May 9, 2024 - Food and Drink

Restaurant passport program returns for AAPI Heritage Month

A red booklet titled SA AAPI Heritage Month Restaurant Passport sits on a four bowls of Vietnamese food.

The restaurant passport program lasts throughout May. Photo: Courtesy of Camille De Los Reyes

San Antonio restaurant owner Camille De Los Reyes is reviving a restaurant "passport" program for a third year to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Why it matters: Events like the AAPI taste tour promote diversity while bolstering local businesses.

How it works: Diners can print a passport at home. When dining at one of the 24 restaurants throughout this month, guests tag the business and @satx.AAPI on Facebook or Instagram to receive 10% off their bill and be entered to win Spurs swag.

Zoom out: The event has garnered the support of local leaders like Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai, who are each the first Asian Americans to hold their respective roles.

  • "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," Nirenberg previously told Axios.

What they're saying: De Los Reyes tells Axios elevating AAPI-owned restaurants remains her goal.

  • It's also "to cultivate a space for people to gather, share their stories, and celebrate over good food," she says.
  • Ruthie Wu, a local foodie who is known for chronicling the restaurant adventures of her 95-year-old father, tells Axios the program is a sampling of the "wide spectrum" of Asian flavors.
  • "Hopefully it piques the interest of people to try more diverse Asian foods," she says.

Between the lines: The San Antonio metro area's Asian and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations saw the biggest percentage increases between 2000 and 2022, per U.S. Census Bureau data.

  • The Asian population grew about 203%, to 80,900.
  • And the Native Hawaiian population grew about 167.1%, to 6,200.

What's next: Some of the passport program restaurants will also be vendors at the Asian Festival, hosted by the new Asian Resource Center of San Antonio, on Saturday at La Villita.

  • Tickets are $15.

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