The most delicious parts of Asian food and culture were on display at Times Square for Taste Asia, presented by New York-based Chinese television broadcaster NTD and Epoch Times. What started as an international Chinese culinary contest in a restaurant has evolved into a two-day event featuring cooking demonstrations, performances, and vendors serving foods that highlight the diversity of Asian cuisine.
Of course, there was a taste of Japan at Taste Asia, with the quintessential Japanese cultural activity, the tea ceremony. The stage was transformed into a chashitsu (tea room) complete with tatami mats, a scroll, and a flower arrangement as Professor Masako Sohga Koike performed the centuries-old aesthetic ritual for an attentive crowd. Three guests were lucky enough to join her onstage for sweets and matcha.
Chef Hirohisa Hayashi of Restaurant Hirohisa and Chef Kazutaka Iimori of Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya participated in a Japanese cooking demonstration, which was hosted by the “Rebel Chef” Terry French and Food Network Star Phillip “Ippy” Aiona. The two chefs prepared Japanese-style kaiseki dishes in Taste Asia’s impressive mobile kitchens in the shape of Chinese pavilions.
Among the vendors offering samples of Asian foods ranging from Chinese, Korea, Thai, Malaysian, was Japanese chocolate specialists Royce’. A huge line of people gathered at the Royce’ booth to enjoy almonds covered in green tea and white chocolate with a hint of cherry.
The two-day festival continues today with the 6th International Chinese Culinary Competition in Times Square.