I love Asian grocery stores. All of those mysterious, oddly named ingredients-- stinky tofu, anyone? Anyone?-- the smell of rice and soy and dried mushrooms. I visit Asian Market on Central, near Hydraulic, often, because it is close to both the restaurant and home.
I have been going to Hana Café since it was a little Rock Road hole in the wall. It was tiny then, and very simple and Japanese-looking, complete with a waving kitty and blue and white curtains. The menu was small but excellent, serving sushi, pork tonkatsu, miso soup, and other Japanese specialties. One might also order a few Korean dishes, all well prepared.
The Wichita Asian Festival is coming up this weekend, and I’m excited about it. I have attended nearly every year since it started 32 years ago. What began as a small celebration with a smattering of food vendors and a beauty pageant has grown into a huge multicultural event. There’s still a pageant, but now the entertainment ranges from East Indian dance troupes to martial arts demonstrations. It’s a blast, but the best part for me has always been the food.