the client has that I can analyze and understand, and supply.

You’re known to have a vast knowledge of Chinese food. What do you enjoy most about Chinese food? Do you have a favorite Chinese dish? Is there any Chinese food that you do not like?
There are definitely foods that I don’t like. I’m about to go to Taiwan tomorrow, and one of the main street foods there, Stinky Doufu, I really don’t like that. It smells putrid to me. The smell is enough to get me walking two blocks away. The first time I encountered it, it made me ill to smell it. Not unlike maybe someone with a durian or something, it was really a bad taste. Not even a bad taste, the smell was overwhelming for me. I know how you could eat it, I haven’t eaten it in a long time. The smell is overwhelming. Fermented doufu is not something I really like.

As far as a favorite, it would be hard to say. I like many, many things. As years have gone by in the business and I’m exposed to more and more food, my taste tends to be simpler. There’s not one dish that I crave all the time – it’s more that I crave for terrific cooking. Of course, being interested in Chinese food, I’m interested in textures. I do like a variety of textures in my food. I appreciate a lot of the subtle textures or not so subtle – very pronounced textures that you encounter in Chinese cooking.

Out of the Chinese regional dishes, which one is your favorite?
I don’t have one. As I get older, I can’t eat spicy food as much, so I wouldn’t be as excited eating a Sichuan dinner. My mouth doesn’t handle it so well. To me, it’s really a question of who cooks well. These days, I’ve been working with dim sum chef Joe Ng. I set up a kitchen a few years ago called Chinatown Brasserie which is a pretty Caucasian restaurant in terms of clientele, but Joe’s dim sum work is superb.

What sorts of innovations do you think are happening in the Asian food scene?
In the Chinese food scene, things have changed in mainland China so much. Once we have the change in the daily life of the people there and the cultural revolution winding down – that period of history had a large effect on Chinese cooking. Not a great effect, I don’t think. The best chefs couldn’t practice for decades, if they remained in China. Recently, China has risen so dramatically and has grown richer, there’s a corresponding growth in the culinary scene. The amount of worldliness that Chinese chefs have experienced. Suddenly we have a generation of chefs that are cooking for Chinese customers that are excited about the food and proud of their cultural heritage. At the same time have possibly had a chance to travel or experience other cuisines from different parts of the world that they might not have done a generation earlier. There’s more variety of products being used and just less of a provincial view. As long ago as six or seven years ago when I was in Beijing, I saw chefs cooking with saffron and goose liver – kinds of foods they might not have normally integrated into their cooking, but that’s all happening now. The world is smaller. If you’re a chef in NYC, chances are you have to cook some Cantonese food and some Americanized and some authentic Sichuan food. It’s changed and different. There’s more crossover. You go into a Chinese restaurant and there are dishes that resemble Vietnamese Pho or you go into a Vietnamese restaurant and they have dishes that have a very heavy Chinese influence. The world is just a small place in that sense. I think in China it’s very exciting because there’s more wealth, and more investment in the restaurant business. There’s more disposable income, so there’s more money for people in the industry. Competition begets creativity. When there’s competition, suddenly there’s better product, better design. It’s an interesting cuisine.

Tell us more about your new project, “Red Farm”.
I’m opening up a new business in partnership with chef Joe Ng. Joe is going to continue to oversee the kitchen there. He and I are working full time on a business called Red Farm. In the immediate future, we’re opening up two locations. Our primary location that we operate is a small restaurant on Hudson street, a contemporary Asian restaurant rooted in Cantonese and Chinese cooking. It’s not striving to be authentic, nor is it shying away from fusion. We may have a mixture of cultures there. We’re just interested in serving very delicious, very sensible, seasonable, sustainable Asian food made with better quality ingredients – especially made with Joe’s superior technique. The idea is just to make delicious and flavorful food. Red Farm is going to be a small restaurant that Joe is going to cook in full time. It’s going to feature some of Joe’s strengths which clearly would be dim sum and dumpling production. I think you’re going to find some really fun stuff there. It’s going to be open in the middle of November.

Interviewed by Jin Li of MSG Food Blog.

Akiko Katayama: From Finance to Food

Meet Akiko Katayama, food journalist and Iron Chef judge formerly from the world of finance. She’ll be speaking on the panel discussion “Rice: The Long and Short of It” with Jay Weinstein at 1:45PM.

What does it mean for you to be a part of the Asian Feastival?
Asian cuisine tends to be captured as one big category in many parts of the US. The festival can bring us to the real face of Asian cuisine: tremendous flavor diversity between (and within) each region, profound tradition, intriguing cooking methods. With my Japanese background, it is fun to be a part of the festival as an insider, as well as an outsider to learn about different Asian cuisine other than Japanese. The festival offers a great and rare opportunity to taste a number of real authentic dishes from Asian countries in one place, and I hope this will be the first of many events to celebrate Asian cuisine.

