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First-ever Asian food carnival comes to downtown Halifax

Events serve as cultural communication through food, drink

4 min read
caption One of the participating vendors Jinyeong Yu sold Korean snacks on Nov. 6. (Lan Jianfu/ The Signal Halifax)
Lan Jianfu

Hundreds of people paid a visit to the first Asian food carnival in downtown Halifax on Saturday.

The carnival, called Off the Eaten Path, was organized by a local group called Lumi Studios to share Asian food and culture. The event had two parts. Part one, called Asian Food Weekend, allowed customers to order special priced beverages and food in participating restaurants. The Asian food carnival, which saw vendors gathered on the waterfront to sell their food and drink, is the second part. More than 25 restaurants took part in the carnival, though most of them couldn’t make it to the second part.

“We have prepared this carnival for a month and a half. During that time, we were so busy that we didn’t have enough time to sleep,” Richard Yang, business development director of Lumi Studios, said in an interview conducted in Mandarin. “But thank God it works really well today. The number of customers is beyond my expectation.”

Lumi Studios, a media and production company in Halifax, promoted the event on social media and gave out posters and flyers in the participating restaurants.

“We came here specifically for the festival. I saw the post on Halifax Noise and then I looked in Twitter and went to see the Instagram page,” Brianna Currie said.

caption A group of festival-goers enjoyed their bubble tea.

“I love bubble tea. And I went to a Korean barbecue with my friends a few weeks ago. It was really good,” said Bryana Oakey, a high school student. “I’m looking forward to see more Asian food here.”

More than 10 businesses showed up in Waterfront Salt Yard on Saturday. There were desserts, bubble tea, Korean snacks and some crafts.

“There are so many people here. The bubble tea we brought here are sold out,” Cindy Zhao, the owner of ZenQ in downtown Halifax, said in Mandarin. “My partner is going back to get more bubble tea.”

The same thing happened to the Sugar Bakery, said Joyce Liu, who helped organize the festival. All of their cakes and desserts were sold out by 2 p.m.  and they had to go back to bring more products.

caption Not only was there food and drink, there were also crafts at the carnival.

The idea of the carnival was to create “culture communication through delicious food,” Liu, CEO of Lumi Studio, said in Mandarin.

The Spring Garden Area Business Association is one of the sponsors of the event. Manager Kjeld Mizpah Conyers-Steede said food is a great conversation starter that can get people to share their cultures. He also said this is a good way to foster new commerce in Halifax by funding this type of event.

caption Joyce Liu and Kjeld Mizpah Conyers-Steede helped organize the event.

“There will be more events like this in the future,” Liu said. “Events like African food or Barbecue Day, we plan to organize next year. There even would be little competition for foods from different countries.”

Liu said there should have been more different kinds of food in the carnival. But most of the restaurants don’t have enough workers to sell food outside due to the pandemic. “It’s a little pity,” said Liu. “But we will be better next time.”

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