Even before Tuesday's shooting in Atlanta, which left eight people dead—six of whom were women of Asian descent—a study compiled by California State University's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism showed that racist violence against Asian Americans has increased by nearly 150% in major cities across the US in recent weeks. In light of that injustice, there are many things you can do to support the local AAPI community here in Seattle, from donating to local causes to shopping from AAPI-owned businesses to visiting arts and culture institutions. Read on below for links, and keep an eye on our activism & social justice calendar for related events.
AAPI Women Lead
AAPI Women Lead and the #ImReady Movement aims to strengthen the progressive political and social platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the US through the leadership of self-identified AAPI women and girls. In April, $1 from every order of dumplings at the Sichuan-inspired Plenty of Clouds and its Dump Truck will be donated to the organization.
This local helpline for AAPI—and all immigrant communities—in Seattle "empowers survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking to gain safety, connection, and wellness."
Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority
Formed in 1975, this community development organization helps provide affordable housing and small-business assistance in the Chinatown-International District. In addition to donating, you can also read some inspiring stories from recipients of SCIDpda's small-business relief fund—like Jason and Carol Xie from Purple Dot Cafe—here.
Centering the Pacific Islander LGBTQI+ community, UTOPIA (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance) fights for equitable access to education, employment, housing, healthcare, and more for all ages of queer and trans Pacific Islanders in Washington State.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
In addition to pushing for education, litigation, and public policy reform benefiting AAPI communities around the country, this org offers bystander intervention techniques and tips on how to respond to anti-Asian harassment.
Asian Mental Health Collective
With a mission to "normalize and de-stigmatize mental health within the Asian community," this website features an insightful interview series with mental health experts, an "ask a therapist" video with LA's Jedidiah Chun, a community blog, and a podcast called Mental Health Mukbang, as well as hotlines and other ways to get in touch with AAPI health professionals.
Asian Pacific Fund's COVID Recovery Fund
Based in the Bay Area, this fund links donors to Asian-owned businesses that are struggling to stay afloat due to COVID-19.
Center for Asian Pacific American Women
This network provides education and mentorship to AAPI women through an ethos they call "whole person leadership," which they describe as being "grounded in one’s character, commitment, and collaboration with others and allows us to leverage our individual gifts and talents to bolster personal and professional development."
See also: California State University's Stop AAPI Hate forum, where you can report anti-Asian hate crimes.
SHOP & VISIT
This "modern tea room" is owned by married couple Kathy Wang and Vince Shi and specializes in "cheese tea," a Taiwanese food trend consisting of iced tea with a cheesecake-like layer of foamy cream cheese floating on top. The shop also carries other beverages, like matcha and coffee, and treats like mochi doughnuts.
Pho Bac co-owner Yenvy Pham coffee shop in Little Saigon serves Vietnamese coffee, panini-style banh mi sandwiches, and Vietnamese-inspired baked goods.
Hood Famous Bakery
The beloved Ballard bakeshop is famous for its Filipino-inspired specialties such as ube cheesecake. In addition to co-owner Chera Amlag's well-known sweets, they also carry breads and pastries, as well as savory offerings from Amlag's co-owner and husband Geo Quibuyen, like Filipino-inflected quiches with fillings like longanisa sausage and bittermelon. The bar features a coffee program by day and a drink menu with cocktails in familiar flavors like tamarind, guava, and ube by night.
This pint-sized Japanese spot from chef Mutsuko Soma, who was named one of Food and Wine's best new chefs for 2019, has racked up national accolades for its tempura and handmade soba noodles, which Soma painstakingly makes from scratch using Washington buckwheat. (The entire process takes her two to three hours.)
Maneki is pure comfort food, serving izakaya and very reasonably priced sushi. In its 100-plus years of existence, Maneki has only had one major interruption to business (other than COVID): when it shut down because the US government sent Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. After the war, in 1946, internees returned to the city and reclaimed their belongings from a space in the NP Hotel that has since been the restaurant’s home.
Melissa Miranda's beloved Filipino spot whose beef mechado and ginataan are the stuff of dreams.
Phnom Noodle House
It’s all about the noodles at this three-decades-old International District mainstay, Cambodian food that touches on the flavors of Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, too.
Seattle's definitive pho institution.
