Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month comes to life in Orlando with insightful events, delicious dining, notable landmarks and more (Morimoto Asia at DISNEY SPRINGS® pictured; courtesy Patina Restaurant Group).
Updated May 26, 2023
From award-winning Asian cuisine to vibrant neighborhood gems, we’re sharing some of the best ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in Orlando this May. To kick things off, here are some of the best ways to learn about AAPI history and culture, from hands-on events and classes to MICHELIN Guide dining and thriving cultural hotspots.
Discover: AAPI History & Culture in Orlando
Orlando vacation planning made easy — and free. Make a complimentary appointment with Visit Orlando’s Vacation Planners at a time and date of your choosing for the latest insider advice, special offers and more ahead of your next visit.
Asian American & Pacific Islander History & Orlando Landmarks
Honor and experience Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and contributions in May and all year long by visiting distinct Orlando neighborhoods and landmarks with strong AAPI influences.
Lake Eola Park
Sister cities in Japan, Taiwan and China have left their mark on Orlando over the years, particularly in downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. Relax and enjoy the lake views in a beautiful red pagoda gifted by the city of Guilin, China — a city which, incidentally, shares Orlando’s nickname of “The City Beautiful” — then continue your stroll to a beautiful Japanese rock garden and bridge gifted by Tainan City in Taiwan. Lake Eola Park is also home to several sculptures, vibrant local events and annual fireworks celebrations throughout the year.
Discover: Things to Do in Downtown Orlando
Mills 50 / Little Saigon
North of downtown Orlando, the Mills 50 District has sizeable Asian American community, with multiple eateries, shops and supermarkets bringing the diverse flavors and cultures of Asia to Orlando. Cozy up over noodles and dumplings at Ming’s Bistro or Little Saigon, or try MICHELIN Guide restaurants like Z Asian, Shin Jung or Sticky Rice. The Mills 50 District is also home to the Asia Trend Community Learning Center, which hosts events and classes all year long. Try your hand at Japanese Taiko Drumming, learn Tai Chi, or attend local events like FusionFest’s MyGration Film Festival.
Discover: Things to Do in Orlando's Mills 50 District
Located 15 minutes west of downtown, Orlando’s small but mighty Chinatown offers Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, exotic grocery stores and retailers — perfect for stocking up on hard-to-find treats or gathering ingredients for a special meal at home. The area’s centerpiece is a traditional Chinese arch known as a paifang or pailou.
AAPI Heritage Month Events & Exhibits in Orlando
Celebrate the influence of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture with special events and exhibits throughout Orlando. Check back for more events as they are added throughout the month.
Orange County Asian-Inspired Art Exhibition (Select Dates, May 1 – 30, 2023)
Throughout the month of May, the Orange County Asian Committee in partnership with Orange County Public Schools will host an Asian-inspired art exhibition in the Orange County Administration Building, featuring pieces designed by local artists. See works with an Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander theme weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Orange County's Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration (May 2, 2023)
Steps from Lake Eola Park at the Orange County Administration Building, Orange County’s Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration will feature an Asian American cultural performance and exhibition, an Asian-inspired art exhibition, a Tai Chi workshop, a Japanese tea ceremony, and many more cultural festivities. Best of all, it’s completely free to attend, with limited free parking available in the Orange County Employee Parking Lot.
Buddha’s Birthday Celebration (May 7, 2023)
Guang Ming Temple near Orlando International Airport will celebrate Buddha’s birthday with a traditional celebration ceremony, authentic Asian attire and monastic chanting. Buddha’s Birthday Celebration is open to visitors of all backgrounds, who can explore the temple, experience the story of the life of the Buddha, enjoy enticing foods, be entertained with unique performances, and interact with the Bathing Buddha Display. Activities will be available in Chinese, English and Spanish.
Vietnamese Cooking With Ha Roda (May 9, 2023)
Learn how to make Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad during Vietnamese Cooking With Ha Roda at the Maitland Public Library. Led by Vietnamese interpreter, chef and demonstrator Ha Roda, this culinary workshop is a tasty way to learn about Vietnamese heritage and traditions, and it’s free with advance registration.
Fusion Fest’s MyGration Film Festival (May 13, 2023)
Organized by the Orange County Asian Committee and Orange County Library System, the FusionFest MYgration Film Festival will feature five MYgration films that shine a unique spotlight on Asian American cultures and experiences, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session with top AAPI leaders in Central Florida.
Asian Cultural Festival (May 14, 2023)
The Asian American Heritage Council (AAHC) will showcase a wide variety of Asian American cultures and talents at the 13th Annual Asian Cultural Festival in Ocoee. The event is totally free to attend and is a fun way to help the AAHC to preserve and represent Asian heritage and culture in Central Florida.
Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Events at the Orange County Regional History Center (May 18, 20 & 21, 2023)
The Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando will host three free events in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, starting with a History Book Club discussion of Drawing the Line, a book of poetry by third-generation Japanese-American author Lawson Fusao Inada on May 18. Learn about Inada’s work, life and ties to Central Florida history, then take a deep dive at the History Center’s Asian Americans in Florida lecture on May 21, which details the post-Civil War experiences and contributions of Asian Americans throughout the state. Finally, join the History Center and Asian Cultural Association for an afternoon of Storytelling Through Dance With the Asian Cultural Association, free to all with advance registration.
