Custom cocktails and small plates in a cozy tent were just the beginning of our our brand new monthly pop up Chef’s Lab series at Industry City (IC) that we kicked off earlier this month. In the first of at least two more dinners in the coming months, Bonbite chef Winston Chiu treated guests to a five-course menu of what he calls Chinese pub food.
After starting the evening inside the simply gorgeous Hygge Haus, aka the aforementioned temporary tent, us guests were escorted a short distance to the Filament at the Landing dining room where chef Chiu put the final touches on the dishes inspired by his cosmopolitan upbringing. Each course would be paired with Industry City-based Moore Brothers Wine Company wines and with Bonbite’s commitment to no-waste cooking (a by-product of chef Chiu’s mother’s relentless refusal to waste food) in mind, I was eager to experience a creative and delicious meal.
Each course came beautifully presented on partially compostable dishware by L’Entramise, another Industry City tenant. Other IC collaborators appeared throughout the meal, in dishes including a shrimp prawn sesame balls served with fried pickles from Brooklyn Brine, a geoduck bird’s nest (I had to Google geoduck), a kasu noodle soup (the kasu, a by-product of sake, was provided by Brooklyn Kura), and the meal’s highlight, a Macanese-style fried chicken.
That. Fried. Chicken. It really could be used as a tool of diplomacy, not only because of its divine taste, but because it’s the result of hundreds of years of cultural exchange (and colonial pillaging). According to chef Chiu, the Macanese spice profile—including Portuguese red pepper paste, Sichuan green pepper corn oil and rice vinegar—is likely the result of the long history of trade and conquest that began with the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and eventually made its way to the Portuguese colony of Macau. The end result was definitely a highlight of such cross-pollination.