Asian Food Week Returns to Cincinnati

This year, Asian Food Week will coincide with Lunar New Year celebrations.

click to enlarge Tonkotsu ramen from Maki Express Ramen House, which is participating in Asian Food Week - PHOTO: CATIE VIOX/ASIAN FOOD WEEK
Photo: Catie Viox/Asian Food Week
Tonkotsu ramen from Maki Express Ramen House, which is participating in Asian Food Week

Asian Food Week is returning to Greater Cincinnati Jan. 31-Feb. 6.

Organizers, the Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati, say the goal of the week is to support "local Asian businesses in light of the continued challenges with COVID-19 and staffing shortage in the restaurant industry."

"Asian Food Week, to me, promotes the diverse amount of Asian food we have in Cincinnati. The Asian food scene has had immense growth over the years," the AACAC's Lam Dang tells CityBeat. "There used to be the Vietnamese place, the Thai place and the Chinese place. Now there are plenty of places with many different varieties of Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese food."

"We also now have more regions and countries represented in Cincinnati. There are Nepalese, Laotian, Cambodian, Malaysian and many more countries serving legit delicious food here," Dang continues.

The AACAC had to cancel its annual Asian Food Fest in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and launched the inaugural Asian Food Week to take its place. While Asian Food Fest itself returned to Court Street Plaza in October of 2021, Asian Food Week has proved so popular, AACAC is bringing it back. And this time, it coincides with the Lunar New Year, ushering in of the Year of the Tiger.

"Lunar New Year, for some families, is the largest holiday every year. It's centered around celebration with family and friends and generally (the) celebration is centered around food," Dang says. "Lunar New Year celebrates the new year based on the lunar calendar (or 12 full moon cycles). (It) is all about starting the new year fresh with fortune, luck, happiness and health."

Dang says Asian Food Week will help ring in the new year with delicious food and will celebrate the city's growing Asian culture.

During Asian Food Week, participating Greater Cincinnati restaurants will be offering either a $20 or $30 three-course prix fixe meal, and/or a secret menu item. "The secret menu special is a nod to the unlisted menu often found at many Asian restaurants in America that include traditional dishes that may not conform to mainstream American tastes," reads a release from the AACAC.

As Asia encompasses an extensive collection of cuisines, so too will Asian Food Week with offerings from Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indian, Chinese restaurants and more.

Here's the current menu lineup (check asianati.com for menu updates before the event):
  • Arawan Thai Sushi (Cold Spring) — $20 three-course meal
  • Bridges Nepali Cuisine (Northside and Over-the-Rhine) — $20 three-course meal with dumplings, medium rice bowl with one topping and mango lassi or hot milk chai
  • Chako Bakery Cafe (Covington) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Dean's Mediterranean Imports (Findlay Market) — Secret menu item: Ful Mdemes (stewed fava beans with garlic and olive oil)
  • Deme Kitchen (Over-the-Rhine) — $20 three-course meal
  • Dope! Asian Street Fare (Downtown, Anderson and Hyde Park) — $20 three-course meal
  • Fusabowl (Clifton, Colerain, Mason, Western Hills and Woodlawn) — $20 three-course meal
  • Kampuchea Kitchen (Fort Thomas) — $30 three-course meal
  • Deme Kitchen (Over-the-Rhine) — $20 three-course meal
  • Dope! Asian Street Fare (Downtown, Anderson and Hyde Park) — $20 three-course meal
  • Fusabowl (Clifton, Colerain, Mason, Western Hills and Woodlawn) — $20 three-course meal
  • Kampuchea Kitchen (Fort Thomas) — $30 three-course meal with Pahut, a Cambodian fish cake with chives, lemongrass, chilies and galangal, or roasted bone marrow with a chimichurri; Amok Trei, an aromatic custardy steamed fish curry served with jasmine rice, or Saraman Beef Curry, a braised short-rib curry with pickled shallots, chilies and braised peanuts; and jasmine poached pear with honey whipped mascarpone/ricotta and a sesame tuile. They are also offering a secret menu item: Nom Plai Ai, a sticky, sweet glutinous rice dumpling with ginger syrup, served in a banana leaf cone.
  • Khana Gourmet Indian Grill (Oakley) — TBD
  • Kiki College Hill (College Hill) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Lalo Chino Latino (Downtown) — $20 three-course meal and secret menu item
  • Maki Express Ramen House (Clifton) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Milk Jar Cafe (Hyde Park) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Milk Jar Station (West Chester) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Oriental Wok (Hyde Park) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Pho Lang Thang (Over-the-Rhine) — TBD
  • Pin Toh Asian (Anderson) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Queen's Bakery (Mason) — Secret menu item:
  • Khana Gourmet Indian Grill (Oakley) — TBD
  • Kiki College Hill (College Hill) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Lalo Chino Latino (Downtown) — $20 three-course meal and secret menu item
  • Maki Express Ramen House (Clifton) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Milk Jar Cafe (Hyde Park) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Milk Jar Station (West Chester) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Oriental Wok (Hyde Park) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Pho Lang Thang (Over-the-Rhine) — TBD
  • Pin Toh Asian (Anderson) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Queen's Bakery (Mason) — Secret menu item: “Fortune Bag” cake and red velvet brûlée milk tea combo
  • Raja Indian (Mason) — $20 three-course meal
  • Raman Hachi (Oxford) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Raja Indian (Mason) — $20 three-course meal TBD
  • Raman Hachi (Oxford) — Secret menu item TBD
  • Sago Eurasian Cuisine and Rotisserie (Mount Lookout) — $20 three-course meal with pork bun, chicken curry puff or vegetarian samosa; choice of rotisserie meat; and mango rice or Sago Gula Melaka
  • Swagat India House (West Chester) — $20 three-course meal
  • Tea 'n' Bowl (Clifton) — $30 three-course meal with pork belly bao, edamame or Malaysian satay crispy tofu; Hainanese chicken rice, Thai green curry chicken or Thai Basil fried rice w. tofu; and crispy sesame ball, crispy mantou with milo cream or chilled mango pomelo sago
  • Teak Thai and Sushi (Over-the-Rhine) — $30 three-course meal with dim sim, spring rolls or Sunday Morning roll; pad Thai chicken, red curry salmon or pepper garlic beef; and passion fruit mousse, mango with sticky rice or ginger crème brulee.
  • Thai Express (Clifton) — $20 three-course meal TBD
  • Uncle Yip's (Evendale) — $20 three-course meal TBD

For more information, visit asianati.com.

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