Celebrate and Support the AAPI Community at these Houston Restaurant Events

Combo Phở from AAPI Restaurant Weeks participant Kâu Ba. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) and Houston — which boasts one of the largest and most diverse Asian-American communities in the country — has numerous fun and delicious ways to support, celebrate and discover these diverse culinary traditions. 

Patronizing local Asian-American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses this month means that your dollars go toward providing much-needed revenue during a challenging time for the restaurant industry. In addition, the events noted below will help feed vulnerable AAPI families, seniors and frontline workers and support these groups’ community outreach programs. Plus you get to enjoy some of the best cuisine in the country, so that’s a win-win!

Asian American And Pacific Islander Restaurant Weeks

Crawfish & Garlic Noodles from AAPI Restaurant Weeks Participant The Blind Goat. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Crawfish & Garlic Noodles from AAPI Restaurant Weeks participant The Blind Goat. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

OCA-Greater Houston’s Asian-American and Pacific Islander Restaurant Weeks is returning for its fifth year with over 50 restaurants participating across the Houston area to celebrate the culinary heritage of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans, support local businesses and raise money to assist low-income AAPI seniors. The month-long dining showcase will run from May 1 to June 15.

During this time, patrons can make contributions of $25 or more online, and receive an AAPI Restaurant Week digital passport with a QR code to access specials, discounts and promotional goodies from AAPI and AAPI-owned restaurants throughout the city. These include The Blind Goat, Lena’s Asian Kitchen, 93’-Til, Kâu Ba, South X Saigon, Ninja Ramen, Fung’s Kitchen, Be More Pacific and more. 

Visit the 2024 Participants page to see the full list of restaurants. (There’s no cost to sign up as a participating restaurant, bakery or food truck. Those interested in participating or becoming a corporate sponsor can visit the website for more information.)

Fried Chicken Sandwich from Asian Restaurant Month participant 93-Til. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Fried Chicken Sandwich from AAPI Restaurant Weeks participant 93-Til. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Purchasing your $25 pass for AAPI Restaurant Weeks will also gain access to a special discount for the HAAPI Film Festival (Houston Asian Pacific Islander Film Festival), which features more than 100 movie screenings and will take place from May 30 to June 14. 

OCA is a non-profit, non-partisan community advocacy organization, the purpose of which is to “advance the social, political and economic well-being of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders” with a focus on developing advocacy, leadership training, educational workshops, citizenship assistance, scholarships and civic engagement. The volunteer-driven Greater Houston chapter has a goal for 2024 to reach more than 1,200 seniors with rice and noodles care packages with funds collected during AAPI Restaurant Weeks.

Burger Bodega Guest Chef Series Volume IV: AAPI Edition With Khói Barbecue

Burger Bodega owner Abbas Dhanani and Khói Barbecue owner Don Nguyen. Photo by Luke Chang of Jia Media.
Burger Bodega owner Abbas Dhanani and Khói Barbecue owner Don Nguyen. Photo by Luke Chang of Jia Media.

Burger Bodega, located at 4520 Washington, is partnering with renowned Vietnamese barbecue pop-up Khói Barbecue for an AAPI installment of Burger Bodega’s guest chef series. Burger Bodega chef-owner Abbas Dhanani’s and Khói owner-pitmaster Don Nguyen’s menu collaboration features a Curry Chopped Cheese Bánh mì with Khói Curry No. 1 sauce and Chopped Brisket Disco Fries

The event is on Wednesday, May 8 starting at 5 p.m. Expect to arrive early as these tend to sell out. “I am very excited to partner again with [Nguyen] for this upcoming AAPI pop-up!,” said Dhanani, who sells Khoi Curry No. 1 sauce at his restaurant. Before opening Burger Bodega, Dhanani would frequently host pop-ups with Nguyen to promote their businesses and added that “this will be a nostalgic moment to bring this back” and it will serve as “another amazing way to showcase the diversity of Houston food while celebrating AAPI heritage.”

