May 5, 2023 - Food and Drink

Restaurant passport program returns to San Antonio for AAPI Month

Sari-Sari Supper Club is one of the restaurants on the AAPI Heritage Month Passport. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

Throughout May, during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, San Antonians can experience new flavors and celebrate AAPI culture through a "passport" system that comes with a discount.

Context: Camille De Los Reyes, who owns Sari-Sari and Jeepney Street Eats with her husband, Adrian De Los Reyes, launched the program last year to celebrate her Filipino culture and others in the AAPI community.

  • The AAPI Passport is back for a second year and is growing in support.

How it works: To participate, customers visit a participating restaurant to pick up a passport or download and print one at home.

  • All diners with the passport will receive 10% off their meal and get a stamp in their booklet.
  • There are currently 28 participating restaurants. See the full list here.
  • Newcomers include Magpie, Krazy Katsu, Zaatar and the James Beard-recognized Curry Boys BBQ.
Bowls filled with proteins, rice and noodles on a table.
Curry Boys BBQ is also participating in the passport program. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

The big picture: Camille De Los Reyes tells Axios that elevating her culture and strengthening connections within the AAPI community were the greatest benefits of the inaugural restaurant event. She hopes diners will have a chance to connect with the owners of the restaurants when they visit.

  • "A lot of the people that own (the restaurants) are still the ones running them. So hopefully you'll hear the stories of how this type of food arrived in San Antonio and why it's important to perpetuate that and spread the culture," she says.

Mike Nguyen, who owns Noodle Tree, is participating for the second year. The chef tells Axios the passport program helps him introduce new flavors to San Antonians.

  • "I'm not talking about fried rice or orange chicken. I mean real Asian flavor that I grew up with. Sometimes I feel like that gets missed and this is a way to help open more eyes to Asian culture and cuisine," he says.

What they're saying: Ron Nirenberg, who is the city's first mayor of Asian Pacific Islander descent, is encouraging locals to honor the month by supporting AAPI-owned restaurants.

  • "The rise in San Antonio's culinary scene is matched by the corresponding growth in the AAPI restaurants and establishments. I encourage everyone to visit a new restaurant because there are dozens that you haven't visited — and you are likely to find some that you will fall in love with very quickly," he tells Axios.

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