An Asian American Celebration!


As a sponsor of this year’s Center for Asian American Media’s film festival, The Chai Cart made an appearance at the Asian Art Museum for the Opening Night Gala, Thursday last week, which means I got to tag along and not only serve chai to and chat with hundreds of fellow San Franciscans, but I also had time to explore the museum and experience this exciting, sold out event.

The start of our night did not begin without a few complications. When we first arrived, we could not get the cart, weighing over 1,000 pounds, across the ramp of the loading dock and into the museum.  The cart’s extreme bulkiness and girth made it nearly impossible to maneuver around the corners of the ramp. As a backup plan, we considered parking the cart in front of the museum and serving chai outside the party, but that would have been such a disappointment as we would have been away from where the Gala’s events were happening.

At the last minute, one member of the museum’s staff found an alternate route of getting the cart into the museum! Yay!  AndCAAM moved our location to the ground floor instead of the third floor.

Once we setup, we were immediately approached by hundreds of event-goers interested in trying a cup of chai.

What better way to celebrate Asian American Culture? Despite the cold weather outside, the Iced Masala chai,  was the most popular.Of course, for the chai traditionalists who wanted hot chai, we had 3 options Rose, Masala and Soy. Rose was particularly intriguing to newcomers of the cart as it is a Chai Cart original flavor.

In between sips of chai and wine and handing out chai, I answered questions about how we make our chai and where to find us regularly. Hopefully, we’ll see some new faces on Market Street.

After several hours of serving the Gala’s attendees, I got to be one myself. Just before the night’s end, I removed my kurta, downed a cup of chai, and scurried off to explore the museums galleries and taste the food donated by fellow sponsors of CAAM Fest. It was great to experience Asian American inspired cuisine with Asian Art as a backdrop. Bravo to CAAM for putting this all together!

*Photo Credits: CAAM Media and Jason Jao