Austin, Texas – May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a month to celebrate the contributions and influence of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
The Library of Congress website on AAPI Heritage Month says that encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
AAPI Heritage Month was just celebrated as a week beginning in May 1979 until 1990 when it was expanded to a month. In 1992, Congress passed a law which annually designated May as AAPI Month. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
In the Austin area and in Central Texas there are numerous Asian-owned businesses that you can support and check out.
Asahi Imports is Austin’s only exclusively Japanese market. Find everyday Japanese food items, specialty ingredients, fun snacks and sweets, sake and Japanese beers, household goods, origami, unique gifts, and more. There are two locations now of the market, its original location on Burnet Road and a new location on South Lamar Boulevard.
Solid Soaps makes consciously-crafted soaps using the cold process method. They use phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils, natural colorants, and botanicals.
Pink Sloth Baking Co. is an Austin-based baking company offering Japanese and European bread baking lessons. They also have their items for sale at various pop-ups throughout the year.
Year 901 makes jewelry using traditional metalsmithing techniques like wire wrapping, hand forging, and lost wax casting. Ella’s Benh Pham focuses on sustainability in her work that’s inspired by bright colors, organic shapes, and playful details.
Uroko is a Japanese restaurant located in Springdale Station in East Austin. It offers classes and take-home options for people to enjoy and learn more about its cuisine.
Cafe Creme is a Vietnamese and French locally owned family business in East Austin.
West China Tea has its headquarters in Austin. It’s a spot for indoor and outdoor tea service spaces and has all its tea for sale. The company was founded in 2012 and came about from founder So-Han Fan’s passion for sharing Chinese tea culture.
Cookie Wookie Kitchen combines Asian flavors with American-style cookies. The Asian-inspired cookies come in a variety of rotating flavors including ube coconut, pandan with toasted rice, and more.
Kaiju Cut and Sew makes handmade custom bags and minimalist wares showcasing Japanese fabrics and ethically sourced leather.
OMG Squee is a small batch dessert and pastry shop, The Asian-American desserts are 100% gluten-free and also include taiyaki, mochi donuts, macarons, cheesecakes, and bubble tea.
Sazan Ramen makes paitan-style ramen and other dishes at its location in The Crescent shopping complex located on Airport Boulevard.
Fil N’ Viet is a food truck in East Austin that blends the cuisine of the husband and wife team that started it. Their food combines Vietnamese and Filipino food to make authentic and new dishes.
Bao’d Up was founded in 2017 and now has five locations in Austin. It specializes in Chinese comfort food, like its signature baozi which are made in-house daily.
Korea House has been serving authentic, healthy Korean food to Austinites for more than 30 years. The family-owned business was one of the first of its kind when it opened in Austin.
Asian American Cultural Center seeks to provide the facilities, expertise, and unique space for the sharing of culture between the East and the West in the American Experience.
Bom Bakeshop is a husband and wife business that seeks to spread joy with their food offerings, which include their popular mochi donuts.
Fierce Whiskers Distillery takes a different approach to making whiskey and is hoping to put Austin on the map for whiskey lovers.
Beard Papa specializes in Japanese-style cream puffs filled with flavored cream. There are hundreds of locations around the world and the US including a locally-owned one in The Domain in Austin.
Old Thousand is a neighborhood Chinese restaurant with two locations, one on Burnet Road and one on East 11th Street. It offers an eclectic and inventive mix of flavors, ingredients, and styles with modern interpretations of classic American-Chinese recipes.
Little Wu makes authentic Lamian Chinese noodle bowls that have rich, hearty broths and seasoned meats and vegetables. It also has handcrafted dumplings, potstickers, and shumai bites.