What inspires you? Who inspired you to become a journalist? How did you get involved in world of Japanese cuisine?
Since I was very young, I have always enjoyed writing. My interest in food started when I backpacked all over Europe and got to taste quite a few exotic dishes. I worked in finance and consulting before, but I was not really excited about my work. So one day I started writing about food and sent it to a publisher. That was the beginning of my career as a food journalist. I grew up eating Japanese food in Japan, so naturally Japanese cuisine is in my DNA as well as my taste memories.

You have been a judge on Iron Chef multiple times. What’s your favorite part of judging on that show?
As a food writer, I constantly interview chefs in NYC and taste their dishes, but it is hard to meet chefs outside the city. The show allows me to taste some of the best dishes from all over the US. Also, I really enjoy feeling the passion of chefs. Their eyes are sparkling with anxiety, pride and love for their job. You don’t get to see that in a normal restaurant setting.

Can you fill us in a bit regarding your job as food advisor to the Japanese government?
Through the Japanese government organizations, I support small artisanal food producers in Japan by providing them with advice on how to bring their products to the US market. This job is really fun. I get to visit local areas in Japan and speak at seminars for traditional food producers such as miso, sake, tea, etc. Many of them have family business for generations, and they need help to survive. I

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learn so much about their great products, and feel strongly that we (as consumers) have to preserve their precious tradition, and pass it onto the next generation.

What’s your favorite Japanese food? Is there any food

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that you don’t like?
It is tough to pick one since I enjoy eating everything. I would say sushi is my favorite for the oceanic flavor of seasonal fish. I also love the unique woody scent of an authentic sushi restaurant. To me that is an important part of my sushi tasting experience.

Interviewed by Jin Li of MSG Food Blog.

Let’s Eat In | Heritage Radio Network

Let’s Eat In with Cathy Erway

This week on Let’s Eat In Cathy hosts ethnic food fanatics Wendy Chan and Joe DiStefano to discuss the goings-on in NYC’s most

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ethnically delicious borough, Queens. The Asian Feastival is coming up, and the gang discuss why there is no better place to have it than Flushing Queens. The Feastival is a one day culinary explosion–a series of events and tastings and discussions all taking place on September 6th starting at noon. Give a listen and find out what these ethnic foodies would make for their special someone on a date. This episode was sponsored by Fairway: like no other market.

Time Out New York

This week’s food events

Stuff your face and be social.

Photograph: Robyn Lee

More than 20 Queens restaurants will be represented at this Asian food festival. In between bites from venues like Himalayan Yak, you can check out panel discussions—don’t miss blogger Cathy Erway (Not Eating Out in New York) who will offer tips on navigating Asian markets. Sheraton LaGuardia East, 135-20 39th Ave between Main and Prince Sts, Flushing, Queens (asianfeastival.com). Noon–4pm; advance $55, at the door $60.

Asian American Press

Asian “Feastival” in Queens

The first Asian “Feastival” will be held September 6, 2010, from noon to 5:00

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p.m. at the Sheraton LaGuardia East, 135-20 – 39th Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354. The event is designed to showcase the best of authentic Asian cuisines in the borough of Queens. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Food Bank For New York City and City Harvest.

The all-inclusive ticket to Asian Feastival includes tastings from over 20 authentic Asian restaurants in Queens covering the following cuisines: Burmese, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Tibetan. There will also be beer, sake and wine tastings and Asian beverages.

There will be panel discussions with over 30 top chefs and culinary experts, along with Cookbook Corner signings with chef-authors.

Activities away from the Feastival include the “Tour du Jour”, a chef-guided bike tour of two local farms in Queens in the morning before the main event and a culinary walking tour of Flushing.

There will be an Asian Farmer’s Market on site, featuring Asian fruits and vegetables, and cooking demonstrations throughout the day. There will also be discussions on Asian spices, the wok, understanding sustainable seafood, short and long rice: and “Asian fusion confusion”, deconstructing Southeast Asian flavors, and

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the next generation of Asian American cuisine.



Asian Feastival continues to strive at promoting the diverse foods and cuisines from Asia through experience and education. Currently, plans are under way for a more involved campaign and events in 2012.

Our decision is to focus our efforts on producing something that presents greatest value, meaning and impact, collaborating with strategic partners.

If you're interested in sharing your ideas, please contact us.

Please stay tuned, and deeply appreciate your continued interest and support of Asian Feastival.