Meet Your Neighbor: Kwan has cultural food, festivals valleywide

Jay Kwan of Snacky Snacks organizes food festivals in Arizona.
Jay Kwan of Snacky Snacks organizes food festivals in Arizona.

Jay Kwan, an amateur baker who started out selling Asian pastries at farmers markets, organizes food festivals in Arizona with the goal to highlight the diversity of food and showcase local, small businesses.

Business Name: Snacky Snacks

Background highlights:

I am an amateur baker and started out selling Asian pastries at farmers markets. Our specialty is coconut buns or cocktail buns, which is a Hong Kong style sweet bun filled with shredded coconut. The inspiration came from when I was a child I visited San Francisco frequently and loved eating cocktail buns from the Asian bakeries. There are fewer Asian bakeries in Arizona, so I decided to learn my childhood favorite pastry and share my passion with others. Milk bread is the best and makes Asian pastries fantastic with its pillow-like fluffiness.

What I do:

We organize food festivals in Arizona. Our goal is to highlight the diversity of food and showcase local, small businesses. Our events are a platform for small businesses to participate and foster their creativity. We look at the events as a way for someone to start and grow their business.

Events are great exposure and we want people who attend our events to discover new foods and try from other’s cultures. We strongly believe in creativity and that it stems from ethnic diversity. Food events like these honor traditional foods and foster inspiration for fusion flavors and never before seen creations.

What am I promoting:

We have three upcoming events in Metro Phoenix ---

  • The Scottsdale Food Street is a free, weekly food market on every Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. until April 24. Scottsdale Food Street brings people together through food and highlight local, small business owners. It is held at 6451 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale. Parking is free and available in the back parking lot. We have events throughout the Valley and all types for everybody to enjoy.
  • The Arizona Bao and Dumpling Festival is 12:30-5 p.m. on March 21 at the Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. This downtown Chandler festival will bring a wide array of local food purveyors together for one day of dumplings from around the world and unique versions of bao.  Bao is a steamed bun that is a complete meal conveniently packed away in a white, warm, soft bun. Tickets are at:
  • The Arizona Fried Chicken and Wings Festival is 12:30-5 p.m on April 19 at The Pressroom. This downtown Phoenix festival will feature different varieties of fried chicken from Korean fried chicken to Nashville Hot fried chicken. Fried chicken is enjoyed throughout the world and every culture has their own twist on it. For more details and tickets see: 

What I’m excited about and why: 

I am excited to see Phoenix grow as a food destination with more choices to try ethnic foods. For example, there have been an increasing number of Asian businesses. As more people come from other states or countries, food diversity and the growth of ethnic businesses will change people’s perceptions. More people will know what bao is and other culture’s foods.

My guiding philosophy:

I believe perseverance is the key to life. The path will always be rocky, but if you have a clear goal, any obstacle can be hurdled. Hard work and perseverance will pay off and nothing that comes easy will be rewarding.