Have You Eaten? Gathered Austin’s AAPI Community to Celebrate Asian Cuisine and Culture in an Interactive Way
With chef-focused panel discussions, workshops and mingling, the foodie event sparked conversations around the common ground of food, which can be both culturally-specific and deeply universal
The month of May means the temps are heating up, summer is coming, and most importantly AAPI Heritage Month, a national celebration of Asian and Pacific Island culture. Last month, a talented group of local Austin business owners, influencers, chefs, and designers blended both of these annual occasions for Have You Eaten?, a studio event with workshops, panels, and a pop-up cafe.
Have You Eaten? sought to spark conversations around the common ground of food, which can be both culturally-specific and deeply universal. The event’s creators included entrepreneurs and thought leaders from all over our city, like Tanzia Karim of UrbGarden, the Gan Bei Gals, in bold company, Tega Collective, missfits events, food influencer Jennie Bender, and influencer Lucy Nguyen. They chose Dottiewood Studios, a photography studio in North Austin, as the event’s home base.
The pop-up cafe featured popular snacks and drinks from Asian nations
The Have You Eaten? team wanted their event to include a space where folks could grab a refreshing drink and a hearty bite while also getting to know their fellow attendees. Their pop-up cafe offered an impressive array of beverages of Asian and Pacific Islands origin, like iced matcha, iced chai, iced Vietnamese coffee, sparkling guava limeade (guava is a popularly-grown fruit in the Pacific Islands), and cantaloupe juice (a Filipino specialty).
As far as snacks went, Have You Eaten? looked to Austin bakeries to provide tasty treats like ube, pandan, and ume (Japanese plum) mint mochi donuts from Bom Bakeshop and black & white, dark chocolate, red velvet, strawberry, and vanilla cupcakes from Sprinkles Cupcakes, along with a handful of savory bites like Vietnamese egg rolls and a vegetarian spin on Vietnamese pâté chaud (traditionally a flaky hand pie stuffed with meat).
Home cooks had the chance to learn to make their very own hand-pulled noodles
With a deep and abiding love of toothsome hand-pulled noodles tossed in spicy chili oil, the noodle workshop offered at Have You Eaten? was a total win. The Gan Bei Gals, who are famous in Austin for their engaging Asian food pop-ups, led the class alongside ATX food blogger Jennie Bender. All attendees got a step-by-step and hands-on guided tour through the noodle recipe and took a serving of noodles home with them.
Another activity with a take-home treat was the fabric block printing class. Block printing, an art form in which practitioners carve a design into a small block of wood, dip it in ink, and use it as a stamp to create patterns of fabric, is an honored tradition throughout South Asia, and Have You Eaten? provided the opportunity for guests to get their hands inky and make some beautiful table linens. Folks from Tega Collective, a local clothing brand that works closely with Indigenous artisans, provided real-time guidance throughout the class.
A panel of AAPI community members and food enthusiasts discussed the crucial relationship that AAPI cultural traditions have with cooking and sharing food
Food is among the most universal subjects that human beings can relate to, but cultures also have unique and special ways of personalizing their dishes and their serving styles that speak to their histories and their heritage. Have You Eaten?’s panel discussion invited speakers like Nadia Chaudhury of Eater Austin, Sabrina Sha of Asian Texans for Justice, Lucy Nguyen of Chúng Mình Collective, Jennie Bender, and Regine Malibiran of missfits events to chat about their experiences with food as members of the AAPI community and how food can inform social change and support advocacy.
Have You Eaten? was delicious, creative, informative, and a generally wonderful way to cap off AAPI Heritage Month.
The passionate event founders are setting out to plan more pop-ups and activations in Austin throughout the year to keep th