Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival offers a taste of Asia to Valley of the Sun

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Students of Phoenix Wushu Academy perform a fan dance during the 28th annual Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix, telling stories and expressing emotion using fans to highlight their graceful movements. (Photo by Daria Kadovik/Cronkite News)
Students of Phoenix Wushu Academy perform a fan dance during the 28th annual Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix, telling stories and expressing emotion using fans to highlight their graceful movements. (Photo by Daria Kadovik/Cronkite News)

This content was produced by Cronkite News and distributed under a Creative Commons license.

PHOENIX – For two days, Margaret T. Hance Park became the epicenter of Chinese culture and traditions, as the 28th annual Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival took over the public space in February, offering Valley locals an opportunity to see, hear and taste what the Asian country has to offer.

Jeffrey Chow, a resident of Gilbert, and his wife brought their two young children to the festival. They said they came to enjoy the food and activities, but more than that, they came to expose their kids to their culture.

“We wanted to make sure our children kind of understood about what the whole celebration was about and to get them to understand their roots,” Chow said.

Martial arts performers took to an outdoor stage to present their own bit of Chinese culture in the form of juggling fire spears and precisely slicing thin paper with just the flick of a whip.

Chow said the performance, yet another display of Chinese culture, was among the several reasons for bringing his children to the festival.

A student from Phoenix Wushu Academy performs an aerial maneuver during a Wushu performance. Wushu is a martial art that pushes the utmost limit of the human body, challenging one to do aerials, butterfly twists, jump kicks all several feet above the ground, according to Phoenix Wushu Academy. (Photo by Daria Kadovik/Cronkite News)
A student from Phoenix Wushu Academy performs an aerial maneuver during a Wushu performance. Wushu is a martial art that pushes the utmost limit of the human body, challenging one to do aerials, butterfly twists, jump kicks all several feet above the ground, according to Phoenix Wushu Academy. (Photo by Daria Kadovik/Cronkite News)

Volunteer Amy Oho (left) shows Chinese imperial costumes that present a colorful showcase of the culture. (Photo by Daria Kadovik/Cronkite News)

Apart from the performances, the opportunity to taste traditional Chinese foods was another attractive factor to festival goers.

“The first thing that we were looking for was Chinese food because that’s my heritage,” said Ray Chin, an Arizona resident of Chinese descent.

Long lines of attendees wrapped around various food trucks offering bites of home and comfort.

Ana Heinbach, owner of Steamed Buns, said what makes the food at this festival different is that it is not commercialized nor Americanized.

“When you go to a festival like this, there are more original Chinese foods. The way our grandparents used to make,” she added.

She said she remembered how her grandparents made steamed buns by hand – a process she now carries into her own business.

This year, the festival also celebrated the Chinese New Year, marking 2018 as the year of the dog.

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About the author

Cronkite News

Cronkite News

The news division of Arizona PBS, covering Arizona news you won't find anywhere else! Watch weeknights at 5. Operated by The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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