Asian Food Beyond Borders

Friday and Saturday, October 10 – 11, 2008

To celebrate our 2008 theme, “Asian Food Beyond Borders,” ACF is presenting an entire weekend of exciting classes, tours, workshops and panel discussions for your enjoyment. Choose your heart’s desire from our extensive a la carte menu of educational events.

To attend any of the Friday and Saturday classes below, register online securely and conveniently. Learn more about our guest instructors, speakers, and presenters on their bio page.


  1. Friday, October 10

  2. The Six Asian Flavors

  3. 5:30 – 7:30 pm,  SF Ferry Building

  4. Saturday, October 11

  5. Morning

  6. Chinatown Culinary Walk
    9:30 am – 1:30 pm, Chinatown

  7. Chutneys, Kimchi, and Sambal
    10:30 am – 1:00 pm, Sur La Table, Maiden Lane

  8. The Politics and Practicalities of Rice
    10:00 am – 12:00 pm, SF Ferry Building

  9. Afternoon

  10. Master Wine and Food Pairing
    1:30 – 3:30 pm, Le Colonial

  11. Meals, Meaning, and Memory in Asian Diasporas
    1:30 – 3:30 pm, SF Ferry Building

  12. What is This? Experts Deciphering the Unfamiliar
    1:30 – 3:30 pm, SF Ferry Building

  13. Delights of South India
    3:00 – 5:30 pm, Sur La Table, Maiden Lane


The Six Asian Flavors

Walk-Around Tasting

Time: 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Location: Ferry Building, North Arcade

     Explore and experience the six taste elements of Asian cuisines: hot, sour, salty, bitter, sweet, and umami. How do they function alone and how do they synergistically work together? You'll taste artisanal palm sugar, learn why bitter isn't bad, tease out the difference between salty and umami, and much more. Expert presenters include author/instructor Robert Danhi, nutritionist Karen Diggs of Be Nourished SF, food writer Robyn Eckhart of Eating Asia, food writer Nancy Freeman, and chef/owner Terrence Khuu of Bayside Bistro.

Capacity: 200

Registration fee: $20 per person [register to attend]



Chinatown Culinary Walk

Neighborhood Food Tour

Time: 9:30 am - 1:30 pm

Location: Chinatown, San Francisco

     Many people visit Chinatown but few have the opportunity to know it well. Join Joyce Jue, renowned Bay Area cooking teacher and award-winning author, on an intimate walking tour of San Francisco’s Chinatown, her birthplace. She will discuss the changes in the neighborhood over the years and share her favorite neighborhood spots. The tour culminates with a dim sum lunch at the Garden View Restaurant. Lunch is included in the registration fee.

Capacity: 12

Registration fee: $75 per person [register to attend]

Chutneys, Kimchi, and Sambal: 3 Experts on 3 Cuisines

Demonstration Cooking Class

Time: 10:30 am - 1:00 pm

Location: Sur la Table, Maiden Lane

     The beauty of Asian cuisines is that you can vary every bite with a scintillating relish, condiment, and/or pickled vegetable. Such accompaniments have crucial roles in Asian cuisines and can be prepared quite easily for everyday use. Get in-depth knowledge on how to prepare and enjoy Indian chutneys, Korean kimchi, and Southeast Asian sambals from three local experts: Niloufer King, James Beard Award recipient and author of My Bombay Kitchen; Hyunjoo Albrecht, Korean food expert; and Daniel Sudar, executive chef of Red Lantern in Redwood City. Experience avocado green chutney, Asian pear chutney, seared ginger raita, traditional napa cabbage kimchi (bae chu kimchi), summer cucumber kimchi (oi sobagi), tomato chili sauce (sambal tomat), and shrimp paste chili sauce (sambal trasi/sambal belacan). 

Capacity: 32

Registration fee: $55 per person [register to attend]

The Politics and Practicalities of Rice

Panel Discussion and Tasting

Time: 10:00 am - 12 pm

Location: Ferry Building, 2nd Floor

     The global run on rice put its mark on 2008 and national news coverage often focused on San Francisco, home to one of the largest Asian populations in America. Shoppers were vying for imported jasmine and basmati rice. But what about domestic rice? How does rice fit into efforts to build sustainable food systems? Gain perspective from panelists Kenneth Lee, president of specialty rice importer and distributor, Lotus Foods; Kent McKenzie, researcher and director of the UC Rice Experiment Station; and Raj Patel, food policy analyst and author of Stuffed and Starved. Esteemed author Jeannette Ferrary will moderate. A special rice tasting of diverse varieties follows the discussion.

