Wichita's annual Asian Festival has a reputation for being a lot of things — educational, entertaining and overflowing with culture.
But above all that, the festival is known for being delicious.
"The food is definitely the major attraction," said Mohan Kambampati, the organizer of the 30-year-old event.
Saturday's Asian Festival at Century II, put on by the Wichita Asian Association, will celebrate more than 15 cultures, from Chinese to Indian to Korean. The event will feature dancing, music and martial arts as well as arts and crafts and a Miss Asia Scholarship Pageant.
Many of the 6,000 people expected to attend, though, will be there to eat from 32 food booths featuring a long list of authentic and sometimes exotic foods.
A small number of the booths will be run by local Asian restaurants such as Passage to India, Deshi Curry, Boba Zone, Sit @ Thai Bistro and Chiang Mai Thai.
But the rest will be run by local cooks preparing authentic dishes, some of which can't be found in local restaurants.
One such dish called dosa is always a big attraction at the festival, Kambampati said.
Dosa features a crepe-like shell made from soaked and ground rice and lentils that's stuffed with a spicy potato curry filling and dipped in chutney. It's not served in local Indian restaurants, mainly because it's laborious and time-consuming to prepare.
People love it, Kambampati said, and local cook Ravi Gururajan will be serving it from her booth this year.
"Any time there is dosa in the Asian Festival, there are long lines," Kambampati said.
Among the food booths will also be cooks from Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, India and the Philippines.
Many of the cooks prepare the food on site, and it's almost as fun to watch the food being prepared as it is to eat it, Kambampati said.
"They do everything in front of you," he said. "Watching it is fascinating."
Admission to the Asian Festival is free and food is available for purchase. The average price for a meal is about $6 or $7, Kambampati said.
If you go
30th Annual Asian Festival
What: A festival of Asian culture and food put on by the Wichita Asian Association
Where: Century II Convention Hall
When: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday
How much: Admission is free. Food and crafts are available for purchase.
For more information, visit www.indoasian.org.