Blog: LUCKYRICE - 16 Hours to Hong Kong
A chic modern event space and some of New York City’s most renowned Asian chefs, coupled with an unmistakable energy indicative of the Hong Kong culture and lifestyle all collaborated in one place on Wednesday night in the basement level of west side destination Skylight Modern. The sprawling ballroom was completely transformed into an authentic LUCKYRICE party weeks in advance of the annual Manhattan festival, with a preponderance of distinctive food and drinks for en evening dubbed “16 Hours to Hong Kong.” The evening would celebrate and commemorate Cathay Pacific Airways’ five daily flights direct from our area to Hong Kong, which shockingly, takes just 16 hours. And hundreds of happy revelers came out in droves to enjoy three full hours of festivities.
Each guest was welcomed inside of the posh venue by roughly a dozen ladies dressed in red uniforms, dolled up as Cathay Pacific Airways’ flight attendants. Once directed toward the main ballroom, the sea of people inside was overwhelming as hand crafted mixed drinks, fresh dim sum and sweet desserts were being doled out around the room. Though the evening would be capped off by a raffle that would award two guests with a free all expenses paid trip to Hong Kong, for most of us, the sensory experience of being a part of this night was more than entirely sufficient.
The participating restaurants each focused on a different course and as such we followed suit and jumped on the quickly moving line toward Redfarm. Serving up dim sum portions, the West Village haunt proved their mastery with the likes of their delicate “‘Pac Man’ Shrimp Dumplings” and doughy “Seared Beef Buns.” Their remarkably tender “Filet Mignon Tarts” meanwhile were falling outside of the rim of the overstuffed crispy crust, doused liberally in sesame seeds for garnish. Just a few feet away, Brooklyn food stand Outer Borough was preparing the next course and their “Scallion Pancake with Beef” became perhaps the evening’s most sought after dish. As we waited for the pancake, we sipped upon some refreshing “Aiyu Jelly Iced Jasmine Tea” and chowed down on some inventive and flavorful “Curry Fish Balls,” which admittedly we likely wouldn’t have ordered up on our own. The arrival of the scallion pancake though was well worth the abbreviated wait. The flake-laden pancake enveloped the perfectly seasoned beef that was adorned with a subtle sweet-meets-salty szechuan style sauce and the flavors all worked together brilliantly. The sample’s bulbous size proved to be particularly filling though and we washed down each bite with some of Wallflower’s tasty “Sho Sho” cocktail, combining sherry, carrot shoshu and some ginger syrup.
Unfortunately by the time we had reached Chef Anita Lo’s (Annisa) table, they had run out of the “Chinese-influenced Lebanese Steak Tartare.” But candidly, Chef Lo’s “Grilled Hearts of Palm with Szechuan Pepper and Lilies” packed such an intense explosion of different flavors into a single bite that nothing else seemed to matter. Charred and succulent, each triangle was bathed atop an oil filled broth and it’s a good thing that I didn’t have a spoon to fully embarrass myself by downing the entirety of the plate. With dessert as the last thing on our minds, we settled into Yunnan Kitchen’s ‘Night Market’ style cuisine and thoroughly enjoyed the soft “Brown Rice Congee with Soft Farm Fresh Egg.” The smooth, rich flavors blended together admirably as the scallion topped porridge meshed with the saltec pork and crunchy Chinese breadstick thrown in for additional measure.
We took a moment to chat with LUCKYRICE founder Danielle Chang who was all smiles on this night, grabbed a delicious slice of “Grasshopper Cake” topped with mint and black cocoa from Pichet Ong, downed an excellent cocktail called “The Dragon” from Adriana’s Orson Salicetti and finally had reached our absolute fill. It is with a bit of disappointment that we reveal that we didn’t win the trip for two to China, but honestly after enjoying the evening that was “16 Hours to Hong Kong” it’s evident that some of the country’s finest and most authentic exports may already be here in New York City. And it is with great anticipation that we look forward to the festivities and culture that make the upcoming LUCKYRICE Festival one of springtime’s most exhilarating and equally filling run of different events.