Capacity: 110

Registration fee: $25 per person and $15 student (part-time and full-time) [register to attend]


Master Wine and Food Pairing

Tasting Class

Time: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Location: Le Colonial Restaurant

     Explore the new frontiers of Asian food expertly paired with the proper wines. Singapore-based oenologist Edwin Soon, author of Wine with Asian Food will share his strategies and knowledge about which varietals marry best with the complex flavors of Asian cuisines. At this exclusive master class held in the beautiful dining room of Le Colonial Restaurant, you will taste numerous wines with delicious, inventive pairings. You will walk away from this class with greater confidence for the next time you peruse the wine list at your favorite Chinese, Indian or Vietnamese restaurant. Each attendee also will receive a copy of Wine with Asian Food, a $25 value.

Capacity: 40

Registration fee: $85 per person [register to attend]

Meals, Meaning and Memory in Asian Diasporas

Panel discussion

Time: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Location: Ferry Building, 2nd Floor

As Asians migrate to and settle in new continents, what kinds of culinary changes and continuities do they experience? Whether as cooks, writers, farmers, consumers, or all of the above, Asian Americans have balanced pragmatism and pleasure, nutrition and nostalgia, taste and tradition, to emerge with a diversity of diets and discursive delights. This panel of scholars will open up a discussion of how food practices influence Asian and Asian-American memories of the past and dreams for the future. Participants include Professors Martin Manalansan of the University of Illinois, Wendy Ho and Parama Roy of UC Davis, and Ashwini Wagle of San Jose State.

Capacity: 110

Registration fee: $20 general and $12 student (part-time and full-time) [register to attend]

“What is This?”: Let Experts Help You Decipher the Unfamiliar

Food Clinic

Time: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Location: Ferry Building, North Wing

     Preparing and enjoying Asian cuisines is a lot more fun when you understand the many ingredients that appear in recipes both traditional and modern. You're invited to bring cookbooks, family recipes, unfamiliar foods, and unusual tools (actual items or even photos) to this clinic and ask our food experts all the questions you have about cooking and eating your favorite Asian dishes. We'll also provide an array of Asian vegetables, herbs, condiments, and other staples on hand for you to sniff, taste, and ponder.

Capacity: unlimited

Registration fee: FREE [no registration required]

Delights of South India

Demonstration cooking class

Time: 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Location: Sur La Table, Maiden Lane

     Rising star chef Shiyam Sundar, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has trained and worked at world-class restaurants and hotels. He has mastered contemporary cooking in the West while retaining a passion for the traditional foods of his southern home state of Tamil Nadu, source of some of India's most popular foods. Join us for a wonderful afternoon of exploration as Shiyam demonstrates his favorite dishes while sharing professional cooking tips and insights on Indian food culture. Reflecting our abundance of quality ingredients, his menu of southern specialties includes semolina and buttermilk crepes with onions and cashews (rava dosa) and curry leaf-scented prawns with fresh tomato chutney (karuvepillai era).

Registration fee: $55 per person [register to attend]


ACF 2008 Symposium: Asian Food Beyond Borders

Time: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Location: Ferry Building

     The capstone to our weekend-long celebration, this intimate, full-day symposium brings together notable authors, artists, scholars, and chefs to explore how Asian communities have created dynamic cuisines around the world.

     To learn more, please visit our symposium page.

Registration fee: $185 per person [register for the symposium]

Due to unforeseen events, ACF may substitute speakers and instructors of comparable expertise for individuals listed above.



Both the public festival (Friday + Saturday) and the symposium (Sunday) were spectacularly successful with sell-outs across the board.  Thank you to the hundreds and hundreds of attendees to the festival events and to the 150+ learners on Sunday.

Thank you all for celebrating and learning with us, and thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, and board members for an amazing weekend!