Ping's Dumpling House
Our friend Erika, who is a legit China scholar and has lived over there for longish stretches and also is a great cook of Chinese food herself, says, "I am a big fan of a small place in the ID called Ping's. The proprietress is from a city close to Beijing, and they serve the best northern fare I've found here: dumplings, fried street snacks, zhou (Chinese porridge), and other assorted dishes. Much as I would love to dine with you in China someday, Ping's is a good fix for now."
Husband-and-wife team Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Wallingford's awesome Joule brings you "Urban. Comfort. Asian. Street Food," e.g., pork belly pancakes, chorizo dumplings, and short ribs with daikon.
Szechuan Noodle Bowl
A brightly lit, no-nonsense source of fabulous Sino-starch, the Bowl specializes in all things doughy, from bowls of ropy noodles to hand-pleated gyoza to scallion pancakes. Nearly everything served here possesses a deeply satisfying chew, and everything’s real cheap, too.
Recommended by Tom Douglas himself, this family-run gem is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the ID, having been around since 1935. Try the dependable and decadent hum baos (sweet bread stuffed dumpling), which never fail in their flavor. Also of note: Bruce Lee apparently worked here when he lived in Seattle many years ago. This place is consistent, friendly, historic and cheap.
Toyoda is the hidden gem of Lake City; its existence is a well-kept secret, spread mostly by word of mouth. The fish is unbelievably fresh and creamy: For whole seconds, it is impossible to focus on anything except this heavenly taste, as if you have just seen the Holy Virgin outlined on a piece of pickled ginger. You will feel capable of such a vision.
Your local Asian supermarket mini-chain.
See also: Our complete directory of Asian-owned restaurants.
Stop Asian Hate Memorial
In memory of the women of Asian descent who were killed in Atlanta—and all AAPI communities experiencing hate and grieving from loss—the Seattle Asian Art Museum invites visitors to take a moment of silence on their front steps.
Seattle Asian Art Musem, Capitol Hill (March 27-28)
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
The Chinatown-ID Museum, which was founded to honor the late significant Asian American leader in Seattle by the same name, returned for in-person visits earlier this month! Reserve tickets Friday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm to see exhibits like Where Beauty Lies, which explores the relationship between beauty standards, personal presentation, and representation among Asian Americans, and pick up (or preorder) goods from local makers at their marketplace, like these anti-racist enamel food pins or this book and pin set with the essay anthology Asian American Feminisms & Women of Color Politics, Grace Lee Bogg's Living for Change, and some "intersectional" pins by Word for Word Factory.
Hmong Flower Farmers
The flower stalls at Pike Place wouldn't be famous without the Hmong farmers who sell their freshly cut bouquets every day. Check out their flower directory to pick out specific vendors, or just stop by for some socially distanced spur-of-the-moment shopping.
With a newsstand, adorable stationery options, and a staggering manga collection, Kinokuniya is a great place to pass the time.
Chinatown - International District
A lifestyle brand selling handmade wares and boutique goods by Asian American and BIPOC designers.
See also: Our directory of AAPI-owned businesses in Seattle.
READ, LISTEN & WATCH
Tell Us Something Good
Our new series, where we ask well-known Seattleites how they've been staying entertained and well-fed during COVID, features interviews with Asian American artists Tomo Nakayama (a singer-songwriter who recommends binging Kim's Convenience and picking up a copy of Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly), Lauren Ko (the author of the best-selling cookbook PIEOMETRY who recommends reading Erika Lee's The Making of Asian America), and E.J. Koh (the Pacific Northwest Book Award-winning author who thinks you should read Don Mee Choi’s poetry book DMZ Colony). In addition to taking their advice for things to do around town, be sure to support their work as well!
Seattle Public Library Recs
Compiled earlier this month for the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, the library has rounded up a list of books about the AAPI experience in Seattle and beyond related to film and performance, like Shirley Jennifer Lim's Anna May Wong: Performing the Modern.
World of Wong Kar-wai
Let Chinese director Wong Kar-wai take you over with the sonically perfect, poetic, excruciatingly cool, often blood-soaked romantic time-jumpers and thrillers featured in this SIFF series. It includes all his greatest hits from the late '80s to the early 2000s, including As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, The Hand, and his best-known works Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. With many of the same actors gracing the screen in each film, we have no doubt that taking in his entire oeuvre will feel like one long, wild ride in a singular universe.