May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and Los Angeles is home to more than 1.5 million Asian American and Pacific Islanders! To celebrate all the goodness that the Asian American community brings to our city, here is a list of my May monthly favorites that support and highlight Asian-American throughout different industries!
MAMA, an organization devoted to supporting local immigrants and their customs, reinvented Los Angeles take-out. With 3 pickup locations across the city, MAMA’s Drive-By Kitchen offers LA residents a way to give back to the AAPI community and enjoy delicious food in the process. Every time a pop-up event occurs, MAMA handpicks a couple of Asian restaurants to celebrate. These offerings are then broadcasted and made available for pre-order on their website. Then, choose your pick-up location and you’re set with a comforting meal! By purchasing meals through MAMA, you can support ethnic restaurants, who keep 100% of the profits. But act quick - the menus often sell out fast!! With limited contact, the Drive-By Kitchen is a covid-friendly way to support Asian-owned businesses in Los Angeles. And bonus - for every meal you order a meal will be donated to a member of the AAPI community in Los Angeles in need! Know of a great ethnic restaurant in the LA area? Drop your suggestion at this link. If your restaurant is chosen for the next Drive-by Kitchen then you will get a free meal on Mama!
Westside Pick-Up Location: Palms Rancho Park Library Parking Lot, 2920 Overland Ave, LA, CA 90064
Koreatown Pick-Up Location: Kingsley Parking Lot, 3401 W 8th St, LA, CA 90005
San Gabriel Valley Pick-Up Location - Granada Park Parking Lot, 2000 W Hellman Ave, Alhambra, CA 91803
Celebrating art and artifacts is one of the best ways to get to know a culture and its deep history. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is home to a vast array of amazing exhibits and installations highlighting art from around the world. From now until July 5th, LACMA is featuring work by Yoshitomo Nara, a talented and well-known Japanese portrait painter. Gaining inspiration from modern art and his childhood travels across Asia, Nara creates awe-inspiring pieces. This particular exhibit focuses on Nara’s connection to music, but in my opinion, the most striking part of the exhibit is Miss Forest, a 26-foot tall sculpture which is currently on display on Wilshire Boulevard. Don’t be alarmed: Asian Art will not leave LACMA come early July, as the museum has a permanent collection of South and Southeast Asian Art. One of my favorite additions to the collection is all the art containing imagery of cherry trees, a staple of Japanese culture.
3. Sach Candles
Looking for new candles? Sach is a Vietnamese-American owned candle company based in LA which blends sustainable practices with Asian culture. Directly translating to “clean” in Vietnamese, Sach is driven to create an eco-friendly product which brings people some relaxation without having to worry about the environmental consequences of their purchases. With scents that remind the makers of their childhood memories and family adventures, Sach is sure to spark your enthusiasm and have a candle fit just for you!
Craving ramen? Tsujita is the place to go! Located about 7 minutes from UCLA, this restaurant reinvents classic ramen and presents Tsukemen. By separating the noodles from the soup, Tsujita turns the Asian noodle experience into something slurp-worthy. Speaking from my own experience, their bowls are delicious and exciting, making restaurant-going truly an experience. Not only does Tsujita pride itself in its efforts to pay homage to Japanese tradition, they also give back to the community and local businesses with their profits. And when you’re done eating at Tsujita, take a stroll around Sawtelle, where you can find all kinds of Japanese businesses and vendors.
Location: 2057 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Supporting small businesses is a great way to give back to the AAPI community, one purchase at a time. In the need for new earrings? GiftofHeart has got you covered! Owner Kim Chen, a Taiwanese-American living in LA, brings her artistic creations to the masses with her shop. With affordable prices and 400 designs, you’ll find a statement earring that could add a pop to any outfit. Chen’s creations are available for purchase on Etsy, so no need to be in Los Angeles to enjoy her masterpieces.
To learn more about AAPI restaurants in the Los Angeles area and how they are combating racism, visit https://blog.yelp.com/2020/05/celebrating-aapi-business-owners
For more ways to support the AAPI community in Los Angeles, visit: