Strongly influenced by Pan-Asian fare, Café Asia provides a wide array of menu items, appealing to the diverse clientele who enjoy the Asian Art Museum. Our menu changes frequently, allowing us to capture the best organic and sustainable ingredients offered from our local purveyors. Come join us for lunch or take an afternoon break and enjoy tea service from our extensive hot tea menu—no museum admission required.
Archaeology and history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
October 24, 2014- Jan 18, 2015
Over the last forty years, archaeologists working in Saudi Arabia have unearthed an astonishing level of artifacts from the peninsula’s ancient past, radically transforming our understanding of the region. Roads of Arabia features more than 200 objects, ranging from excavated stone tools—some dating back more than a million years—to a 17th-century set of gilded doors that once graced the entrance to the Ka’ba, Islam’s holiest sanctuary.
Melinda has been at the helm of Café Asia as Executive Chef since the café first opened in 2003. She is an accomplished Chef with an extensive background in Asian-inspired cuisine. As one of the key Chefs at the Hotel Nikko Restaurant, she was responsible for all Asian food creations. Prior to Hotel Nikko, she served as Sous Chef and Chef in Charge at Cafe American and Chez Moi.
Melinda regularly shops for fresh produce at the farmers’ market at the United Nations Plaza, a few steps from the museum. “As a chef, I like to use seasonal produce,” she says. “It’s good for customers to have fresh food! I like to support the farmers as well.” Fall, for example, produces beautiful root vegetables, kabocha, and crispy apples.
Melinda’s inventiveness follows her customers’ desires as well as the changing seasons. “Everyone likes warm food in the cold weather, like coconut soup. I make it with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass that I find at the market. There’s also a wild salmon burger people love. I serve it with sweet potato fries and lemongrass aioli.”
The Asian Art Museum’s exhibitions often inspire the café’s menu choices. For the Maharaja exhibition, she recalls, “I made chutney with kumquat, figs, and fresh pineapple. Also, we had Kashmiri kari korma—a leg of lamb braised in red pepper masala sauce, served with roasted cauliflower over basmati rice.” Asian food is so diverse, Melinda notes, that “it can be made fresh and new every day.”