This Friday, culinary and cocktail fanatics will converge on South Beach for a new festival celebrating Miami’s love for Asian fusion. The inaugural LuckyRice festival’s theme, dubbed “Chino Latino,” embodies Miami’s heightened interest in Asian cuisine and its long-time obsession with Latin flavors.
Hosted by Susur Lee (Top Chef Masters) and Douglas Rodriguez (father of Nuevo Latino cuisine), the event comes south for the first time after successful celebrations in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco with world-renowned chefs like Daniel Boulud, Jose Andres, Todd English, Masaharu Morimoto, Daniel Chang, Ian Kittichai, and Sang Yoon on the menu.
From a luxurious pool area to ocean side fire pits, LuckyRice will take over the members-only Soho Beach House from 7 – 11 p.m. with a few roasted pigs (Chinese “char siu”-style from Lee and Cuban-style from Rodriguez), giant paellas and woks of rice, a beachfront ceviche crudo bar, along with countless offerings from a list of local hotspots.
Fare from Katsuya (Creamy rock shrimp), Sushi Samba (Black grouper tiradito, green apple mustard, charred pineapple, crispy malanga), Hakkasan (Steamed mini truffle with chicken bun), Makoto (“Wonton” mocha rice, mushroom duxelles, shallots, umami sauce), and others will be paired with Asian-inspired cocktails featuring Bombay Sapphire East, the first new spirit from the House of Bombay in more than 25 years.
“Miami is home to these great Asian restaurants. Though their menus originated from the East, they’ve been adapted by some very good and mostly Asian food chefs, who are, by the way, Latino by origin,” said Danielle Chang, founder and CEO of LuckyRice. “Miami feeds our global hunger for Asian food and cultural experiences and we’re celebrating that here this week.”
An elite group of local mixologists like Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta of The Broken Shaker customized drinks to highlight the exotic botanicals of Southeast Asia with a focus on the crisp Thai lemongrass and spicy black peppercorns that define the relatively new gin.
A must-try is the “Killer Bee” by William Rivas of the forthcoming Khong River House in South Beach. With fresh pressed lemon juice and white pepper ginger syrup, this balanced drink will be a nice companion to the kaleidoscope of food options available at the festival.
Another refreshing choice is the “Suika Tonic Cooler” by Gabe Urrutia of Bacardi. Sip on this combination of Sapphire East, homemade tonic syrup (watermelon, lemongrass, lemon/lime zest, Chinese allspice, Cinchona Bark, Citric Acid and Quinine), and soda water for a quick palate cleanser as you navigate through the maze of unusual dishes.
Conversely, if you want to go big on cocktails that are light on the Asian flair, look for solid drinks by veteran John Lermayer of Filthy Food. His Filthy Collins with Grey Goose Cherry Noir, Filthy black cherry juice, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda and a pristine Filthy black cherry will keep you stateside.
Chang encourages guests to be adventurous and embrace innovative Asian fusion – a style that Miami has come to love on its plates. Now, there’s a movement from the plate to the glass. The cocktails at LuckyRice are representative of this trend and how it’s manifesting in our best bars.
“Even though Miami doesn’t have a high Asian population, it does have a significant international and immigrant population that has sought out diverse tastes and flavors, in turn, creating the worldly culture that defines the Miami dining and drinking scene today,” said Chang.