Flava magazine: A culinary tour of Asia’s food stalls

(Published in Flava magazine 2016, issue 1)

A culinary tour of Asia’s food stalls – Flava 2016 Issue 1

Icoa restaurant is bringing the flavors of Asia’s street food to diners every Tuesday and Saturday evening.

Inspired by the bustling night markets, street stalls and food hawkers that are an everyday scene across Asia’s vibrant cities and towns, Icoa has put together a sumptuous menu filled with authentic and delicious dishes.

From the crowded streets of Tokyo to the portable carts of Mumbai and the food stalls of Vietnam, Asia is well-known for its astonishing selection of purse-friendly and delicious street foods. Indeed, it is often said that the best food in Asia is found in the carts and stalls lining the busy streets, from vendors selling large bowls of noodles steeped in a delicious fragrant broth, to carts filled with steaming dumplings served piping hot.

Designed to take diners on a culinary journey across the Orient, Icoa’s carefully curated menu offers a sumptuous Asian-style feast that highlights some of the best and most delicious street foods found across the region.

Popular dishes include “Gua Bao,” pillowy soft dumplings filled with pork, mustard greens and peanuts; “Vietnamese Banh Mi,” beef short rib, crispy baguette, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon slaw served with Siracha sauce; “Kimchi,” Korean pickled Chinese cabbage served with carrots, gochujang paste, fish sauce and scallions; “Tokyoaki,” Japanese-style pastries filled with octopus, pickled ginger and scallions, served with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise and bonito flakes; “Thai Coconut and Lemongrass Broth,” rice noodles served in hearty broth filled with lump crab, scallions, bok choy and mushrooms; and the “Onion Uthappam,”an Indian-style pizza featuring a lentil pancake topped with onions, chili, tomatoes, coriander, sambhar and chutney. Mouth watering yet?

The menu is predominately made up of snack-sized dishes, with diners encouraged to order a selection and share them family-style.

Icoa owner and manager, Shruty Garrison, says she was inspired to offer the Asian street food night after noticing a growing trend for street foods.

“Chef Jurgen Wevers is constantly researching to see what types of food people are into,” Shruty says. “His research indicated that people eat out more and more, often choosing casual, everyday foods and, in particular, gravitating towards street foods.”

She adds: “With the street food menu you can experience various dishes from across Asia and are not limited to one style. The menu is even more fun when you share, allowing diners to enjoy and taste many more items than you would experience with a regular a la carte menu.”

Icoa’s chefs come from all corners of the globe, with each offering their unique culinary spin to the dishes on offer. It ensures a varied and exciting menu that is bound to delight diners’ palates.

“It’s rare even in a big city to experience a varied menu like this,” Shruty says. “So if you have not tried it, come and take your taste buds on a culinary journey!”

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