Ways to celebrate AAPI Month in Philadelphia

AAPI Month in Philadelphia
Pedestrians cross 10th Street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The month of May is officially Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and to celebrate Asian Americans, Pacific Islander Americans and Native Hawaiians in Philadelphia, here are some ways to show your support.


There are plenty of restaurants around the city, and some AAPI-owned spots have even won James Beard Awards. Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon’s eatery Kalaya Thai Kitchen, which moved from Bella Vista to a larger location in Fishtown, is always a fan-favorite. Over in Old City, Ellen Yin’s Fork still sits on Market street (and as an extra bonus, foodies should also check out Yin’s The Wonton Project.)

Ellen Yin
Ellen Yin.High Street Hospitality

A unique dine comes from Jesse Ito’s omakase at Royal Izakaya, which provides a personalized and super-sized flavor experience. For recent openings, the newly launched Cambodian noodle house Mawn started service just a few months ago, and Gabriella’s Vietnam in East Passyunk is also a popular pick.

Another way to explore the cuisine is through the Southeast Asian Market in FDR Park, which takes place this Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m.

As a release states, this unique market is a vending community that has blossomed from the original Lao and Khmer sellers, expanding to Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian vendors – each a part of the Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant narrative of Philadelphia, all finding a haven in FDR Park. Shoppers can enjoy many native cuisine dishes, culturally specific produce, plants, clothing, and jewelry, as well as services provided by entrepreneurs speaking multiple languages.

AAPI Month in Philadelphia
The Southeast Asian Market at FDR Park. Fairmount Park Conservancy

And last, but most certainly not least, Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood in itself is booming with dozens of eateries offering various tastes of Cantonese, Sichuan, Burmese, Taiwanese and other Asian culinary styles. For drinks fans, head to the renowned speakeasy Hop Sing Laundromat (though check out the rules of the establishment before you go.)


The AAPI footprint in Philadelphia expands past the culinary scene into the arts and culture scene as well.

The Asian Arts Initiative calls Philly home, and this community-based arts center regularly features exhibits, workshops and other events to highlight diverse experiences of Asian Americans. Members of the organization also seek to address the lack of economic and artistic opportunities for people of Pan-Asian descent, a release states.

A more streamlined way to view works from the community also comes from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Department of East Asian Art and the Penn Museum’s Asia Galleries. The first features more than 9,000 objects from China, Japan and Korea, while the latter includes 25,000 objects, and reportedly many of which illustrate the early development of Buddhism.


Philadelphia is a city full of AAPI landmarks. One of the most recognizable comes from Chinatown—The Friendship Gate. As a release states, created by artist Sabrina Soong in 1984, the Gate then underwent an artisan renovation in 2008. The portal follows a traditional Qing Dynasty style, and was created in part with engineers and artisans from Tianjin, China.

In Fairmount Park, there’s also the scenic Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center, which has roots dating back to 1876 and features a koi pond, weeping cherry tree, pebble beach and more.

things to do in Philly, AAPI Month in Philadelphia
Shofuso Japanese Cultural CenterProvided


Some of the best ways to support and celebrate AAPI Month in Philadelphia is through shopping— from the busy Center City neighborhood throughout all of the City of Brotherly Love, to the Main Line.

Some highlights include The Lash Boutique in Old City and Queen & Rook Game Cafe in Queen Village—the second type of game board and dining entity that the city has ever seen. Other spots to visit include Kayuh Bicycles and Cafe in Francisville and pet grooming boutique Ham + Bone in Fishtown.

To find out more ways to support AAPI Month and the community beyond May, check out visitphilly.com