New Culinary Program Series at Asia Society Texas Highlights Houston Chefs
- View more photos on Flickr.
HOUSTON, June 16, 2022 — Asia Society Texas kicked off Chefs’ Table, a new culinary program series, with a seated dinner presented by chefs Nina Fonte of Aleng Nina’s, Suu Khin of Burmalicious, and Vanarin Kuch of Koffeteria. Through six courses showcasing the cuisines of the Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia, the chefs collaborated closely on the menu to ensure every course featured a dish or commonality across the three cultures, including fermented sides, grilled meats, raw bites, street market foods, and curries.
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Each course was introduced by the chefs, who provided insights into the traditions and techniques behind their respective dish, as well their own personal memories attached to them. They carefully explained the authenticity behind each dish — revealing how each was true to their respective cultures and absent of any fusion explorations. As an extra treat, all of the (already stuffed) guests were sent home with cardamon and tres leches cookies.
View more photos on Flickr.
Buro Ensalada by Nina Fonte: cucumber, eggplant, bittermelon
Laphet by Suu Khin: tea leaves, cabbage, sesame seeds
Chrouk Sadaek Bandoah by Vanarin Kuch: bean sprouts
Kinilaw by Nina Fonte: tuna, Asian pear, coconut milk, cane vinegar, fish sauce
Kywegaw Thi Thoke by Suu Khin: scallop, pomelo, shallot oil, dried shrimp, culantro
Bok Lahong by Vanarin Kuch: green papaya, garlic, shrimp paste, Thai basil
Inihaw Na Laman Loob by Nina Fonte: chicken hearts, pork belly, soy sauce, calamansi, banana ketchup
Pazun Kin by Suu Khin: gulf shrimps, coconut milk, lime leaf, lemongrass
Mun Saich Mawn by Vanarin Kuch: pork, toasted rice, garlic, Thai chili
Sisig by Nina Fonte: pork cheek, pork ear, chicharon, chicken liver, Thai chili, calamansi
Amae Hnut Samosa Thoke by Suu Khin: lemongrass beef curry with cumin potato samosas, tamarind viniagrette
Salaw Machew Kreung by Vanarin Kuch: beef, water spinach, Thai eggplant
Wrapped and Steamed
Rice Munchkins in Coconut Broth
by Nina Fonte: ube, coconut milk
by Suu Khin: condensed milk, brown sugar; coconut flakes, jaggery, pine nuts
by Vanarin Kuch: mung beans
About the Chefs
Chef-owner of Aleng Nina’s, a Filipino pop-up shop, Nina Fonte’s mission is to share her culture through her passion for cooking. Through her experience working in the restaurant industry, Chef Nina elevates Filipino comfort foods and provides a modern take to propel Filipino food forward. Chef Nina strives to create a new experience of Filipino cuisine that is rooted in nostalgia. “Even though we move forward, we never forget home.”
Born and raised in Burma (nestled between India, China and Thailand and also known as Myanmar), Suu Khin is the chef, creator and storyteller behind Burmalicious, a platform that specializes in demystifying Burmese cuisine. She was also a finalist on MasterChef: Legends. Suu immigrated to Houston in 2018 and since then, through her food blog, press and media appearances, cooking classes and series of pop-up dinners, she has been creating culinary experiences to elicit conversations about Burmese flavors and culture. Burmalicious has been named one of the best pop-ups in Houston by Eater in 2022 and also nominated for best pop-up/startup at CultureMap Tastemaker Awards 2023. For Suu, cooking not only gives her a purpose and pleasure, it is also an indelible connection to her family and heritage and she dreams of putting her beloved cuisine on the map through cookbooks, tv programs, social media and restaurants around the world.
Koffeteria is the brain-child of pastry chef Vanarin Kuch. Growing up as the child of Cambodian refugees, food served as an anchor to bring his family together. Kuch rose to prominence early in his career as the opening pastry chef at Tiny Boxwoods, and national audiences got to know him from appearances on Top Chef: Just Desserts and Chopped. After years away at top kitchens in New York and Chicago, he returned to his hometown to open Koffeteria. His shop welcomes people into the East Downtown neighborhood, where his relatives used to operate fish & doughnut shops. Showcasing beautiful mid-century furniture in an industrial setting, the shop is an inviting place for visitors to enjoy a dessert in style. His food is often as whimsical as it is ambitious, but always brings bold flavors into balance.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.