This weekend’s Asian Food Fest celebrates culture, has nearly 50 vendors

Monday marks the beginning of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

Asian Food Fest, a celebration of Asian food, culture and entertainment, will begin the 2023 festival season by highlighting the customs and cuisine from Asian countries.

“This is the biggest Asian Food Fest ever. In the past, we’ve generally had about 40 vendors. This year, we have around 50 vendors, serving 170 or more dishes, and they are all unique dishes as well,” said Lam Dang of Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati.

He said, “We also want to make sure that it stays true to the Asian Food Fest of bringing new and authentic food to the festival.”

Asian Food Fest is this weekend at Court Street Plaza in downtown Cincinnati. It is free to attend.

With Kroger and P&G as presenting sponsors, the festival will be on East Court Street, between Vine and Walnut, along the Court Street Plaza in the Central Business District. The area has a pedestrian-friendly layout with widened sidewalks.

Guests will experience Asian food, culture and entertainment during both days of the festival. Monday also marks the beginning of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, which celebrates the culture and contributions of the AAPI Community.

Asian Food Fest was launched in 2010, and it started as a passion project for a group of friends, who identified that the city had an Italian Fest and Oktoberfest, but there was nothing to represent Asian heritage. Instead of sitting around talking about it, they wanted to do something about it, and Asian Food Fest was founded.

The first festival drew 1,000 attendees with three vendors. The festival has grown to one of the largest festivals in Greater Cincinnati. 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.

“I’m excited about the amount of food that there is going to be. For myself, I will not even know where to get started. Just looking at the list of food vendors, it’s going to be tough to choose what to eat,” Dang said. “I’m also excited about the entertainment. We have over 20 hours of entertainment at the Asian Food Festival this year.”

Food vendors represent more than 15 countries in Asia, and will feature Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese and Japanese food, to name a few. Specialties will include dishes like Pad Thai, Beef Rendang and Korean Fried Chicken, among others.

There will also be a special section of 10 “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 $10 per item. Soft drinks, water, boba teas, craft and local beers as well as Asian beers, wine and sake will also be available.

The festival will also highlight Asian American talent with more than 100 performers and entertainers, which will be featured over the course of the weekend. Guests will experience diverse musicians, a variety of traditional dance styles and more. Performances will begin at noon each day.

New this year there will be performances by AAPI comedians on Saturday and Sunday nights. On Saturday evening, there will be a karaoke contest. Another highlight on Saturday will be the Bhangra X Bollywood Block Party (dance party) with DJ Vikas and DJ Mowgli at 7 p.m. There will be two stages, including a Main Stage and a DJ stage.

Activities such as a chopstick workshop and Sand Rangoli (sand art) will begin at 11 a.m. both days. See the schedule for a complete line-up of performances and activities at

How to go

What: Asian Food Fest

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Court Street Plaza, Downtown Cincinnati

Cost: Free admission; items are available for purchase

More info: