Did you know that Orange County is home to the highest percentage (7%) of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the state of Florida? The roots of AAPI in Central Florida’s history also run deep, dating back to the late 19th century when a Chinese American immigrant and accomplished horticulturalist named Lue Gim Gong became a key figure for Florida’s citrus industry by developing a cold-resistant orange and other plants.
Today, the impact of the AAPI community on Central Florida’s economy continues to reverberate, including the most recent announcement of the 2023 MICHELIN Guide’s Bib Gourmand awards. In fact, three of the four Central Florida restaurants honored are AAPI owned and operated, including Isan Zaap, Norigami and Taste of Chengdu. Six others were also announced as MICHELIN Recommended, including Doshi, EDOBOY, Juju, Kaya, Twenty Pho Hour and YH Seafood Clubhouse.
No surprise, given that Orlando is an expanding enclave of authentic Asian food markets and restaurants. Today, second- and third-generation Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are making their own mark on the Central Florida culinary and economic landscape while also honoring their heritage and ancestors’ traditions. Just northeast of downtown, the Mills 50 district is home to the largest Vietnamese American community in Florida, with an expanding roster of authentic Asian restaurants, shops and markets.
For AAPI Heritage Month, read on as we highlight 4 Local AAPI restaurants including Bombay Street Kitchen, Kaya, Kai Asian Street Fare, and Isan Zaap with Visit Orlando here.