Dedicated to the preservation, understanding and enjoyment
of the culinary arts of the Asia Pacific Rim.

Welcome to the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes founded in 1994 to offer food professionals and cooking enthusiasts a source for learning about the more than 50 extraordinary cuisines of the Asia Pacific Rim. ACAI has created recipes, classes, events, and informational materials featuring the traditional cuisines of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and more.

We invite you to take part in ACAI activities or to email us with your questions.


ASIAN FLAVORS: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875

Since 1875, Asian immigrants have added flavors of their native lands to Minnesota's culinary landscape. "Asian Flavors" includes interviews with pioneering chefs, features on beloved restaurants, stories of farmers and food businesses, and, of course, more than 160 treasured recipes that have nourished and inspired Minnesotans. Try Dar Cheen Chicken from Wing Ying Huie’s Chinese Lantern in Duluth, Supenn Harrison’s egg rolls made famous at her state fair booth beginning in 1976, Reiko Weston’s Sukiyaki from the original Fuji Ya in Minneapolis, recipes putting a new twist on Minnesota's native ingredients from Thom Pham's Wondrous Azian Kitchen, and many more.

Asian food experts Phyllis Louise Harris and Raghavan Iyer take you on a tour through this comprehensive history, lavishly illustrated with historical and contemporary photography, from countries all across Asia, and from the 1870s through today.

Purchase from your local bookseller or,
Online: Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875


Click here for ongoing Asian Flavors columns or click on FLAVORS for a library of past columns.

Reaching 150,000 readers in the Upper Midwest five state area each month from 1991 to 2011, ACAI founder and food editor of Asian Pages, Phyllis Louise Harris' column, Flavors of Asia, featured information about Asian food, people, and places around the world. From restaurants to cookbooks to personalities and recipes, Asian Flavors appearing here at ACAI, continues to offer a world of culinary information. Columns include Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking, Wisconsin Dim-Sum, Chicago's Asian Cooking, Nobu Now, and more.


ACAI co-founder Raghavan Iyer’s cookbook, “660 Curries” published in 2008 was named Outstanding Asian Cookbook in the U.S. by the Gourmand Awards and is now in its second printing.  It was also included in the top cookbooks of the year by the New York Times, National Public Radio, Boston Globe and Food and Wine Magazine.  Four years in the making “660 Curries” is the ultimate resource for understanding and cooking the many flavorful foods of India.  Copies available at bookstores and through



More more than half of the world's population considers the exceptional cooking of Asia as home cooking. From the green, ripe guavas of India's street vendors to the sizzling sates of Indonesia to the bubbling hot pots of Mongolia and the soothing bowls of Japan's donbori, Asian comfort food reflects more than 6000 years of flavorful traditions. Today, these age-old cuisines are influencing cooking all over the world.

ACAI was created to help preserve these cooking traditions and to encourage their use in the development of modern cuisines. Through research, writing, teaching, consulting and cooking, ACAI celebrates the culinary arts of Asia and encourages you to learn more about the world's most popular home cooking.



ACAI experts are often consulted by restaurants, caterers, food companies, and individuals for help in creating Asian menus and dishes. Sometimes it means training the client's staff in the preparation of traditional Asian foods. Other times it means consulting on menu items. And often, it involves the development of new recipes using particular foods in traditional Asian dishes and preparing them in professional kitchens.

ACAI staff has worked with local, national, and international food companies as well as non-profit organizations and home chefs throughout the U.S.

Call for information on event management, staff training, and other Asian cooking needs.



In 1995, ACAI created the area's first Asian Chef Exchange bringing two outstanding chefs from Shaanxi, China, to the Twin Cities. Chefs Li Xianghu and Wang Pingxuan spent three weeks teaching traditional Chinese cooking to students and food professionals at Hennepin Technical College. In addition, the chefs participated in a variety of special events celebrating the Moon Festival. Here Chef Wang demonstrates the age-old art of noodle pulling.

Chef Li, a State First-class Chef, was Catering Manager of the Zhi Yuan Hotel and Vice Director of the Zhi Yuan Catering Training School. Chef Wang, a top Second-class Chef, was Restaurant Manager at the Zhi Yuan Hotel and a teacher at the Zhi Yuan Catering School.

It is no wonder that food professionals look to ACAI for help in creating authentic Asian cooking for their restaurants, schools, organizations, trade shows, and products. Call for information on event management, staff training, and other Asian cooking needs.



ACAI co-founder and education director Raghavan Iyer has spent the last 20 years teaching the cooking of India and other Asian countries to students in culinary schools throughout the United States and Canada.  In 2004, he was named Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Cooking Professionals (IACP) and is currently a director of that organization.

The following are a few of the schools and organizations that featuring Iyer’s special classes especially helpful for their students:

  • Hennepin Technical College – Culinary Arts, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
  • A Southern Season, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Books to Cooks, Vancouver, Canada
  • Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, California
  • Cookworks, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Dallas, Texas
  • Central Market Cooking Schools, Austin, San Antonio, Houston,
    Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas
  • Viking Culinary Arts Centers in seven states
  • Sur La Table in five states
  • & and dozens more

For information about scheduling an Iyer cooking class at your facility, please contact us with appearance dates, type of cooking, and size of class.

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