At the Asian Feastival in Queens
By NICK FOX
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.
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.”