Asian Food Fest was launched in 2010, and it started as a passion project for a group of friends, who identified that the city has an Italianfest and Oktoberfest, but there was nothing to represent Asian heritage. So, instead of sitting around talking about it, they wanted to do something about it, said Dang, the festival’s organizer.
The festival drew 1,000 in the first year with three vendors. The festival has grown to one of the largest in Greater Cincinnati with around 70,000 attendees each year.
“There’s been so much growth of Asian American Culture in Cincinnati,” Dang said.
Produced by Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati, Asian Food Fest honors the cuisine and culture of Asian countries including Hawaii, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Taiwan. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sat., and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. There will be more than 35 food vendors this year.
Food vendors represent more than 10 countries in Asia, and will feature Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, and even Nepalese Food.
“Asian Food Fest was created to highlight the vast amounts of Asian Food there is in Cincinnati,” Dang said.
There will also be a special section of booths with “Secret Menu” items, which are more traditional or authentic dishes that would normally only be served in Asia or at home. These are lesser-known foods in Cincinnati.
Food prices range from $2 to $8 per item. Soft drinks, water, boba teas, craft and local beers as well as Asian beers, wine and sake will also be available.
Over the course of two days, the festival will also highlight Asian American talent with a variety of acts. There are two stages, including a Main Stage and a DJ stage. Performances begin at 11 a.m. on the DJ stage each day. The entertainment on the Main Stage begins at noon, both days. Entertainment will include Chinese and Filipino cultural dances as well as a Korean dance group from the University of Cincinnati. There will also be national entertainers and singers each afternoon and evening with “Asian Food Fest Vibes.”
On Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., there will be cultural entertainers, and from 6 p.m. to close, there will be national Asian American artists singing and performing. On Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., there will be cultural dances, and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be musical performances. Katherine Ho & The Slants will perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday, followed by the Taiko Drums from Dayton at 5 p.m. See the schedule for a complete line-up of performances at www.asianfoodfest.org/entertainment. “Throughout the whole weekend, there is unique cultural entertainment and dances. We will also have national, Asian American singers and songwriters performing. One performer is Jamieboy, who is a highly talented Asian American singer out of Los Angeles, and we have a lot of other Asian American talent on the line-up as well, so we’re excited about all of the entertainment we have to offer throughout the weekend,” Dang said.
For more details, go to www.asianfoodfest.org or check out the festival information on Facebook and Instagram.