Lucky Rice food event returns to Miami Beach

The fifth annual Lucky Rice festival returns to the Raleigh Hotel on Miami Beach on Saturday, Nov. 15, bringing Miami’s top Asian restaurants together for a celebration of contemporary Asian cuisine.

Hot spots like Juvia, Khong River House, Katsuya and Morimoto will be serving food, and there will be plenty of Bombay Sapphire East cocktails to wash it all down.

We spoke with Lucky Rice founder Danielle Chang about the event, celebrity chef Morimoto who will make an appearance, and visited Juvia for a sneak peek at what they will be serving.

Danielle Chang, founder Lucky Rice.

What has surprised you the most about reaching 5 years of Lucky Rice events?
It has been a great 5 years, and I feel so lucky to have been able to take the festival to 5 cities— New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas. Even though each festival is a celebration of Asian cuisine and cocktails in America, the culinary landscape in each of the cities is so different. In each city, we worked through the lens of local chefs and mixologists in each city to come up with a collection of Asian dishes that also reflect the city’s local flavor. I’m surprised by all the regional adaptations of Asian cuisine.

Why is Miami a perfect city to host Lucky Rice?
Miami is such a great city for food, and even though the Asian population in Miami is small, it has nonetheless had a big influence on its culinary scene. Some of my favorite restaurants in Miami – from Khong River House to Katsuya, for instance, are Asian restaurants that reach global palates.

What’s the most challenging part of organizing and planning Lucky Rice?
The most challenging part of the job is also my favorite part of it— as we expand into new cities, we have the challenging job of learning about each city’s gastronomy scene, reaching out to chefs and mixologists for their feedback and participation, then finally putting together an event that will speak to the locals. In Miami, for instance, I’m interested in how the large Latino community and their global palates fuse into Asian cuisine.

Do you have an all-time favorite dish or cocktail from previous Lucky Rice events?
I’m a big fan of the DIY Bombay Sapphire East G&T bars that we serve at most Lucky Rice events. In addition to the gin and tonic, we will have an array of Asian botanicals and spices to spice up the classic cocktail. Bombay Sapphire East itself is infused with two Asian botanicals- thai lemongrass and black peppercorns, which brings out the unique Asian flavors of each dish.

If you could only eat one Asian dish for a year, what would it be and why?
Rice! It’s the foundation of Asian food — whether Japanese sushi, Chinese congee, Korean bibimbap, Indian biryani – even rice wine. I don’t feel like I’ve eaten well unless I have my daily rice.

Chef Morimoto

What is your favorite part of being associated with Lucky Rice?
It is fun to meet other chefs who serve their Asian themed food at the event. Many of them are non-Asian chefs, but they create amazing dishes. It is always inspiring.
Can you recall the first time you ever cooked and what did you make and where?
A fried egg. I made it for my mother at home one morning, but I didn’t cook at home when I was a kid; I started cooking when I worked at my first restaurant when I was 18 years old. That was a sushi restaurant.
If you could eat only one Asian dish for a year, what would it be and why?
Sushi, because it’s my favorite food.

Juvia Sneak Peek

Lincoln Road’s restaurant in the sky, Juvia, will be serving its popular Juvia Lemonade at Lucky Rice on Saturday. The cocktail has been on the restaurants menu since the doors opened nearly 3 years ago, and this version will be using Bombay Sapphire East as its base. The drink combines Bon Maman blueberry preserves, and a lemon sour mix that includes agave nectar, water and organic lemons.

Chef Sunny Oh has decided to serve Juvia’s version of Tuna Poke at Lucky Rice. The origins of the dish come from Hawaii, but Chef Oh’s twist is the addition of rice and seaweed. The popular dish is served with rice for lunch, and without rice for dinner. “Day or night, lunch or dinner, this is one of the most friendly dishes out there,” Oh said. “There are not many dishes where I can say it doesn’t matter the mood I am in, I will eat it.”

During preparation, the scallions and onions are detailed, only sashimi grade tuna is used, and sedate oils provide a touch of fragrance. Everything is sliced and watered, cleaned and then dried, to preserve the subtle flavors.

Want to win a pair of tickets to Saturday’s event? All you have to do is leave us a Facebook comment below regarding this question: “What Is The Secret To Making Perfect Rice?” Get creative and good luck. Winners announced on Friday morning.