Sunset at the Zoo at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens (May 26, 2023)
Kicking off the 2023 Sunset at the Zoo series with a celebration of AAPI culture and heritage, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens will host Asian American & Pacific Islander entertainers, vendors, themed food trucks, crafts, and more family fun from 5 p.m. until the sun goes down.
Celebrate and save in Orlando with special offers honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned culture and traditions.
Marriott Village Orlando
Enjoy up to 15% off at Marriott Village Orlando hotels, including Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Springhill Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista and Fairfield Inn & Suites Lake Buena Vista on select dates throughout AAPI Heritage Month. Celebrate with 15% off weekday rates and 10% off weekends, plus a free breakfast buffet exclusively available at Springhill Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Asian American and Pacific Islander-Owned & Inspired Restaurants in Orlando
Celebrate the influence of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture on Orlando’s dining scene with cozy local eateries, dessert shops, and award-winning restaurants. Featuring the flavors of India, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and more, here are a few options to kick-start a delicious culinary journey in Orlando.
Discover: Asian American Restaurants in Orlando
Asian-American and Pacific Islander MICHELIN Guide Dining in Orlando
Out of 46 Orlando MICHELIN Guide restaurants, about half are Asian-owned or inspired. See what the hype is all about at these acclaimed Asian American and Pacific Islander eateries.
Discover: MICHELIN Guide Dining in Orlando
Bombay Street Kitchen
A MICHELIN Bib Gourmand restaurant, Bombay Street Kitchen offers an enticing array of Indian street food along with a small selection of Asian-inspired dishes like Paneer Lettuce Wraps or Chicken Tikka Bao. It’s located minutes from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and The Florida Mall®.
Hip-hop music, house-made noodles and creative small plates are par for the course at DOMU, a neighborhood ramen shop with three Central Florida locations. The original eatery, located at East End Market in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District, is a MICHELIN Bib Gourmand restaurant, packing plenty of value into its flavorful dishes. It’s the brainchild of Sean “Sonny” Nguyen, a born-and-raised Central Floridian who owns and operates seven Asian dining concepts in Orlando alone — including a second DOMU location near Universal Orlando Resort and a DOMU Chibi Ramen express eatery near the University of Central Florida.
Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District
Hawkers Asian Street Fare
Hawkers Asian Street Fare serves up classic Asian street food along with a selection of small plates, dim sum, noodles, craft cocktails and more in a vibrant atmosphere. Find them in Windermere, near Universal Orlando Resort, or head downtown to Mills 50 for MICHELIN Recommended eats.
James Beard Award finalist Chef Henry Moso is the chef-owner behind contemporary Japanese eateries Kabooki Sushi – Sand Lake and MICHELIN Recommended Kabooki Sushi in The Milk District. Both offer a la carte dining options along with two curated omakase experiences: a 10-course seasonal nigiri omakase or a 10- to 15-course chef’s omakase which includes hot and cold tastings, nigiri and dessert.
Discover: Celebrity Chefs in Orlando
Helmed by Filipino-born Mark Berdin and his wife Jen, the One MICHELIN Star Kadence offers an intimate sushi omakase experience in the Audubon Park Garden District. Kadence’s lively atmosphere, chef-driven tasting menu and curated sake selection put a lighthearted twist on the traditionally zen Japanese sushi bar experience.
Kai Asian Street Fare
Owned by Thai-born Isra Sunhachawi and his Vietnamese brother-in-law, Quan Van, this MICHELIN Recommended eatery specializes in street fare from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea and beyond.
The MICHELIN Recommended Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs® is Iron Chef Morimoto’s first ever pan-Asian restaurant, showcasing a variety of dishes from Japan, China, Korea and Thailand, all with Chef Morimoto’s signature twist.
Discover: Things to Do at DISNEY SPRINGS
In the Mills 50 district, MICHELIN Recommended Shin Jung serves up delicious Korean barbecue along with traditional Korean bar bites, platters, soup and more authentic dishes. An Orlando staple since 1993, Shin Jung is best known for its hands-on barbecue experience, in which diners cook their own meat on a special tabletop grill, paired with a bevy of accompaniments, hot sides and cold Korean beer.
Soseki Modern Omakase
One MICHELIN Star fusion restaurant Soseki Modern Omakase offers a 10-course, farm-to-table omakase experience built around seasonal Florida ingredients. Located 15 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando in Winter Park, Soseki also offers monthly sake tasting sessions paired with globally inspired dishes.
Discover: Things to Do in Winter Park
For authentic Laotian street food, head to Sticky Rice in the Mills 50 district. This MICHELIN Recommended eatery serves up classic dishes and fusion fare in small plates form, with affordable options like lemongrass beef jerky, pork tapioca dumplings, papaya salad and much more priced under $10.
