A casual yet refined evening of sushi, noodles and sake at Cornucopia's first Asian Market
Asian food plays a huge part in the diets of Vancouverites, especially with our ethnic population and our apparent love for sushi. We're lucky to have some incredible chefs preparing dishes in our city comparable to something you might find in Shanghai, Toshima, Mumbai or Bangkok.
The Cornucopia crew decided that they would represent our love for Pan-Asian cuisine and libations through their first annual Asian Market. At only $35 a ticket the event sold out quick and proved to be a much anticipated event. Guests were keen on three hours of sampling Asian food, sake, wine, spirits and beer and soaking in the decorations and environment that came with it. The event was a great closure to the festival and will most likely be a "must-attend" event next year for many.
I sampled most of the dishes that were prepared for the event and found it difficult to choose a favorite as they were all so unique and well-prepared.
Below is a run-down of some of the dishes that were served.
Alana Peckham, who recently joined the team at Hart House Restaurant, ran out of her first dish within an hour. She had prepared 600 portions of the daikon, scallion and potato pancake with Chinese sausage but as they quickly disappeared and in an effort to keep going, she whipped up an omelet with Chinese sausage.
The jovial Tai Keattivanichvily, owner of Bob Likes Thai Food, served Miang Kham which is a traditional snack from Thailand and Laos. The name can be interpreted as meaning "eating many things in one bite" which was a fair title for the snack. It is held together by piper sarmentosum or cha plu leaves that hold coconut shavings, peanut, ginger, lime, shallot with tamarind palm sugar sauce. I loved the refreshing burst of citrus and ginger.
Isabel Chung at Fairmont Chateau Whistler prepared Char Kway Teow, which is pan fried broad rice noodles, hand peeled shrimp and chinese sausage. She even had little take out boxes if we wanted to carry them for a taste later.
Chau Veggie Express served shredded beancurd tasters with tofu, ground soybean, garlic, shallots, spices and greens. Served on a platter I felt quite refined as I took one, even if I was pouring food in my mouth with a spoon.
Sushi Village had a constant line as guests patiently waited for their Ahi Poke, Super Hiro Roll and Spicy Agedashi Tofu. After eating any or all of them it was to no surprise that many went back for seconds, including myself.
Tandoori Grill Indian Cuisine spiced it up a bit and served tandoori chicken with a mint chutney and naan. Chef Yasin grilled the Tandoori out in the cold but with the warmth of the smoking out grill and a smile still on his face. The chicken was plump and juicy, just how I like it, while the naan was pretty standard.
Chef Travis McMaster, of Caveman Grocer wowed me with his "Paleo Pad Thai" (zucchini stir fry) that was loaded with a flavourful Thai curry sauce. As he dished up servings to the hungry guests he explained his dish mentioning that he always uses coconut oil for this dish rather than other oils.
Chef Alex Gubbins traveled from Sydney, Australia, to serve up silken tofu and shiitake mushroom bites for the guests. And although being busy, she didn't neglect presentation of the dish.
There were many other culinary tables including Fiore Fine Foods with olive oil, and Shuraku Sake Bar and Bistro served salmon tartare. When they ran out of the seaweed crisps they were serving it on their resourcefulness shone as they used forks, which detracted from the desired taste but was actually quite appealing to the eye.
To go with the cuisine there was an amazing selection of sakes both warm and cold. My favorite was the lemon sake.
For more photos of the first annual Asian Market at Cornucopia check out my gallery on Flickr.