Spring in Washington, D.C. is a magical time when the countless Japanese Cherry Blossoms turn the city into a watercolor painting. Soft pinks and dark magenta blossoms dot side streets and along the National Mall as tourists from all over the world make the trek each year to the Tidal Basin.

On April 14th from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. the 8th annual Events DC Cherry Blast! event will be held on Dock 5 at Union Market. The grand finale of the cherry blossom celebrations; the dock will be transformed into a Tokyo night market with Japanese dishes prepared by six of Washington, D.C.’s acclaimed chefs from well-loved Asian restaurants. Chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Spoken English, Maketto and Paper Horse will be curating the cuisines.

“I was able to curate the chefs and also the dishes that my restaurants are going to bring to the guests next Friday. For example, Maketto will be doing some amazing yakitori like patron pepper with house-made togarashi spice, grilled chicken yakitori marinated in my house-made Honeycomb miso. Paper Horse will be showcasing our classic pork ramen,” Chef Erik Bruner-Yang said about curating the event.

The chefs and dishes that will be featured:

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang will prepare Yakitori (skewered chicken) & ramen noodles

Chef Katsuya Fukushima of Bantam King, Daikaya, and Haikan is making Karage (fried chicken)

Chef Tim Ma of Kyirisan will make Doroyaki (red bean pancake)

Chef Seng Luangrath of Thip Khao, Bangkok Golden is making Kushikatsu (deep fried meat & vegetables)

Chef Hiro Mitsui of Conbini Café is making Okonomiyaki (savory pancake)  

Chef Huy Nguyen of Pho Wheelz, Balo Kitchen is making Curry Rice

Sip Japanese spirits like Hibiki Japanese Whisky, Suntory Whisky Toki, Kirin beer or sake as you wander from each table sampling a red bean pancake or deep fried meats and vegetables. Groove to the sounds of Austin’s DJ Mel along with other entertainers performing throughout the night. DJ Mel will headline and is most known as “Obama’s DJ” after playing at the Presidential Inauguration of 2012.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my culture with the people of the DMV area. It makes me happy that so many people are interested in celebrating my culture through food,” said Chef Hiro Mitsui. “I chose to make Okonomiyaki, which is my signature dish that I make at Conbini by UZU.” He went on to say how much it means to him to be able to cook Okonomiyaki in the states since it’s a great way for him to share his roots.

There will be an exclusive VIP tea room with a private lounge that will feature a menu from Chef Erik Bruner-Yang. Cocktails will be made by local mixologist, Gina Chersevani. VIP ticket is required for this area.

In a playful mood? You can watch a Sumo wrestling demonstration or play one of the 10 Nintendo or Sony video game stations. DC Fray will be there with an Origami station. The husband and wife team of Soul & Ink, Frankie and Sherry Meneses, will have a station for guests to create live shirt screen printing designs.

Events DC Cherry Blast! is one of many spring events in DC that makes this city so unique! I am personally excited to experience a Tokyo night market while supporting our local chefs. Hope to see you all there too!

For those who use Twitter and Instagram, these are the handles and hashtags:

@UnionMarketDC  #Dock5

@cheftimma  @ChasetheSub @Kyirisan

@soulandinkcrew #livescreenprinting

@erikbruneryang @maketto1351

@chefkatsuya @BantamKingDC @Daikayadc

@ChefSeng @thipkhaoDC

#ChefHiro @uzu9dc


Written by Lisa M. Comento