Malaysian Food Courts, Brooklyn Night Markets & Asian Cocktail Fests: The Weeklong LuckyRice Fest Arrives

The famous LUCKYRICE Momofuku night market, which arrives again under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo next week. Photo by Richard Patterson.

In a city filled with of-the-moment, rule-breaking restaurants like Fatty Crab, Kin Shop and of course, all the Momofukus, it’s hard to believe that just a few decades ago the depth of Asian culinary culture was barely on Manhattan’s fine dining map.

Sure, chowhounds would travel to Woodside for killer Thai, or head to one of the city’s four Chinatowns for roti canai or hand-pulled noodles or laksa or banh mi, but back then the fermented funk and citrus kick of Malaysia, the heat of real Thai, the breath-taking range of China and India or anything from Japan other than sushi wasn’t found on many other city menus.

That, obviously has all changed, as ingredients become more available and chefs (including TV-crew toting Tony Bourdain) travel the world and seek inspiration from the new-new, true, but also as we as a dining republic grow ever more adventurous. There’s no better proof than the second annual LUCKYRICE Asian culinary food fest here in NYC, which kicks off a weeklong celebration of all those tasty nooks and crannies of edible culture next Monday with help from some — no, make that nearly all — of the country’s best Asian chefs and mixologists.

LUCKYRICE's massive kickoff Asian cocktail party on the Bowery. Photo by Richard Patterson.

There are eight events in all (and you can get tickets to them all right here) including a five-course kick-off dinner with Anita Lo at Annisa on Monday May 2 (foie gras chawanmushi!). Then on May 3rd is one of the best Manhattan cocktail events of the year, with dozens of drinks from more than a dozen restaurants (B Flat, Daniel, Dave Arnold, Fatty ‘Cue, Frankies Spuntino, Henry Public, Lani Kai, Má Pêche, Macao Trading Co., Madam Geneva, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Pegu Club, SHO Shaun Hergatt, The Bowery Hotel, The Summit Bar, Theatre Bar, WD-50) on a stellar patio space overlooking the Bowery. On May 5th is a dinner focusing on the flavors of Macau, the Portuguese-inflected region of China, at the Beard House. And May 6th is a “Grand Feast” at the Mandarin Oriental, which is exactly what it sounds like, and on the afternoon of May 8th at the Astor Center will be a series of talks with tastings, including one where Angelo Sosa of Social Eatz will talk about his travels to Malaysia and let you taste them, most specifically a dish made with the dried fermented ground shrimp paste called belacan, which is critical to the cuisine. (As readers of Edible Brooklyn‘s recent article on Fatty ‘Cue already know.)

The Night Market, before nightfall, that is. Photo by Richard Patterson.

On Wednesday May 4th, of course, is the famous (after only one year) night market under the Manhattan Bridge arch in DUMBO hosted by Momofuku, which is sadly sold out. Still, we encourage you to still go, and not just to try sneak in. There’s also a Malaysian Pavilion focussing on the country’s famous street hawker foods from 6 to 10 p.m. that night that’ll still be open to the public to buy samples, and the food there is also worth a trip. Again, just read our recent article on Fatty ‘Cue, where chef and co-owner Zak Pelaccio waxes poetic on the powers of Malaysian food to thrill the palate. If his life’s work at the stoves doesn’t convince you of the country’s culinary power, we’ve also got the list of vendors and what they’ll be making below.

RestaurantDish
Satay Malaysian Cuisine 

Chicken Satay

Mee Goreng
Durian Puff
Bentara 

Popiah (Spring Rolls)

Mee Soup Istimewa
Coco Malaysian Cuisine 

Beef Rendang

Satay Bean Curd
Momo Chacha
Fatty Crab 

Assam Laksa

Green Curry Fish Balls
Forbidden City Bistro 

Nyonya Kuih

Beef Kari Puff
W. New Malaysia 

Malaysian Fish Ball

Nasi Goreng
Lychee Shaved Ice Drink
 

LAUT

 

Dry Curry Mee with choice of Chicken or Fish Balls

 

Nyonya

 

Nasi Lemak

 

OldTown Asia Market

 

Teh Terik

 

Susheela Raghavan’s Flavors of Malaysia

 

Spicy Peanut Sauce

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.