Asian Culinary Events April & May 2008

East West Eats

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and the Asian American Journalists Association San Francisco Chapter is holding it's annual fundraiser, East West Eats, An Evening with the Bay Area's best Asia American chefs. Participating restaurants include Betelnut, Straits Restaurants, Butterfly, Junnoon, Namu, Poleng Lounge, Ponzu, Red Lantern, Three Seasons, Maharani and Hilton San Francisco.

The event is a great opportunity to enjoy dishes as well as wines, from some of the most exciting Bay Area Asian restaurants in a fabulous setting, the San Francisco Ferry Building. The event raises funds for student scholarships for rising young journalists.

What: East West Eats

Cost: Tickets are $100 until April 25th
When: Thursday May 8th, 2008, 7 pm
Where: San Francisco Ferry Building, upstairs
How: Purchase tickets online or send a check, along with contact information to:
ATTN: Johnny Liu
AAJA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
2062 Arapaho Place
Fremont, CA 94539
Why: I look forward to this event, not only because it supports a good cause, but because it's not a mad crush like some fundraisers can be. It's well-organized and the food is really outstanding. This year I'm particularly excited to try the cuisine from Namu and Red Lantern. Last year, the dishes from recently opened contemporary Indian restaurant Junnoon were a big hit.

I'm also a big fan Tim Luym, a Chronicle Rising Star chef. Meals at Poleng Lounge are filled with tantalizing flavors and textures from across Asia including the Philippines, Vietnam, China and India. The small plate menu allows you to try and share more dishes like this one, Beer Braised Oxtail Dumplings.


Beer Braised Oxtail Dumplings

5 pounds oxtails, cut into 2 inch pieces, fat trimmed
Kosher Salt
5 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup Shaoxing Rice Wine or dry sherry
2 cups light beer
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 ea dried tangerine peel
1 stick cinnamon, 2 inches
2 star anise
2 cloves
2 carrots, peeled
5 lemongrass stalks, bruised
3 scallions cut into 3 inch sections
2 thumbs ginger, peeled (1 thumb sliced into thin matchsticks for garnish)
8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Thai chili peppers, crushed
1 head napa cabbage, cut in half
10 dried shitake mushrooms, stemmed

Dumpling wrappers (potsticker or wonton work well)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup green onions, chopped (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)
2 Tablespoons minced ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil

1. Salt oxtails. Brown oxtails on all sides and set aside. Deglaze pan with beer. Place all ingredients except napa cabbage back in pot and add water to slightly cover the oxtails.

2. Braise for 3 hours or until oxtails are fork tender.

3. Add napa cabbage and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

4. Remove napa cabbage and oxtails. Strain and reserve broth and reduce by half.

5. Pick meat off bone and set aside. Roughly chop the napa cabbage and mushrooms.

6. Mix all filling ingredients with meat, cabbage, and mushrooms. Make a slurry from the cornstarch and water.

7. Fill wrappers with 1 1/2 T of dumpling filling, dip your finger in the slurry and and seal edges of the wrapper.

8. In a pot of boiling water, cook dumplings for 3 minutes. Transfer dumplings into a bowl and spoon over reserved liquid. Garnish with chopped scallions and sliced ginger.

Taste of Asia

Another great Asian culinary event is Taste of Asia at the Asian Art Museum. The Grand Tasting will feature food and beverages from Anzu, Asia de Cuba, Betelnut, Bong Su, Butterfly, Dosa, E&O Trading, Poleng Lounge, Red Lantern, Roy's, Straits, The Tonga Room, Yank Sing, and Yoshi's.

Culinary seminars the next day include Culinary Adventures Through Asia with Saveur editor James Oseland, and San Francisco: The Culinary Pioneers with Cecilia Chang, Patricia Unterman and Chuck Williams and a panel discussion on how new and emerging media on the web are changing the world of restaurants.

What: Taste of Asia
Cost: Tickets are $125 for the Grand Tasting and $25 for the Culinary Seminars
When: Grand Tasting Friday April 25th, 7pm Culinary Seminars Saturday April 26th 11am
Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St, San Francisco
How: Purchase tickets online
For more information, call 415-581-3788
Why: This is the second year of this popular event and is a great excuse to head to hte museum. Throughout the gala, guests will have full access to the museum’s collection and world-class exhibitions. The experience will also be enhanced by performances including live music and dancing.