GRATEFUL CRANE’S “FAR EAST FEASTS”: A FUN, NOSTALGIC AND DELICIOUS LOOK BACK AT GOING OUT TO EAT “CHINAMESHI”

Upcoming Feast Dates:
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Saturday, December 2, 2017
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at John Nishio’s house in Pasadena

Local Japanese Americans who remember “Chinameshi” from the old Far East Café in Little Tokyo can once again savor the flavors of chowmein, pakkai and homyu at the Far East Feast, mini-fundraising dinners for the Grateful Crane Ensemble to take place on May 20, July 22 and December 2 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pasadena residence of Chef John Nishio.

Like many Nikkei who miss the flavors of the old Far East, Nishio, a Sansei from Pasadena who has fond childhood memories of Botan rice candy and grumpy waiters wearing greasy aprons, has been looking up and down the State, across the country and around the world for something close to Far East food, but with little luck.

That’s when he decided to re-create the flavors of the Far East himself. Using his culinary skills and memory, Nishio has been working for the past several years at perfecting Far East favorites such as chashu, pressed almond duck, seaweed soup, shrimp with lobster sauce, ginger beef, mabodofu and the aforementioned homyu, chowmein and pakkai.

Nishio told Soji Kashiwagi about what he’s been doing, and Kashiwagi thought it would make a great fundraising dinner for his non-profit theater group, the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

“The Far East Feast is our fun, nostalgic and delicious look-back at the Japanese American tradition of eating ‘Chinameshi’,” said Kashiwagi. “Those who remember have had a really good time at our dinner.”

Along with a nine-course dinner, the evening includes a tour of John Nishio’s backyard Japanese garden, a viewing of a Japanese American historical video (produced by Nishio), and entertainment provided by Grateful Crane singers and musical director Scott Nagatani.

During the meal, attendees share family memories of their days eating at the Far East Café, and enjoy comparing the tastes of Chef Nishio’s re-creations to what they remember from the Far East.

“Flavors from the past can take people back to a very special place, and for many in our community that place was the Far East Café,” said Kashiwagi. “Our dinners are a fun way to go back there one more time.”

Tickets for the Far East Feast are $125.00 per person. Seating is limited to the first 20 people. For information and reservations, call the Grateful Crane hotline at (310)995-5841.


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