“I cook with feeling and without exact measurements,” reads the tag line for Cooking with Stellaaa, my friend Stella Dacuma Schour’s food blog. To that I would add, “and I eat with abandon.” Stella was kind enough to provide this guest post about last Friday’s Lucky Rice Grand Feast. I’d have attended but I’ve been too busy trying to hit every Southeast Lunar New Year celebration in Queens. Take it away Stella!
“Pig’s blood? Do you like that? Pig’s Blood Popsicle?” Wing asked. “Yes! In my pearls and heels. I will eat pig’s blood. I will be your fat date,” I responded.
My friend Wing invited me to the Lucky Rice Grand Feast at the Mandarin Oriental three hours before the event was slated to start. I was pretty excited about this gala because I have heard so much about it that friends who live in Toronto are itching to fly over and eat, eat, eat!
As we entered, we were serenaded with bossa nova by the Chinese chanteuse perched atop a circular stage surrounded by bartenders and chefs. Around it was another round of tables with more food and drink. No detail was spared, and having all of this magnificent set up with sweeping views of New York City from the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental it was, eating and boozing at its finest.
The food was definitely amazing. While the pig’s blood popsicle by Chef Brad Farmerie of Public was possibly the weirdest of the lot , I was excited to try Chef Foon Green of Betel’s signature betel leaves. Everything I tasted was absolutely amazing, however I would say the dishes I could not forget were Chef Morimoto’s eel and foie gras steamed buns (Morimoto), Chef Khamia Vongsakoun’s hot and sour clam soup (Kittichai), and Chef Hong Thaimee’s pomelo salad (Ngam).
The pig’s blood popsicle was chewy on the outside, and mushy on the inside. To me this is a very refreshing take on this “nasty bit” as I am used to eating it in a stew called dinuguan (Bloodied Stew, if we want to go for a literal translation) or as a street food, cut up in cubes and grilled, which we Filipinos lovingly call Betamax. It reminded me of the pig’s blood cake that I had in a Taiwanese restaurant but without the weird aftertaste. To me, it was a succulent reminder of home.
Lucky Rice Grand Feast was very well executed and I even went home with a bright red tote bag that included a Kyocera ceramic peeler and food guides. Would I go back again next year? YES!