Dine Out And Support Asia Society

Pad Thai at Street to Kitchen. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Pad Thai at Street to Kitchen. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Several Houston-area, AAPI-owned restaurants are hosting exclusive dinners and specials, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Asia Society Texas Center. On May 17, the Asia Society is hosting Homegrown Houston: “All Asian, No Fusion”, a tasting tour curated by James Beard Award for Best Chef: Texas-winner Benchawan Jabthong Painter and Graham Painter of Street to Kitchen. It features standout dishes and beverages presented by chefs Suu Khin of Burmalicious, Evelyn Garcia and Henry Lu of Jūn, Manabu Horiuchi of Katami, Vanarin Kuch of Koffeteria, Musaafer’s Mayank Istwal and Xin Chào’s Tony Nguyen. Tickets for this star-studded event can be purchased online, with a discount given to Asia Society members.

Blood Bros. BBQ is hosting a ticketed six-course dinner on Thursday, May 23, starring AAPI chefs from Pacha Nikkei, North China Restaurant, Soy Pinoy, burger-chan and Phat Eatery with desserts by Josh Deleon of Underground Creamery. Courses will be paired with cocktails by Sugar Land-based syrup company Levels of Grandeur. Tickets for this event cost $150 per person and can be booked by emailing Blood Bros. co-owner Robin Wong.  

Thai Peanut Butter Sticky Ribs and Thai Green Curry Boudin from Blood Bros. BBQ. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Thai Peanut Butter Sticky Ribs and Thai Green Curry Boudin from Blood Bros. BBQ. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Other businesses such as Riel, Parlor Doughnuts, Raising Cane’s and Sunday Press are offering specials and discounts on drinks and small bites throughout May. Click here to view the full list of participants.

The Asia Society is also featuring 31 Ways to Celebrate in May and Beyond Presented by Regions Bank which highlights Asia Society’s live programs, a curated selection of on-demand activities and staff recommendations. Visit the Asia Society’s online calendar to learn more about these events.

AAPI Heritage Month Evening Food Tour 

On Sunday, May 19, Houston Asiatown Tours, in partnership with Visit Houston, is hosting a guided tour starting with Korean barbecue at Handam BBQ, located at 6609 West Sam Houston Parkway. From there, tour guides will lead participants on an evening stroll through Asiatown to discuss the cultural history of the area, with a chance to visit the local shops along the way, including a Korean market.

The evening will end on a sweet note, with a dessert of your choice such as Korean shaved ice mochi or mochi donuts. Visit the website for tickets and information.

Asian Restaurant Month 

Tonkatsu Curry Don from Asian Restaurant Month participant 5 Kinokawa. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Tonkatsu Curry Don from Asian Restaurant Month participant 5 Kinokawa. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Houston’s Asian Chamber of Commerce is hosting Asian Restaurant Month with over 130 participating restaurants throughout the city. The event, presented by wholesale restaurant distributor Sysco, utilizes a free mobile exclusive digital pass, which is available by signing up through the website, and delivered instantly via text and email. The pass is valid from May 1 to May 31 and guests can access a directory of participating restaurants and promotions, as well as search options by category, cuisine and location. 

Passholders earn points by visiting these restaurants, and the more they visit, the more prizes they can unlock. These prizes include items such as tote bags, t-shirts and a utensil set. When visiting a participating business, simply present your phone to a staff member to redeem available discounts.

Marinated Barbecue Pork Belly with lumpia, shrimp chips, rice and atcharra from Asian Restaurant Month participant Soy Pinoy. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Marinated Barbecue Pork Belly with lumpia, shrimp chips, rice and atcharra from Asian Restaurant Month participant Soy Pinoy. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Participating businesses include 5 Kinokawa, multiple locations of Airi Poke & Ramen, Himalaya Restaurant, Bori South Korean Steakhouse, Dak & Bop, Crawfish & Noodles Viet-Cajun Cuisine, Hidden Omakase and more.

The Asian Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization led by a diverse, multicultural group of Asian American leaders and frequently hosts and supports numerous activities around the city. Click here to learn more about its current programs and opportunities.

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