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More Asian restaurants needed at Taste of Alhambra festival?

Food critic Jonathan Gold has had a storied career, a large part of which has been spent covering Asian restaurants in Alhambra. As such, people took notice when he commented on Sunday's Taste of Alhambra festival via Twitter. Specifically, his tweet concerned the lack of Asian residents in  poster ad for the event: "Is it just me, or is it odd that the poster for Taste of Alhambra doesn't include a single Asian?"The quote spurred a discussion that turned to the festival's lineup of restaurants. Alhambra's highly-regarded collection of Asian establishments, many of which are located on Valley Boulevard, was largely absent. The majority of participants at the festival hailed from Main Street. Included were Fonteras Mexican Grill and Cantina, Diner on Main and Alondra Hot Wings.Owen Guenthard, executive director at the Chamber of Commerce, said that event planners had the intension of including all Alhambra restaurants. "We don't discern by ethnic groups," Guenthard said. "We want to promote the city as well, so it's logical for us to promote all restaurants. And this is a charitable event, so we want everyone to be out there." The Chamber helped with outreach and promotion for the event."We made an attempt to reach out to all restaurants," said Sharon Gibbs, who is in charge of business outreach at the Chamber. "We sent mailings. We also sent out emails and phone calls. In the end it was their choice on if it would be a worthwhile promotion."The annual festival, held near the intersection of Second Street and Main, was presented by The Downtown Alhambra Business Association as a way to connect residents with Alhambra's restaurants. For a $45 entrance fee, attendees were treated to food from local establishments, wine and live music. Proceeds went to the Alhambra Educational Fund, which helped coordinate the event.Gibbs noted that the festival was free of charge for restaurants who wanted to participate, though they were expected to provide their own food. Event coordinators also provided staffing, as well as heating and cooking accommodations for vendors. Gibbs added that while the event was pitched as a promotional opportunity, some restaurant owners may not have seen it as an ideal venue to showcase their food. "Sometimes the whole purpose is to present the food fresh," Gibbs said, explaining that the issue of transporting food may be an issue for restaurants located away from Main Street.According to Kerry Lam, a shift manager at Boiling Crab's Main Street location, the restaurant was aware of the event, but did not consider participating. Lam added that some of the more traditional Asian restaurants may feel skeptical towards the festival. "I don't think they're used to it. It's just not something they'd do," Lam said.

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7 thoughts on “More Asian restaurants needed at Taste of Alhambra festival?”

  1. did anyone think about how many these “Asian” restaurants just don’t need the promotion? From the looks of it they get by just fine without going to these events.

    as for some of the other comments made here the majority of people in SGV is Asian so wouldn’t the majority of people in lines and such be Asian…

    and food truck food is awesome everyone waits in line for it

  2. Are you kidding me? Jonathan Gold is an idiot. I have been to the Taste of Alhambra for the past 7 years. There have been many asian restuarants there and at this one. Pho 79, Shakas Hawaiian, Cha For Tea and Z Best Banana Pudding were all in attendance

    Sushi Crane and Thai Purple did not return from last year and Hop Woo Chinese Food was closed for Health Department violatons.

    Maybe the article should of been written about what a great event it was and how it helps our schools, as AEF is the non-profit group that helps run the event.

    1. If I understand correctly it appears that Mr. Gold’s observation was merely that the poster itself was absent any Asians, not that the event didn’t include any Asian restaurants.

      The story above then extended the question as to whether more Asian restaurants needed to be included, and investigated if efforts had been made to do so.

      I have read in more than one place that Chinese is actually the most commonly spoken language in Alhambra, with Spanish and English following. Though I’ve not actually seen data on this.

      If that is the case, and given the population ratio, it would seem to make sense that a city-wide event like this would include posters in multiple languages (or at least include multiple languages on a single poster) and beyond that – perhaps the invitations to the restaurants themselves might benefit from the same.

      I can also see how the entrance fee might be an issue. I’m not saying it’s not a good value once you get in, but $45 per person to get in (especially these days) likely kept a number of people away, and maybe even kept some restaurants from participating.

      Perhaps modifying the system of invitation, advertisement and maybe even a ticketing system where there is no entry fee but you pay X dollars for individual food tickets (buying as many or as few as you like) and then trade those tickets for food at the stands might help to make the event an even bigger success, in any number of ways.

      1. Tastes of the Nation $100, VIP $150. LA Truck Fest (or whatever it’s called) $60. Let’s just say it’s not the price.

        Per Ali, the event planner: “I asked them [Asians] all to come, they said no”. End of story, no one’s fault but the Asians. They will, however, pay $45 to eat ant eggs at a pop up restaurant in DTLA though.

  3. Esteban Sanchez

    Typically Asians dont give Free but they certainly will stand in line for it, as stated by Kerry Lam. So if food critic Jonathan Gold would like to know why he should ask CACA or some other Asian organization in the area.

    1. Estaban. You certainly are about Asians standing in line for free food. Yesterday at Costco, (I’m not kidding), there were approximately 12 to 15 Asians standing in line to get a piece of ice cream bar, I think it was a Dove bar. I walked by just shaking my head.

  4. Good story. Interesting how it took someone from outside the city to make note of this.

    Also, the Taste of Alhambra poster is in english. Having some info in Spanish and/or chinese in the english version could have widened the event’s appeal. I wonder if there were spanish or chinese versions of the poster.