Far East Fest Celebrates Asian Food and Culture in Austin
All-you-can-eat bites from every corner of Asia
By Caitlin Davis,
2:30PM, Wed. Feb. 6, 2019
The second annual Far East Fest is a new anomaly in the way Texas does cultural festivals. “There are festivals that celebrate Korean food or Chinese culture, but there’s nothing that brings everything in together,” says Far East Fest co-founder Gavin Booth. “With our festival, we can celebrate all Asian cultures.”
Far East Fest is an all-you-can-eat adventure with 30-40 of Austin’s best Asian restaurants preparing a wide variety of dishes with roots in numerous countries including China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, India, and more. The fest’s goals go beyond pleasing palates: It's also keen on promoting local businesses and spreading cultural awareness.
Founders of the festival, Booth and Min Choe share a long-time adoration for Asian food and the local culinary scene. You might recognize Booth from the popular Instagram account, @CoupleInTheKitchen. The dynamic duo create what Booth calls “a perfect mix,” with Booth being a marketing specialist and Choe a local restaurateur and advocate for the growth of Asian restaurants. “Obviously we’re going to support the Austin restaurants that are huge and everyone knows,” Booth says. “But our goal is to always support mom and pop restaurants that don’t get media. We want to bring marketing and other things to these small businesses and customers that they’d never have access to before.”
Attendees and judges (the Chronicle’s own Wayne Alan Brenner is on the judging panel this year) rate each chef and restaurant based on flavor and creativity. The festival will also include a much larger stage than the previous year with numerous singers and dancers, making the stage more of a centerpiece and creating a far more immersive experience. Performers include Austin Dance India, the Love of China School of Dance, and many more.
If all-you-can-eat Asian food from dozens of local restaurants isn’t enough, the festival features vegetarian and vegan eats in addition to options for those with dietary restrictions. Far East Fest is an official partner of Caring for Cambodia, so a portion of the festival’s proceeds will go toward building schools for Cambodian children.
The Far East Fest
Saturday, Feb. 9, 11:30am-5:30pm
HMart, 11301 Lakeline Blvd.
$45 ($15 for kids and $100 for VIP)