Step inside the Museum of Food and Drink as you experience the history of Chinese American cuisine with artifacts, 100 year old clippings, infographics, and even a fortune cookie machine! This limited time exhibit also features tastings at their exclusive Culinary Studio.
As the world’s first large-scale food museum, Brooklyn’s MOFAD delivers a visual walkthrough of the Chinese American Restaurant timeline (almost 200 years)!
You’re immediately greeted with a massive wall of takeout containers. But as soon as you step behind it, prepare to be immersed in a rich past. This exhibit was interesting and though it was quick, you learn a lot about the culture and cuisine, leading up to today.
As you walk around, you’ll find fantastic displays: photos, articles, even videos. One of my favorite sections was the wall of old restaurant menus. It was amazing to see how much has changed over the decades. Imagine paying only 75 cents for a plated dinner combo (soup, entree, and dessert)!
For Chow, MOFAD also houses a special fortune cookie machine that will create the cookies live with custom fortunes submitted using their in-house tablet/Twitter/hashtag (#ProjectFortune).
Powered by Infiniti, the purpose of #ProjectFortune is to spread messages of goodwill so that when visitors come to the exhibit, they’ll hopefully receive your fortune and share it with friends & loved ones!
See the fortune I submitted here!
Though the machine wasn’t working this particular day, we still got to learn about the whole process and see many of the submitted fortunes colorfully displayed at the end of the exhibit.
MOFAD also had part of Flavor: Making It and Faking It on display, their previous/debut exhibit. In this MOFAD Lab, different smelling stations were set up. Here you can experiment with a few apparatuses that would release a combination of various smells of your choice.
For example, what combination of cilantro, peach, caramel, and candy will create “strawberry”? Or how much orange oil, lime oil, cinnamon oil, and vanilla extract is needed to smell like “cola”?
Build different flavors at 3 stations or try your hand at the Smell Synth, a scent organ you can play! With over 500,000 different combinations, your senses will go haywire!
As you make your way to the exit, don’t forget to stop by the Chow Culinary Studio! Each General Admission ticket includes a small complimentary tasting (MOFAD states that they cannot guarantee dietary accommodations). And for an additional $11, you can upgrade to the Chow Down ticket which turns your tasting into a 3-course meal!
Tastings will vary from the chefs on duty to the featured dish of the month. We had the pleasure of sitting with in-house Chef John Hutt, who was not only very knowledgeable about authentic Chinese cuisine but also able to deliver a delicious meal!
He started us off with the dish of the month which was the Peking Pork with Sweet and Sour Glaze over rice. Great texture and great taste – the chef meticulously cooked the pork (see more in the video at the end).
Next, he served up some Malai Mushroom Dumplings with 7 year old vinegar. He taught us a brief lesson on Ma (numb) and La (spicy) – explaining that the mushrooms will create a tingling sensation, ultimately giving off a “spicy” effect. What a rush!
Lastly, we wrapped up with a Rice Pudding with Fortune Cookie. I normally don’t like rice pudding but it was a great finisher as we continued talking about Chinese cuisine and his involvement with the museum.
We were fortunate to have Chef John rather than one of the rotating guest chefs. His experience made our meal all the more enjoyable and it was educational too! The exhibit itself takes about 30 minutes with an additional 30 minutes for the full tasting. Be sure to check out the video recap below for more and click here for tickets.