Cultural Landmarks & Celebrations


Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, nationally celebrated in May, commemorates the first Japanese immigrants who arrived in America on May 7, 1843. This month of recognition also marks the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which was largely built by Chinese immigrants who overcame overt racism and violence during its construction to build one of America’s most impactful transportation projects. Celebrated at Baylor from October through early November, this monthlong recognition is filled with activities such as the Autumn Moon Festival, Asian Fest, and Asian Heritage Banquet.


Recognizing an opportunity to increase the diversity of experiences within Waco, market founder Tim Kulkarni has set out to create East Market and Goods, an international grocery store that promotes exploration through diverse, high quality products and experiences. The selection focuses on Eastern/Asian offerings that stretch from India to the Philippines and everything in between. East Market and Goods plans to host different activities throughout the year to provide context and education to celebrations, holidays, and events that happen throughout the world. Located at the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 84 in the new Shoppes at 6 Eighty Four Crossing development, East Market and Goods is on track to open late 2020.


Over the past 40 years, Kitok Restaurant has gone from a humble diner to a local institution, known for its blend of American and Korean fare. Opened in 1975 by Kitok Moore, this cultural landmark is beloved for both its Korean and American dishes, including the customer favorite combo — the Lip Locker with cheese and oriental fries — developed in the restaurant’s kitchen. Korean American women have owned and operated Kitok Restaurant throughout its history. What began as a small burger joint has evolved over time into a unique fusion restaurant, offering American, Korean, and mashup dishes. Its unique menu coupled with its unchanging familiar, friendly atmosphere keeps customers coming back for more — and bringing their family and friends.


Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is China’s most important festival. At Baylor, students, faculty, staff and guests celebrate this time during February through various activities and performances, including professional Lion Dancers — a tradition found in China — and other Asian countries in which dancers dress and mimic the movements of a lion. Numerous student organizations take part in and perform at the event, which is hosted by Baylor’s Asian Student Association.


Waco Cha was inspired by the husband and wife team of Devin Li and Jaja Chen. As Asian Americans with immigrant backgrounds, Devin and Jaja found Central Texas to be a difficult area in which to find the food and drinks they loved growing up. In addition, they found it challenging to find community and a place of belonging after graduation from Baylor. Devin and Jaja have led the community in bridging cultures and community through their cooking, food, tea, and hospitality, first as a food truck, now as a beloved brick and mortar restaurant in downtown.