NY True World Foods Expo: Beyond a Culinary Experience
I love food, and I love cooking. This is why it is VERY important to me to have access to high-quality products. I want the organic, and the finest. It is really the secret of a good dish. But here in NYC, it’s not always easy to have access to the best, which made me always wonder: Where do NYC’s 5-star-restararants get their ingredients from? The city heard me and answered my question with this month’s NY True World Foods Expo. It is an exciting professional culinary showcase that highlights wholesalers’ top quality fish and seafoods sources, both domestically and internationally.
This year, the exposition mainly specialized in sushi ingredients, while also exhibiting exotic and never-seen-before products. I wasn’t going to miss that. So, I went to the Metropolitan Avenue where the event was taking place: The room was huge, and full of stands, fish meat, live sea animals, foreign vegetables, and professional knives. There were vendors from the Williams Wharf Oyster company, the Japanese, Sugimoto Tea Company, and the Ichimasa Kamaboko Co. (that specializes in different samurai ramen and Kaisen Sara Udon), the event included a diversity of international brands that were offering food samples. I had a taste of the best, and tried never-experienced before flavors: a melty caviar from Calvisius USA’s, and tender meat from Pocino Foods Co (which imports its products straight from Australia and Japan).
The food was thrilling (of course), but it wasn’t the main reason why I LOVED the event. The True World Foods Expo was more of a learning-experience. For instance, it included impressive, never-seen before shows: The small sushi rolls that we eat come from a HUGE fish, with a head bigger than humans’. In the time that I’ve spent there, I saw a live King Crab and Spot Prawns, as well as a live cutting show of a Japanese and Spanish Bluefin tunas.
But the main reason why I absolutely loved it, was that this whole exposition was much more than a culinary experience. It was a cultural experience. Guy Fieri says it best: “Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that realy has the power to bring everyone together. no matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat”. This is exactly what I felt at the exposition, as I was walking between the stand, and enjoying EVERY bite I had (from ramen, to poke, sushi rolls, miso soup, matcha dessert, red-bean icecream..). Then, I saw something unusual, sitting in a jar of water. I approached the stand and asked the woman what it was. It turned out to be wasabi, the actual plant. It looks like a big, green root, and tastes nothing like the wasabi paste. I have been eating fake wasabi my entire life, and I didn’t even know it. I was shocked to this discovery, and even stunned to how it tastes. It has the same texture and freshness as a radish, and is (way) less spicy than the wasabi paste. It is really delicious!
I was enjoying my time so much, that I stayed till the end of the event, when stands were clearing out their displays. The room was getting empty, and I was getting myself ready to leave. But as I was heading towards the exit, a kind gentleman asked me if I wanted to take one of his products homes. My inner chef was super happy. I thanked him, and I picked the wild mushrooms. That night, I went back home excited, knowing what to cook for dinner. “I’m definitely coming back next year,” I thought to myself, as I shut the door behind me.