Discover the best of Asian American and Pacific Islander history and culture in Orlando, including events, attractions, dining, businesses and more (FusionFest pictured).

Orlando’s wonders don’t just attract visitors from all over the world. We also boast a global mix of citizens, including vibrant Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities that are as richly diverse as the countries they represent. In addition to headlining one of Orlando’s most popular dining and nightlife districts, Mills 50, AAPI influence on local culture and history can be found throughout the destination, including unique restaurants, shops and annual celebrations that you’ll want to experience. Start here to discover it all.

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Asian American and Pacific Islander History in Orlando

In the 1970s, refugees fleeing the Vietnam War became a key part of the Orlando community, starting businesses, building homes and churches — and growing families. Today, second-, third- and fourth-generation Vietnamese Americans help shape our social, economic and political landscape without losing sight of their ancestors’ traditions.

Mural on the side of Little Saigon in the Mills 50 area of Orlando
Mural Outside Little Saigon Restaurant in Downtown Orlando’s Mills 50 District

Vietnamese influence is particularly evident in downtown Orlando’s multicultural Mills 50 dining and entertainment district, which features numerous Vietnamese restaurants, retailers and service-providers. And every winter, this district celebrates Vietnamese history and culture during Orlando’s Tet (aka Vietnamese Lunar New Year) Festival.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s Mills 50 District

While people of Vietnamese descent make up the largest portion of Orlando’s AAPI population, many other cultures and countries are represented. We’re home to sizable Chinese, Asian-Indian, Filipino and Korean communities, plus smaller groups representing Thailand, Laos, Japan, Indonesia and Pakistan, among others.

Soseki Modern Omakase chef michael
Chef Michael Collantes of the One-MICHELIN-Star Soseki Modern Omakase in Winter Park

Accordingly, Orlando is home to a wide range of authentic Asian-owned eateries and other businesses, not just in the Mills 50 district but all over town. (However, it is worth noting that Mills 50 is home to more MICHELIN Guide restaurants than any other district in Orlando.)

Discover: Orlando’s MICHELIN Guide Restaurants

Take Orlando’s Chinatown. Located about 15 minutes west of downtown, it features a collection of authentic Chinese restaurants and shops. It’s also extremely easy to find: Just look for the traditional Chinese arch known as a paifang or pailou, which serves as the historic area’s eye-catching centerpiece.

Lake Eola features a ting built in Shanghai that currently resides in downtown Orlando.
Chinese Ting at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando

Authentic Asian architecture awaits at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park District, too. It’s home to a ting, or one-story structure similar to a pagoda, that was built in Shanghai and signifies Orlando’s sister-city relationship with Guilin, China. Lake Eola Park also has a Japanese-style rock garden adorned with a massive piece of black marble that was gifted to Orlando by Taipei, Taiwan. You’ll find additional examples of AAPI influence throughout the Central Florida area.

Discover: Things to Do in Thornton Park

Asian American and Pacific Islander Cultural Events in Orlando

Orlando hosts a wealth of AAPI festivals and special events every year, including these popular options. Check Visit Orlando’s Events Calendar to see what’s happening during your next visit.

FusionFest 2022
FusionFest in Downtown Orlando (Photo: Emily Wray)

Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival (February)

The vibrant Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival brings East Asia to Central Florida with martial artists, taiko drummers and ample food vendors, as well as the signature parade. It’s held in downtown Orlando’s Mills 50 district.

Tet Festival (January / February)

Celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Florida’s largest Tet Festival is produced by St. Philip Minh Catholic Church at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May)

Every May, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month comes to life in Orlando with insightful events, delicious dining, notable landmarks and other reasons to visit during the month-long celebration.

Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival and Asian Cultural Expo (October)

Produced in tandem, these free, one-day events showcase the wonders of Asian culture through exhibitions, performances and crafts. Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival and Asian Cultural Expo is held in Bill Frederick Park, just north of Universal Orlando Resort.

Orlando Japan Festival (November)

Experience authentic Japanese music, dance and other entertainments at Orlando Japan Festival, presented by Japan Association of Orlando at Kissimmee Lakefront Park near Walt Disney World® Resort.

Orlando Korea Festival (November)

Hosted by the Orlando Korea Culture Center close to The Florida Mall®, Orlando Korea Festival features plenty of delicious Korean food, energetic K-Pop musicians, and other authentic Korean surprises and delicacies.

FusionFest (November)

Downtown Orlando’s annual celebration of the people and many cultures that make Central Florida awesome, FusionFest features food, dance, art and more from numerous AAPI communities and other global groups. It takes place during Thanksgiving weekend at the open-air Seneff Arts Plaza, part of downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Asian American and Pacific Islander-Owned Restaurants in Orlando

If you’re hungry for authentic Asian flavors, take a bite out of these AAPI-owned and operated eateries the next time you’re in Orlando — including several MICHELIN Guide restaurants.

Main Tourism Districts

Aashirwad Indian Food: Just off International Drive, aka I-Drive, this restaurant offers a diverse mixture of flavors and tastes that reflect a variety of cultures, geography and climate.

Bawarchi Biryanis: A wide range of aromatic spices are used to create beautiful pots of biryani, this I-Drive eatery’s namesake mixed-rice dish.

B&B Express: Close to Walt Disney World® Resort, this fusion restaurant’s “B&B” stands for burgers and biryani.

BBQ Tonight Indian Restaurant and Caterings: Enjoy Indian staples such as tandoori chicken and biryani at this casual option near Walt Disney World®.

Chaat House: This Pakistani restaurant serves gyros, kebabs, pizza, burgers, seafood and more.

Charcoal Zyka: Dig into a mixed variety of American, Portuguese and Indian dishes at this casual grill close to SeaWorld® Orlando.

Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi: Part of Restaurant Row, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi is a hip, modern, Japanese cafe serving tapas-style sushi and robatayaki.

Isan Zaap: Founded by three friends born and raised in Thailand’s Isan region, this MICHELIN Recommended eatery presents authentic Isan food with a unique touch of love and care.

Interior dining area of Morimoto Asia restaurant in Disney Springs
MICHELIN Recommended Morimoto Asia at DISNEY SPRINGS®, Part of WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort in Orlando (Patina Restaurant Group)

Morimoto Asia: Head to Disney Springs® at Walt Disney World for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s MICHELIN Recommended Morimoto Asia and its late-night hotspot, The Forbidden Lounge.

Discover: Things to Do at DISNEY SPRINGS

Qi Dragon Bakery: Close to The Florida Mall, this bakery offers a big selection of Asian cakes, cookies and breads.

Saffron Indian Cuisine: This stylish Restaurant Row eatery serves an extensive selection of traditional and inventive Indian dishes.

Sizler Tandoori Restaurant: Staples like biryani and samosas are served at this Indian and Pakistani restaurant.

Sushi Katana: This casual Japanese eatery near The Mall at Millenia pairs innovative specialties with a variety of sushi rolls.

Thai Thani: Carved wood decor and traditional artwork perfectly complement this International Drive restaurant’s authentic Thai cuisine.

Woodlands: Minutes from The Florida Mall, this casual vegetarian Indian venue features dosas, curries, a lunch buffet and more.

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