About a month ago I stared working on a blog post called “A Perfect Day in Chinatown,” filled with recommendations of things to do, eat, drink and buy in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Los Angeles. This post was in reaction to the way the pandemic had affected this vibrant community, but in light of the larger conversation about AAPI racism in our country, I’m expanding this beyond just Chinatown. I’ve been reading more about what we can do as AAPI allies, and something that keeps coming up is support small businesses, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites.
I grew up in a city extremely lacking in diversity (other than the wonderful Mexican community I had the privilege to grow up around,) and when I moved to Los Angeles my mind was blown by the extreme and wonderful melting pot that it is. There is SO much culture here – and when I say culture I don’t mean museums and fancy restaurants, I mean the manifestation of so many communities from so many different places. I don’t have enough words today to express how much my lens of the world has expanded just from being in my own city, but for today I would like to share some of my favorite Asian-Owned businesses, Chinatown and beyond.
I’d also like to note that my original post featured businesses in Chinatown that were not Chinese owned, and while I love Wax Paper and Howlin’ Rays, it is not lost on me that supporting these white-owned businesses in an Asian neighborhood is it’s own form of subconscious racism and white gentrification that I have contributed to, and something that I am working to be more conscious of. So for my first post of Los Angeles Recommendations, here are some of my favorite AAPI owned businesses in town, and resources to find more.
Chinatown Small Businesses
Before I give you my recommendations, the CCED (Chinatown Community for Equitable Development) has already made some incredible resources of small businesses I’d like to share:
Both of these are incredibly helpful and filled with GEMS.
Some of my favorite Asian-owned Los Angeles Restaurants