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Homyu and Almond Duck Return to ‘Far East Feast’ This Summer and Fall

PASADENA — The “Far East Feast,” a fun and nostalgic journey back to the flavors of the old Far East Café in Little Tokyo, is returning to Pasadena on Saturday, July 27, and Saturday, Sept. 28, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the residence of Sansei chef John Nishio.

John Nishio

Presented by Nishio as a mini-fundraising dinner for the Grateful Crane Ensemble, the feast includes his re-creations of the “greatest hits” from the Far East Café: homyu, chashu, pressed almond duck, chow mein, pakkai, seaweed soup, shrimp with lobster sauce, ginger beef, and mabo-dofu.

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

“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 Soji Kashiwagi of the Grateful Crane ensemble. “Our dinner is a fun and delicious way to go back there one more time. And several of our attendees have said that Chef John’s re-creations are even better than what they remember from the old Far East.”

But more than just the food, it’s the childhood memories that the food represents that have touched many attendees. “They say that scent is a powerful memory and that is so true,” said a recent Sansei attendee. “Memories of eating at Far East with my parents, siblings and grandparents all came flooding back. Thank you for bringing those back.”

Along with a nine-course dinner, the evening also includes a tour of Nishio’s backyard Japanese garden, a viewing of a Japanese American historical video (produced by Nishio), and entertainment provided by the Far East House Band singers Keiko Kawashima and Brian Yamamoto with Scott Nagatani on keyboards.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Grateful Crane Ensemble and the Fukushima Bottled Water Project, which provides clean, safe drinking water for children and families in Fukushima, which was devastated by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of March 2011.

Tickets are $125.00 per person. Seating is limited to 20 people. For the July 27 feast, nine seats are available; 18 seats are currently available for the Sept. 28 feast.

For information and reservations, call the Grateful Crane ticket line at (310) 995-5841 or email

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