So this aforementioned great event is the inaugural Banana Mafia Asian Street Market. It's a bit of a mouthful to say , but the concept is simple. Five great chefs of the Asian culinary world: Chef Nick Liu (@Ninjachefnick) of GwaiLo, Chef Robbie Hojilla of Ursa, Chef Leemo Han (@Limohan) from Swish by Han and Oddseoul, Chef Jeff Claudio of Yours Truly (@YoursTruly229), and Chef Jonathan Poon of Chantecler (@chanteclerTO) gather at Toronto's Amsterdam Brewery with the objective to serve delicious dishes in a Singaporean night market inspired setting.
For an admission price of $60, you are handed a small paper bag containing everything you will need for the entire night: 5 food tickets to redeem at the booths , candies, and a trusty pair of chopsticks.
The next thing is to find a spot at the many communal benches set up next to the hawker style food booths. Lucky I came early, seats seemed to be a hot commodity that night!
Each table is equipped with a center peice of herbs and garnishes, and the holy grail of any asian meal: sriracha hot sauce.
Chef Nick Liu with his serious face on
Wild Leek Sambal Trout from Gossens Trout Farm served with Cripsy Black Bean Fiddleheads & Jellyfish Slaw
A delicately fried piece of trout complimented by a refreshing bed of jelly slaw. Yum. But I have to say my favourite part of this dish was the fiddleheads. Having read so much about its long list of nutritional benefits, I was excited try it for the very first time. Who would've known something so healthy can be cooked so deliciously?
Chef Leemo Han
Sweet Soy Beretta Farms Steak Tartare with Garlic, Jalapeno, Cilantro, Korean Pear, Pine Nut & Quail Yolk
My favourite dish of the night coincidentally was also the one that I waited he longest for. But you know what they say, good things are worth the wait. Chef Leemo Han made sure each piece of steak in the Steak Tartar was perfectly cubed and uniform in size. The tartar was so fresh and flavourful I could have eaten it alone, but the extra garnishes really took it to the next level.
Chef Robbie Hojilla putting in some finishing touches
Grilled Pork Belly with Fermented Ramps & Carrots, Banana Ketchup & Coconut Crepe
Pork belly seems to be all the craze now, so it's not surprising that it made its way onto one of the Banana Mafia dishes. But I'm not complaining. I love pork belly, and this one prepared by Chef Robbie Hojilla was phenomenal. Wonderfully marinated and so easy to eat in crepe form. I subsequently went for seconds later using someone else's ticket. Delish!
Chef Jeff Claudio banging that meat cleaver for the perfect chicken
Sichuan Bang Bang Chicken, Cucumber, Scallion, Coriander, Sichuan PEpper & Chili Oil
This dish was definitely too spicy for me, so it wasn't as enjoyable as the rest of the food served that night. However, the few who could hold their heat seemed to really enjoy it. Perhaps I'm going to have to start snacking on chili peppers in my spare time.
Chef Jonny Poon preparing the sweet ending of a good meal
Almond Tofu with Asian Pears in Osmanthus Syrup
I'm very much a dessert person, so I was delighted when I saw that one of the tickets was to redeem a sugary treat. And what better dessert to serve at an Asian street market party than tofu dessert? The one served by Jonny Poon was incredibly smooth and went down so easy with the tapioca infused osmathus syrup. It's pretty sugary, but perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth at the end of the meal.
And what kind of party would it be without music? All night long there was a DJ pumping out upbeat music to suit the laid back vibe of the street market party.
Great job on an amazing event Banana Mafia! Everyone keep your eyes open for the next Asian Street Market Party anticipated in June by following @GwaiLoToronto. If it's anything like this first one, it willl be good food, fun times, and a great night! :)