Following the success of January’s Black Restaurant Week organized by the nonprofit Long Beach Food & Beverage, Cambodian Restaurant Week will come to the city this October to celebrate various Cambodian-owned food businesses across the city.
“This will give our local Cambodian community the opportunity to share our culture and cuisine with all food lovers in Long Beach and encourage them to try something they may not have experienced before,” said Chef “T” Tarak Visoth Ouk, co-organizer and executive chef at Gladstone’s in Long Beach.
Ouk and Terri Henry, the founder of Long Beach Food & Beverage, saw the need to celebrate Cambodian-owned restaurants and food businesses in the city with the largest Cambodian community in the U.S.
The inaugural Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week will take place Oct. 9-16. The eight-day event will highlight Cambodian-owned restaurants and will feature $5, $10, $15 and $20 prix fixe menus at participating restaurants across the city. According to Henry, restaurants that participated in Black Restaurant Week saw up to double their usual sales throughout the week.
“I think as a whole community as a Cambodian community, we want to be heard. … The voice of food has its own power,” said Ouk, who believes there are dozens of Cambodian-owned restaurants in Long Beach that deserve attention.
The Long Beach nonprofit was created a few years ago in an effort to receive funding for events like this, said Henry. In 2020, a request for proposal secured $30,000 from the city to host online cooking classes and more. Now, Henry relies on sponsors to keep these events going and to help businesses that may have had a tough time throughout the pandemic.
Restaurants interested in participating can register through the Long Beach Cambodian Restaurant Week website. The registration fee is $100 and will include marketing and promotion leading up to the event, including banners, posters, tents and t-shirts, said Henry.
She hopes to expand these events by hosting a Filipino Restaurant Week, a Hispanic Restaurant Week and more in the future.
“I’m trying to bring people together. So what better way to bring people together than through food?” said Henry.