The Bay Area has long been known as a hub for Asian cuisine in the U.S. With that idea in mind, organizers of the highly successful Lucky Rice Festival have decided to descend on San Francisco for the first time this September.
“When we first looked to expand the festival to locations outside of New York, the Bay Area was an obvious first choice, with such a highly concentrated Asian population,” said Danielle Chang, founder of the Lucky Rice Festival. “But being from the Bay Area myself, I knew if we brought it to the region, it had to be something special, something that was unique and something that really added to the dialogue and brought a greater focus to the importance of Asian cuisine in many cultures.”
Citing the sophisticated and knowledgeable food-driven audience she knew she would be dealing with in the Bay Area, Chang has crafted together a mix of other events around the country, all culminating in the Lucky Rice Feast, which will be held at the Ferry Building on September 6. The idea is to bring together a couple dozen local chefs, some of the best bars and mix and meld a unique night celebrating all different varieties of Asian cuisine. “This is hopefully a chance for guests to get a much better understanding of the role food plays in Asian cultures. The festival is all part of the learning process; getting to know foods that you might not be familiar with, talking to chefs about their background and how that has influenced their cooking style,” Chang said. “We have always aimed for the festival to be more of a party atmosphere. We don’t want the stuffiness of some other food festivals, where it seems like everyone is trying to stuff as much food in their faces in the shortest time possible. We want guests to enjoy an unforgettable evening of food and drinks.”
Although the final list of participants is still being worked out, among the chefs and restaurants already signed up to participate are MY China, the yet-to-open Roka Akor, Spice Kit, E&O Asian Kitchen, Hakkasan, Chef Arnold Eric Wong of E&O and Chef Kyle Itani at Hopscotch in Oakland. Eight bars will also be making cocktails that evening, pairing them with the food being presented. “We’re hoping to bring in Danny (Bowien) since he played such a key role in the success of Mission Chinese Food. He helped launch our event this year in New York. We feel like this could be sort of a hero’s welcome for him,” said Chang. “The truly amazing thing about Asian cuisine is that it not just limited to Asian food. Just look at our culinary council – although you’ll see names like Masaharu Morimoto and David Chang, there are also chefs like Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert. Neither of those great chefs focus on Asian cuisine per se, but they use techniques and ingredients from all over the world. Asian cuisine is not just limited to that, it’s become more and more influential in all styles of cooking.”
Chang said she’s excited for the first year of the event in San Francisco and hopes to expand it in years to come. Tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale for the Lucky Rice Festival on Wednesday, June 19, with tickets open to the general public starting on July 3. More information in the weeks to come. The Lucky Rice Festival will be held at the Ferry Building on Friday, September 6 from 7:00-10:00pm. Tickets are $85 for general admission, $125 for VIP.
Photo Credit: Richard Patterson Photography