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The Traveling Palate

Written and Photographed by Yolanda Shoshana
(Opposite Photo is of Jennifer Abadi and Beebe Okoye)


If you are on a budget but want to “eat” around the globe, The Traveling Palate at the Kiva Café in Soho should be your next destination.

The Traveling Palate is a foodie’s delight, hosted by cookbook-memoir writer, Jennifer Abadi, and Beebe Okoye, the founder/owner of Kiva Café.

Abadi and Okoye met at a workshop when opening a café was still just a gleam in Okoye’s eye. Their culinary connection continued and Abadi approached Okoye with the idea of creating a “tasting” with food from different regions, a food lover’s passport. This was the beginning.

Now about once every four weeks, the Traveling Palate features tastings from a different region from around the globe. There is no one way that Abadi and Okoye choose which region’s food they will promote. They take suggestions or literally look at a map when they decide which location to highlight next. After every tasting they discuss what worked and what did not work, so no two tastings will ever be the same.

During the tasting, Abadi works in the kitchen styling the food while Okoye serves the dish in nice white mugs to all of the guests. The night I attended, Okoye brought out the first tasting - Monlar Oo Thoke (a Daikon (white radish) Salad with rice vinegar, peanuts, and fish sauce). This dish had a real kick to it due to the radishes. It was also garnished by cilantro, which added to the bold flavor. It would be perfect as an appetizer.

The second tasting was tofu with cloves, chili and tamarind. This dish was simply delicious due to its combination of flavors. Even someone who is not into tofu would eat every bite. The tofu absorbs all of the flavors (especially the chili) to make for a hearty dish. The dish is similar to Thai food.

The Nga Soke Lone Hin (fish kofta curry with garlic, ginger, turmeric and shrimp paste). The third dish was my favorite tasting of the evening. The texture of the dish was thick and hearty and reminded me of a soup; it was comfort food at its finest. The flavors wove together excellently but the fish and ginger were the main stand outs of the flavors. The last dish of the evening was a sweet drink called Moh Let Saung (tapioca refresher with palm sugar and coconut milk). This dish was true to its name; it was very refreshing.

While the food was wonderful, the added attraction of The Traveling Palate was the people. People who attended the event came because they missed home cooking or the wanted to expand their culinary horizons. Also since the Kiva Café is an intimate space, it was easy to meet people and start up a conversation.

Attending the Traveling Palate is a night of fabulous food, drink and wonderful conversation in an exotic location that anyone can have without breaking their bank by leaving New York. Get ready to pack up your taste buds; the next stop is Bolivia.

To find out more about The Traveling Palate, go to

Monlar Oo Thoke

Nga Soke Lone Hin

Jennifer Abadi and Beebe Okoye


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