Photo by Francis Gum, courtesy of Parangal Dance Company
Here in LA, where we have beloved neighborhoods like Koreatown, Thai Town, Little Tokyo and Historic Filipinotown, we celebrate AAPI heritage year-round, with frequent reminders of the countless contributions these communities have made not only to our city, but also our country and throughout the world. That said, we’ll take every opportunity to support our local AAPI communities, and AAPI Heritage Month offers plenty of that, with a slate of events taking place throughout May, ranging from pop-ups focused on food at art exhibitions and more. Rather than being overwhelmed with options around town, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite events in this handy guide:
All the month
Chinese American Museum, Downtown
The downtown Chinese American Museum, housed in a beautiful brick building that is part of the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles landmark, will host exhibits and events throughout the month. First on the record is a walking tour of the Chinatown murals to pair with their exhibition of Asian American artists called “Collective Resilience.” Later this month, they will host the first live, in-person play in their ongoing series “An Untold Past,” a panel discussion about the many Chinatowns in Los Angeles’ history.
Weekends from May 6 to July 31
Japan House, Hollywood
Japan House still hosts cultural events and exhibits on Japanese history and cuisine, but May is launching “Ramen Discoveries,” a series highlighting seven regional ramen styles over 14 weeks that pairs perfectly with “Art of the Ramen Bowl” recently launched by the hub. exposure. The month of May is shared between Tokyo-style Miso Ramen from Tsujita Miso no Shofollowed by a rich, porcine style by Keikawho comes from Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, in the south of Japan.
Saturday May 7
Vincent Lugo Park, San Gabriel
Compassion in SGV is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to ensuring residents of SGV move around safely without threats or harassment, chaperoning locals as they walk to or from public transit or close their businesses after dark . On Saturday the 7th, they are also hosting a rally and block party to foster community and engagement in the SGV. There will be lion dancers, music and speakers. Of course, there will also be food, including Indonesian from Truck Satay Lisa, Dina’s Dumplingube crinkle cookies Butter-Laband more.
Saturday May 7; Sunday May 22; and Saturday May 28
Woodland Hills, Downtown and Chinatown
Taiwanese company A-Sha makes some of the best and most reliable packaged dry noodles you’ll find on market shelves, but for AAPI Heritage Month they’ve partnered with the city’s AAPI-LA initiative. LA to take their noodles to the streets of a food truck, which will make multiple stops around LA throughout the month. The focus is on their air-dried noodles, but they’ll serve them with all sorts of toppings, including their Hello Kitty Chicken Noodle Soup, and some with marinated pork, scallions, and chilies. Catch the Truck on Saturday, May 7 at Valley Asian Cultural Festival; Sunday, May 22 in Smorgasburg (more details below); and Saturday, May 28 at THE steep for a charity pop-up.
Saturday May 21
King Gillette Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains
The National Park Service is taking advantage of the Santa Monica Mountains to host an AAPI Heritage Festival at the beautiful King Gillette Ranch. The free event will include activities and presentations such as Taiko Drumming, Classical Filipino Dance, Chinese Calligraphy, Hawaiian Feather, and more.
tuesday 10 may
Ototo, Echo Park
Echo Park Sake Bar OTOTO is hosting six sake brewers from Japan for its first-ever Brewer Block Party on Tuesday, May 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Each brewer will pour their best sake, which will be served with a selection of snacks including Katsu Sandos mini chickens, Gobo chips and curried crab salad. A $60 ticket includes up to 12 different traffic jams plus snacks during the two-hour party. Bottles of sake will be available for purchase and after the block party, OTOTO will remain open until 10 p.m. with its usual menu available. Featured sake breweries include Mioya Shuzo, Yamada Shoten, Rihaku, Kawatsuru, Tentaka, and Chiyonosono.
Saturday May 14
South Coast Square, Costa Mesa
Orange County’s luxury mall, South Coast Plaza, is hosting an Asia-Pacific Food Festival, with six different stations of food from AAPI-owned restaurants in the mall. Serving food will be Bistro AnQi, Sushi Hamamori, Royal Khyber, Kitchen Table, Terrace by Mix Mixand Wahoo Fish Taco. A $30 ticket gets you five tastes to accompany live performances by local AAPI artists, and all proceeds go to the Asia Pacific Community Fund.
Saturday May 14
RiceBox, Downtown LA
RiceBox is dedicated to serving and celebrating classic Cantonese BBQ, and for AAPI Heritage Month, they are celebrating the classic Chinese game Mahjong. They also use other Asian American-owned businesses, Vervet and Go Cakes, so there will also be craft cocktails and ornate desserts like Praline Bon Bons. Mahjong sets were custom made for RiceBox, Chefs Leo and Lydia Lee will launch new RiceBox specials, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Stop AAPI Hate coalition.
Open from Friday May 20 to Sunday June 26
The Filipino arts and cultural community is strong and diverse, spanning all disciplines and representing so many experiences unique to the United States and the Philippines. West Hollywood cultural space The LA Art Box – The LAAB for short – has partnered with the San Francisco-based Parangal Dance Company, an organization focused on preserving Filipino culture through dance and education, to present a new show titled “Belonging.” The show will feature photographs of Parangal members performing traditional dances from the six indigenous peoples of the Philippines, and will also feature eight contemporary Filipino-American artists from many disciplines. of music, film production, fashion, food, etc., to build a complete multi-sensory experience, a celebration of Filipino culture past, present and future.
Sunday May 22
The San Fernando Valley Museum, Northridge
At the bottom of the Valley, the SFV Museum is reintroducing its living events with an AAPI Cultural Festival. There will be food trucks, vendors, art workshops for children and live entertainment in addition to the opportunity to visit the museum itself. In the evening, there will also be a free screening of “A shot through the walla film by Aimee Long, with a community discussion to follow. The event is free, but tickets are required for the film.
All the month
LA’s best cookbook store has a fantastic selection of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander authors, and for the month of May, they’ve rounded up their favorites in a practical collection. They have books from Los Angeles-based chefs like Alvin Cailan, Margarita Manzke, Kris Yenbamroong, and Sonoko Sakai, among others. Now Serving owners Ken Concepcion and Michelle Mungcal, Filipino American themselves, host some of the best events around, and they’ll be adding them to the calendar all month.
From Saturday June 4 to Sunday June 5
Aquarium of the Pacific/Long Beach
This event misses the end of the month by a few days, but it’s just more proof that Angelenos don’t need a deadline to celebrate AAPI heritage, culture and cuisine. The Pacific Islander Festival returns to Aquarium of the Pacific for its 19th year, having gone virtual for the past two iterations. Details are still being finalized, but previous years have included music and dancing, educational talks, demonstrations, and dishes from Pacific Island cultures including Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, Chamorro, Marshallese and Maori.
Sunday May 22
There is no shortage of AAPIs sellers on a ordinary Sunday at the pop-up Downtown Market in Smorgasburg, but on May 22 there will be many more. AAPI-LA brings in a ton of vendors serving things like sushi, dumplings, and mochi donuts, as well as snacks, sauces, and packaged drinks. There will also be another appearance of the A-Sha Noodle Truck and collaborations with vendors like Saucy chickas well as other fun things.