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Cuba Meets Asia Cooking Class

  • Union Market 1309 5th Street Northeast Washington, DC, 20002 United States (map)

Toli Moli x Duende District present: COOK + BOOK, a friendly gathering on the last Wednesday of each month to learn more about cooking with Asian ingredients at home.

On August 29th, the eighth edition of COOK + BOOK returns to Union Market! Chef Mario Monte of Colada Shop will lead this month's cooking class, focusing on a special recipe that crosses cultural boundaries and flavor profiles: Five-Spice Pork Belly with Saffron-Sofrito Yellow Rice and Red Beans.

Each month at COOK + BOOK, you'll have the opportunity to:

  • purchase a book written or recommended by the chef

  • enjoy dynamic conversations with local food entrepreneurs

  • take home a "bodega bag" with key ingredients from class

  • meet new friends interested in Asian food and cultures

  • learn a new recipe using ingredients from Toli Moli's Burmese Bodega and other Union Market businesses

What is sofrito? An ensemble of ingredients (garlic, onion, tomato) slow-cooked to golden perfection to create the base and main seasoning of the dish. Veggies, herbs and spices in this dish vary from region to region, so join us for this two-hour Cuban culinary adventure to learn more!

Who is Chef Mario? With over 10 years of hospitality experience, Mario is Co-Owner and Food and Beverage Director for Colada Shop, which The Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema lauded as "Little Havana done right" on his 2017 list of DC's top 10 restaurants. Though born in Miami, Mario grew up in Venezuela with his Italian mom and Cuban dad. His parents' cooking introduced him to indigenous ingredients like corn, quinoa, and cilantro, which still influence his cooking today. Before moving to Miami, his first introduction to Cuban culture was through coffee.

Chef Mario has since mastered his Cuban culinary skills and has become quite popular in the DC Latinx and restaurant communities for his infectuous good humor and the delicious foods he serves at Colada Shop in DC and Virginia. After class, chat with the Chef and Team Toli Moli about what ingredients at Toli Moli's Burmese Bodega you can use for home cooking.

"I grew up always trying to make the perfect cup of Cuban coffee for my father or grandfather," says Chef Mario.

Following the demonstration, thanks to a partnership with Harvey's MarketAlmaala Farms and Toli Moli, you'll also get a "bodega bag" filled with ingredients to make the recipe at home! This month's featured book available for purchase is THE CUBAN TABLE: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History, a comprehensive overview of contemporary Cuban food, recipes, and culture recounted by both professional chefs and serious home cooks. A well documented and context-filled collection of over 100 delicious authentic island staples.

In collaboration with Union Market.

For more information, please e-mail