Discover: Orlando Bites on a Budget
Tori Tori & EDOBOY
Combining a classic Japanese izakaya pub with an American cocktail bar, Tori Tori offers modernized Japanese bar bites, yakitori, and sake in the Mills 50 district. The MICHELIN Recommended eatery is one of the latest dining concepts from Sean “Sonny” Nguyen of DOMU fame, as is EDOBOY next door. The first standing sushi bar in the United States, EDOBOY serves up fresh nigiri, hand rolls and sake at a unique eight-person bar for a quick, affordable meal.
In the Mills 50 District, Z Asian serves up authentic Vietnamese fare at affordable prices, earning it the distinction of MICHELIN Bib Gourmand restaurant. Overseen by the husband-and-wife team of Hien Pham and Huong Nguyen, many of the restaurant’s recipes are passed down through several generations. Z Asian also has tons of vegan options, including Vietnamese pancakes, pho, curry and much more.
Orlando’s Newest MICHELIN Guide Eateries
Of the 13 new Orlando restaurants that joined the Orlando MICHELIN Guide lineup in May 2023, nine are Asian owned or inspired. They include MICHELIN Bib Gourmands Isan Zaap in the Millenia area, Norigami in Winter Garden, Otto's and Taste of Chengdu in Winter Park. New MICHELIN Recommended Asian eateries include Doshi in Winter Park, EDOBOY and Kaya in the Mills 50 district, Juju near The Milk District, and Twenty Pho Hour and YH Seafood Clubhouse in our International Drive entertainment district.
Even More Delectable Asian-American and Pacific Islander Dining Options in Orlando
Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
Part of Orlando’s acclaimed Restaurant Row, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi offers authentic Japanese cuisine with a modern gastropub twist. Dishes are served tapas-style, so you can try a little of everything without breaking the bank.
At Siam Thai Cuisine
Part of our International Drive entertainment district, At Siam Thai Cuisine is a contemporary, family-owned eatery serving authentic Thai food including curries, stir fries, noodles and more.
Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s International Drive Entertainment District
This unique teppanyaki dining experience turns dinner into a full-on show as fresh vegetables, tender steak, succulent chicken and more are cooked tabletop right before your eyes. Choose from Benihana – International Drive or Benihana – Lake Buena Vista in our main tourism districts for an unforgettable dinner in Orlando.
Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Resort
Indulge in Pacific Islander fare at Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Resort. Featuring the flavors of the South Seas, this family-friendly resort eatery serves a mix of modern Pan-Asian cuisine and traditional family favorites, with fun flavor mashups like Banh Mi Meatloaf, Islands Strip Steak and Gai Yang Thai Chicken.
Serving up delicious sushi, sake and specialty cocktails, Kimonos is an authentic Japanese sushi bar and lounge at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Enjoy traditional hors d’oeuvres, gyoza, tempura platters and more during the dinner service, or stop by after 9:30 p.m. for cocktails and karaoke.
Discover: Top Resorts in Orlando
Located minutes from Universal Orlando Resort, Nagoya Sushi – Dr. Phillips serves innovative sushi creations, bento boxes and seasonal specialties that are a treat for the eyes.
Nine Dragons Restaurant
Savor contemporary Chinese cuisine amid ornate wood carvings, traditional lanterns and exquisite glass artwork at Nine Dragons Restaurant, located in the China Pavilion at EPCOT®, part of Walt Disney World® Resort.
Sakura Sushi at Rosen Inn near Universal Orlando Resort features freshly prepared sushi rolls, authentic nigiri and sashimi served in an intimate setting.
Shogun Japanese Steakhouse
Feast on New York strip, filet mignon, lobster, teriyaki chicken, salmon and shrimp at Shogun Japanese Steakhouse, an authentic teppanyaki dining experience on International Drive.
With locations in Sand Lake and Baldwin Park, Seito Sushi offers classic Japanese fare, sushi and Asian-inspired dishes with a modern touch. Their playful drinks, contemporary dining room and highly shareable plates are perfect for any kind of gathering.
Part of EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Teppan Edo is a traditional Japanese teppanyaki restaurant offering steak, chicken and seafood cooked tabletop and served with garden salad, udon noodles, vegetables, and steamed white rice.
Offering a delectable mix of authentic Japanese cuisine and fusion fare in Winter Park, Umi Sushi has an incredible sushi, sashimi and nigiri selection along with specialty entrees, rice, noodles and sizzling meat cooked on a robata grill or tableside “hot volcano” stone.
A modern Japanese restaurant in Casselberry, about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando, Wa Sushi serves classic Japanese and fusion fare, including sushi, sashimi and premium fish shipped from Hokkaido. It’s owned by Chef Jeff Hunter and Hong Kong trained sushi chef Hong Wong.
Yak & Yeti
Part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, Yak & Yeti is a restaurant featuring delicious Pan-Asian cuisine like Prawn crisps, Seared Miso Salmon and a delicious Dim Sum Basket.
Part of Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Zeta Asia offers a sophisticated setting to enjoy traditional and signature sushi rolls, sashimi and innovative, hand-crafted cocktails, wines and beer.