"IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures

Event Date: 
Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 5:00pm to Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 5:00pm
Free Event
Included Items: 
"IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures," will celebrate the reopening of the Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler galleries Oct. 14 and 15 with an exciting "first." Building on the museum's legacy of fostering empathy for other cultures, the reopening will unite diverse groups of visitors and local Asian restaurateurs in the first-ever Asian night market on the National Mall. The festival's food activities will extend beyond the museum grounds with sights, scents and tastes. Visitors can stroll through the market to find out more about unique ingredients and techniques from participating chefs who will also offer a behind-the-scenes look at their cooking.
Food is an essential ingredient in the telling of cultural stories and interactions of where Asia meets America: through aromas, flavors and recipes passed down for generations and in kitchens, dining rooms and restaurants across the country. As part of this ongoing exploration of food as culture, Freer|Sackler tapped Simone Jacobson, a Burmese American culinary entrepreneur and former commissioner for the Washington, D.C. Mayor's Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs, to collaborate with local chefs and restaurants to participate in the festival and share their distinct cultural histories through food.
In recent years, many stories have highlighted the dynamic culinary innovations and contributions made in American cuisine by Asians, the fastest growing racial group in the United States today. Using readily available ingredients and resources, they have been transforming longstanding culinary traditions. In 2016, Bon Appétit magazine named Washington's own Bad Saint, known for its Filipino comfort food, as the No. 2 restaurant in all of America. During the past five years, globally inspired food markets and food halls have become cultural staples in major metropolitan areas. While the excitement of Asian Night Markets have been experienced in cities throughout California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania, Washingtonians have yet to experience the multisensory journey in the nation's capital.
Culinary programming at IlluminAsia will include a lively food market representing diverse traditions from Asian and Middle Eastern diasporas, cooking demonstrations featuring local and international chefs, tea tastings, a book signing, a global spice lounge and an imaginative DIY zine cookbook project and pop-up library.
Food vendors and food demonstrations include:
A full list of activities and schedule of events for "IlluminAsia" is available at http://www.freersackler.si.edu/reopening/illuminasia.asp.