Dale Talde
Photo by Ryan Leeds

Last Tuesday, while many New Yorkers and tourists were trudging around town in the blustery wind, damp chilly air and snow showers, a lucky few were treated to a presentation sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). It was followed by a tasting from Dale Talde, one of the culinary world’s most popular personalities.

Tea Steamed Red Snapper. Photo by Ryan Leeds

The Chicago native and son of Filipino immigrants made his mark as a contestant on television’s Top Chef, Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Knife Fight. Since then, he’s opened multiple locations of his restaurant Talde, in addition to Massoni at the Arlo NoMad hotel, and the newly opened Crown Rooftop bar in Chinatown. The spacious Crown played host to Tuesday’s event.

Dale Talde. Photo by Ryan Leeds.

Talde’s interest in Japanese cuisine was sparked after spending time in Tokyo, where every food imaginable is readily available. “You never feel as though you’re missing your favorite cuisine there,” Talde said. “And the street food is dope!”  Yet Talde, along with JNTO, was careful not to shine an exclusive spotlight on Japan’s most recognized city. Instead, the team shared some lesser-known destinations for tourists including Miyazaki, home to the Takachino Gorge, a V-shaped gorge created by the Gokase-gawa River. Another area, Kochi, located on the Shikoku Island in Southwestern Japan is home to one of the country’s 10 largest festivals, including the famed Yosakoi dance festival, At the Miho Pine Grove in Shizuoka, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji.

Dale Talde and team offer shaved ice demonstration. Photo by Ryan Leeds

Talde offered samplings (prepared exclusively for the event) from these areas which included Wagyu beef skewers, Bonito spiced tuna, and tea steamed snapper. The event ended with a demonstration of matcha green tea shaved ice. 

Matcha Shaved Ice. Photo by Ryan Leeds.

One lucky attendee won the door prize: a fully paid trip to Japan. The rest of us were simply inspired to save our pennies and visit this East Asian gem.

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