Explore Asia's rainbow of flavors for 2023 AAPI Restaurants Week

Leah Hope Image
Friday, May 12, 2023
Explore Asia's rainbow of flavors for 2023 AAPI Restaurants Week
Asian American Pacific Islander Restaurants Week is going on around the Chicagoland area.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Kitchen prep for the dinner rush is even busier in the kitchen of Saigon Sisters.

Friday night is the start of Asian American Pacific Islander Restaurants Week. This restaurant is among more than 50 AAPI-owned restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs offering specials through the next week.

"It allows these people with this heritage to showcase their culture," said Saigon Sisters owner Mary Aregoni. "I hope people understand there's a lot of diversity in Asian cuisine. Even within South Asia, there is a very distinct difference between Thai food, Vietnamese food, Laotian food."

Aregoni came to the U.S. as Vietnamese refugee with her family as a child. In business now for 12 years, she is offering a pre-fix special that combines her love of Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai foods.

From fresh sushi, to sizzling stir-fry and tasty satay, there's something for everyone.

"People like to see something that has been curated for them, that's a good deal and something new to try," Aregoni said.

Mabel Menard started AAPI Restaurants Week last year. This year, the number of participants nearly doubled. She heads Asian Pacific American Advocates of Greater Chicago, the nonprofit organization that typically advocates for justice and equity. She also is a Chicago foodie who saw the power in bringing people together over food.

"People are quite adventurous when it comes to food, but that doesn't mean they'll accept us as people. So, we want to say, 'here we are, come try our food get to know us,'" Menard said.

You can sample the specials for yourself. AAPI Restaurant Week goes through May 21.

For a list of participating businesses involved in the second annual AAPI Restaurants Week, click here.