Monday, March 5, 2018
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.
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.