When Asian Food Fest was canceled earlier this year due to the pandemic, the Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati still wanted to do something to celebrate Asian food culture. The result was last week’s Asian Food Week and the recent launch of Asianati.com, which “celebrates Asian food culture through stories, news, and an ever-growing directory of Asian restaurants, food trucks, markets, bakeries, and more.”
The website is the brainchild of AACAC board members Koji Sado and Bao Nguyen. “The Asian community is pretty spread out in Cincinnati,” says Caitlin Behle, Asianati.com’s co-editor. “We’re made up of a lot of different cultures and backgrounds, but we don’t have a lot of spaces for us to come together that are for us and by us.”
Events like Asian Food Fest drive annual interest in Asian food culture, but with the website, Bao and Koji saw an opportunity to create a permanent place to showcase and celebrate Asian-American culture. They’re still interested in building that, but Asianati felt like the right starting point.
Behle joined as a co-editor in the spring to help shape the storytelling for Asianati.com. “Asianati is definitely about food but really, it’s about people,” she says. “It’s about the cultures, histories, and experiences that tie us together. Asianati is an opportunity to hand the mic to the people eating and making these foods to tell us why these foods mean something to us.”