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AAPI Heritage Month in Orlando

aapi month in orlando

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. In Orlando, particularly in the Mills 50 District, this month takes on special significance due to the district’s rich tapestry of AAPI influences.

The AAPI Community in Orange County

Over 4 percent of Orlando’s population is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent, creating a vibrant hub of diverse cultures and traditions. The community’s growth in Orlando is traced back to the 1970s. Vietnamese refugees began building their lives here, greatly contributing to the city’s social, economic, and political fabric. Today, the influence of second to fourth-generation Vietnamese Americans is unmistakable, especially in the Mills 50 district.

A Cultural Mosaic

Mills 50 stands out in Orlando for its dynamic Vietnamese influence. It’s visible in many Vietnamese restaurants, shops, and service providers. The district is a focal point for the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, or Tet Festival, a celebration rich in tradition and community spirit.

Yet, the AAPI presence in Mills 50 and Orlando at large isn’t limited to Vietnamese culture. The district is a melting pot, home to Chinese, Asian-Indian, Filipino, Korean, and other communities, each contributing uniquely to Orlando’s cultural landscape.

Culinary Excellence in Mills 50

Food is a universal language, and Mills 50 showcases this with its variety of MICHELIN Guide restaurants. Enjoy Sichuan spice at Chuan Lu Garden, innovative sushi at EDOBOY, or Filipino fusion at Kaya. The district features authentic Asian flavors with establishments like Little Saigon and Shin Jung.

Architectural and Cultural Landmarks

Orlando celebrates AAPI cultures with distinctive architecture that reflects its diverse influences. The ting at Lake Eola Park symbolizes Orlando’s bond with Guilin, China, while a Japanese rock garden there highlights ties with Taipei, Taiwan. These elements demonstrate the rich cultural exchanges within our community.

Embracing AAPI Heritage

AAPI Heritage Month in Mills 50 is a tribute to the AAPI community’s enduring contributions to Orlando. It’s a time to acknowledge struggles, celebrate achievements, and foster unity and respect. Here, the AAPI legacy is an active part of daily life, contributing to Mills 50’s identity and Orlando’s cultural diversity.


Explore Michelin Guide Restaurants in 32803 during AAPI Heritage Month

Those craving authentic Asian cuisine will find that 32803 is a gem full of AAPI-owned eateries, including several acclaimed by the MICHELIN Guide:

  • EDOBOY: Experience Orlando’s first and only standing sushi bar, recommended by MICHELIN. Note: Due to its intimate eight-seat arrangement, you must make reservations.
  • Sticky Rice: Experience Laotian cuisine in a fast-casual setting, offering tapas-style dishes.
  • Tori Tori: A unique blend of eclectic cocktail bar and traditional Japanese pub, recommended by MICHELIN.
  • Shin Jung Korean BBQ: Since 1993, this MICHELIN-recommended restaurant has served traditional Korean dishes in Central Florida.
  • Kaya: This MICHELIN-recommended Filipino restaurant is renowned for blending the freshest Florida ingredients with traditional Filipino recipes.
  • Domu: A modern restaurant and bar serving ramen & Asian small plates, cocktails, sake, wine and beer.
  • Zaru: A MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmand awarded Japanese udon shop serving delicious handmade cold and hot noodles bowls.
  • Z Asian: Another MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmand recipient, serving authentic Vietnamese dishes with options for vegans, and famous for its pho.
  • JUJU: There’s omakase at the Kappo bar and Japanese charcoal-fired dishes in the izakaya dining room!
  • KadenceA multi-course omakase experience focused on the highest-quality bounties of the land and sea. Note: You must make reservations.
  • Kabooki: A modern eatery featuring updated Japanese dishes, sushi, and inventive Pan-Asian creations.

This AAPI Heritage Month, immerse yourself in the flavors and festivities of Mills 50, celebrating a community that continually enriches Orlando’s cultural landscape.