Buffalo, NY

Canalside Welcomes Return of Asian Food and Culture Festival

J.M. Lesinski

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A shot of the Asian Food and Culture Festival at Canalside in Buffalo, New York on September 19, 2021.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

As Buffalo’s Canalside continues to see new development and activities growing on the shorefront day by day, a familiar festival made a triumphant return to the shores of Lake Erie, celebrating the Asian community in Western New York.

The Western New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization that operates under the Chinese Club of Western New York, proudly hosted the Asian Food and Culture festival, an annual outdoor event at Canalside on Sunday, September 19 to much success. The Western New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce is an integral part of the multicultural business community throughout the greater Buffalo metropolitan area.

Running from ten-thirty in the morning until seven-thirty in the evening, the festival showcased a number of live performances, art exhibitions, and a series of vendors selling specialty goods. Alongside the vendors were an incredible number of local Western New York restaurants that arguably stole the show with their phenomenal array of street foods, ice cold beverages, and restaurant staples.

“It was really cool to see all the different kinds of cuisine that were being offered,” said festival attendee Jasmine Wiggins. “Even though it is 2021, a lot of people still have a very singular idea of Chinese food as like, the buffet down the street, when the reality is there is so much more.”

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A shot of some merch tents and activities stands at the Asian Food and Culture Festival.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The festival once again served as a catalyst promoting the entrepreneurship of the Chinese American community in Western New York, permitting all the vendors and restaurants in attendance a chance to be seen outside of their storefronts. Those in attendance were thrilled to see the variety of incredible cuisines and art installations that presented themselves.

“My favorite place probably had to be Taste of Siam,” Wiggins also noted. “The spring rolls were amazing, then Hyderabad Biryani had a great menu out. They really showed a lot more of like, the extent of the cuisine. King Crab was great too, I think I heard somewhere they are opening another location on Walden Avenue in Buffalo, which is great because that is pretty close.”

The official schedule for the day began with the opening ceremony and subsequent children’s performances on the stage, allowing local youth an opportunity to showcase their talents to a wide audience. Following the children’s showcase, live local music ran from one in the afternoon to two in the afternoon, leading up to the Asian Fusion Parade at two.

“The one food item I cannot get over is the chicken kebab from China Taste,” commented festival attendee Mike Taylor. “The spices were the perfect mix of spicy and earthy, plus the chicken itself was cooked perfect, just to the edge of crispy. When chicken is brought right to that point of crispiness, that is the best.”

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The stage between acts at the Asian Food and Culture Festival.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The evening would later close out with more live music, and as stands were doing so good, many packed up after they were sold out and left before the festival was officially over. With the summer heat baring down on the shorefront, one can see why some elected to leave early, while others and many attendees basked in the summer sun while Buffalonians still have the chance.

“The kimchi burger that was on the food truck, Kcafe, that looked really interesting too,” Taylor also remarked. “I wish I could have tried it. Any kind of fusion food is always good. Variety is the real spice of life.”

In addition to the numerous stands and tents set up, Kcafe food truck made an appearance, offering up specialty fusion dish takes on the iconic burger and Canadian poutine. No matter the hunger, there were more than enough amazing locales to try at the Asian Food and Culture Festival.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program.

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Professional journalist for over five years, covering topics all up and down both coasts of the United States, including arts, music, food, politics, and culture. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY
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