DALLAS (KDAF) — May 27th marked the last weekend of AAPI Month. Facebook group Asian Grub in DFDUB partnered up with Dallas’ Asian-inspired Cajun restaurant KRIO to benefit Make-A-Wish North Texas. Thus ending a month-long celebration of cultures by creating a platform for local Asian entrepreneurs for a good cause.
The Night Market stood as an example of support and opportunity for those who attended and participated. With over 20 plus vendors in the area, each person had their own individual story that inspired them to start their business. Including, those who helped put the event together.
“The Facebook group started with myself, Kimberly, Nancy, Elaine and Tran. We’re all college friends. So when the pandemic started, we were like, we need to figure out a way to like help these local Asian restaurants stay alive somehow. So we decided to start a group and then just add our friends and whatnot. So, and then we just kept adding friends and three years later, we got 50 plus to now over 50,000 people,” said Asian Grub in DFDUB Admin Vu Ly.
The group has since become a mecca for supporting Asian-owned businesses in the DFW community. Many of those featured in the group, say they owe the group support for the success seen at their business.
Owner of Coconut Paradise, a coconut jelly and dessert shop, Henry Jiang says that after a friend suggested for him to join the group, it brought more business.
“I had a Taiwanese friend who told me I should join the group after opening my store. And once I joined; it was amazing. It opened a new door for me. More people know me. So my business went to the next level,” he said.
Jiang believes events like the Night Market are important as they bring people out to experience new cultures and support new businesses.
“People are looking for fun and looking for some cultural influence. By having events like these, a lot of people get, you know, the opportunity to see different cultures and taste different foods. They are able to become involved in the community,” he said.
Many took the opportunity to promote not only food but also other brands like clothing and art. Including Linh Judin, who owns an online toys store, Itsy Bitty.
A “minority mama-owned business” that specializes in Montessorian-inspired gifts for babies. Judin drove four hours from Austin to Dallas after getting a call from a family member, who happens to be one of the owners of Krio. “I was like, super excited because I wanted to be able to showcase and be part of this event. It’s so amazing, right? I love that they’re showcasing and also showing the diversity between like, what we are capable of doing and what we have,” she continued.
Ches Rivera, owner of clothing brand, Kanto, shared the same sentiments. “It’s kind of nice to see other people come and mingle and try different types of foods that they normally wouldn’t. So it’s all about education,” he said.
The event included a live DJ, Lion dancers, a K-pop dance group called Fusion, and an opportunity for people to gather and discover new foods. As mentioned before, the event was also benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Guest Speaker Michelle Choi spoke about her experience with the foundation and how it helped changed her life for the better.
Krio Partner Connie Cheng was able to get in contact with Make-A-Wish North Texas for the event and says the proceeds made from the fast passes included in the event will go towards helping another Asian family in need.
AAPI Month proves once again that no matter your race or background, representation is important. As well as supporting your locally-owned minority businesses and communities.
Toan Luong, who works with Ampersand, a local small coffee company, put it perfectly by saying it sets the tone for the next generation. Ampersand knows what it means to represent, as they are the youngest in DFW airport history to open a location in the DFW Airport in the last 50 years.
“I think it’s really important; at least for us to participate because it sets the tone for the next generation, especially being of Asian heritage. Entrepreneurship isn’t really talked a lot. So this gives an opportunity for us not only to represent ourselves but to show like, you know, the next generation that it’s possible to start your own business,” Luong said.
Owner of Lean Hydration, an electrolyte drink company; Tang Wynn, said it’s never a better time to start than now.
“Support small local businesses! Everyone here on a food truck running … they’re all small businesses. It’s a good time to support them and see what they’re all about. See all the flavors that we pack in our dishes and our drinks,’ said Lean Hydration owner Tang Wynn.
If you missed the event and still want to donate to Make-A-Wish Foundation, you can do so here.