Sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce
Back by popular demand! The Secret Menu booth, featuring creative Asian food from home chefs and aspiring food entrepreneurs, returns to Asian Food Fest for the second time on May 13-14, 12-9pm in Washington Park. This is a special chance for foodies to get a taste of a homecooked Asian meal from local amateur chefs who are excited to share their culinary creations with the public.
The term “Secret Menu” comes from a common practice at many Asian restaurants in America. These restaurants often have a separate hidden menu that isn’t offered to customers unless they ask for it. These menus tend to be more traditional and authentic, with the menu items typically written in the native language.
With this concept in mind, the Asian Food Fest Secret Menu co-op program features “mom-and-pop” chefs and amateur cooks serving up authentic and unique dishes that might otherwise be hard to find in Cincinnati. Our team knows that running your own booth and cooking for large crowds at a 2-day festival can be intimidating for first-timers — that’s why we help our Secret Menu chefs with funding, infrastructure, and planning for the festival, so they can focus on cooking the foods that they love.
The Secret Menu booth reflects Asian Food Fest’s overall mission to promote and highlight authentic and creative Asian cuisine in the region, and to encourage more individuals to contribute to Cincinnati’s growing Asian food scene.
See below for details about this year’s Secret Menu chefs and the items they’ll be serving each day!
Chefs Evan, Monica, Jenny, and Tony
- Spicy Wontons: A traditional Chinese food. Wontons are filled with ground pork, shrimp, ginger, and spices, topped with homemade Sichuan style chili sauce, green onion, cilantro and sesame seeds.
- Pang Balls (Sesame Rice Balls): Called Yuan Xiao in the North and Tang Yuan in the South of China, this dish is usually eaten at Chinese Traditional Lantern Festival, but also served as a dessert on Chinese Wedding day. It’s a glutinous rice ball with fillings of different kinds, of which the most popular fillings are ground black sesame and ground peanut mixed with sugar. *vegetarian
- Plum Tea: Originating from China, plum tea is a soothing blend of dried plums, black tea, and other natural herbs. When steeped, the tea produces a light plum hue, a sweet aroma, and a lightly sweet taste with a hint of tart. *vegetarian
- Grilled Paneer Sliders: Paneer (fresh cheese) grilled with hints of ginger, garlic and cumin, topped with a zesty curry infused slaw and fresh mint chutney, all squeezed inside a toasted bun. Yum! *vegetarian
- Tandoori Chicken Wings: An American twist on a North Indian classic. Wings marinated in yogurt and a blend of Indian spices, baked and fried to a perfect crisp. Coated with fresh lime juice and a blend of spices, creating a tart, tangy and flavorful kick!
Read AFF Blog Post: Nav’s Flawless Indo-American Fusion
- แกงหมู – Gkaeng Hunglay Moo (Northern Thai Pork Curry): A popular Northern Thai curry with Burmese origins. This is a rich slow cooked pork curry that is spicy, sweet, sour and salty containing peanuts and ginger and topped with cilantro. This curry is different from many curries because it does not contain coconut milk. There are many variations of this dish throughout Northern Thailand.
- ไข่ลูกเขย – Kai Look Keuy (Son-in-Law Eggs): Deep fried soft-boiled eggs covered with a sweet, sour, salty sauce, sprinkled with fried garlic, fried shallots, fried Thai chili and cilantro. *Thai legend is that if a man is not being a good husband, then the mother-in-law will come to the home and make this dish to warn him that next time it won’t be eggs that she’ll be deep frying.