7 Asian-owned businesses to support during (and after) Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage month
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage month, so if you love boba tea, ramen noodles, bento boxes and kawaii culture, it's time to show the businesses that offer these treats a little extra love.
With the spread of COVID-19, acts of racism and xenophobia have been on the rise all over the world sparking a movement, #StopAsianHate, to combat the violence. In honor of Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage month, stop by one (or all) of these locally-owned businesses, which make the city more delicious, artistic and diverse.
This family-owned café is looking to create a home-away-from-home, and it is succeeding. A comfortable atmosphere, delicious coffee and tea drinks and a full menu of breakfast, lunch and pastries are what you'll find inside this Vietnamese and French café. The shop's rotating menu reflects the owners' love of experimenting and keeps you guessing every time you come in and the latte art will keep you Instagramming. Café Crème also supports the community by sourcing locally, selling local art, keeping a free library for visitors and even welcomes people coming to work in the shop with a printing station.
Thanks to Chop Chop, noodle cups are no longer the safe option for lunch. Bringing authentic street noodles from all over Asia right here to Texas, Chop Chop makes its noodle cups using all-natural, fresh ingredients. Frozen, not freeze-dried like instant noodles, Chop Chop noodle cups are just as fast and completely plant-based. There are four flavors on the menu: Tom Yum, a Thai tomato and lime base; Kimchi Udon, a Korean-style broth with squash toppings; Tokyo Curry, soul food topped with carrots and mushrooms; and Penang Curry, an homage to the many curries of Southeast Asia.
Cookie Wookie Kitchen
You've never had cookies like this. Made using aged cookie dough, Cookie Wookie Kitchen makes cookie creations that delight. While the shop does carry classic flavors like chocolate chip and Texas sheet cookie, what makes this Cookie Wookie unique is the array of Asian American flavors. Ube coconut, black sesame cookies and cream, matcha pistachio and pandan cookies are all staple flavors but there are also three rotating flavors each month. May's special flavors: Thai tea mochi, tropical white chocolate macadamia and maple bacon.
East Side King
A much-celebrated source of Japanese soul food in Austin, East Side King has grown from a food truck to a full-fledged brick and mortar. Brought to you by Paul Qui and Moto Utsunomiya, who formerly worked at upscale sushi restaurants Uchi and Uchiko, the pair wanted to branch out and have fun with the food they were creating. As a result, the restaurant has made Austin's "fun-loving vibe" and fascination with live music central to its personality. All made with high-quality ingredients, Bento boxes, pork buns and red chili wontons are in your future.
Bringing curated antiques from all over Asia to the Lone Star State, Lotus Gallery collects pottery, paintings, sculptures, furnishings and everything in-between. The works are sourced from China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and more, ranging from 206 B.C. to the present. Like most antique shops, picking up one of the pieces will cost a pretty penny but it will transport you back in time every time you see it in your home. You can even visit in person, 1009 West 6th Street.
These kawaii sweets are almost too cute to eat. Blending the limitations of an autoimmune disorder with a love of food, kawaii culture and Asian American heritage, OMG Squee makes everything gluten-free (yes, everything), in-house, from scratch. From mochi donuts to taiyaki to boba tea to macarons, everything is made in small batches with ingredients that are better for you and taste like 'the real thing,' so nothing is off the table. Try anything off the menu and you'll "squee," the bakery promises.
West China Tea
Started in 2012 by founder So-Han Fan, West China Tea is introducing the art of the tea ceremony to Austin and bringing people together in the process. The tea house believes that tea unites communities and sources its leaves directly from farms. Experience either self-serve tea, a guided tea session or a traditional tea ceremony when you visit. True lovers of tea can even take classes in Cha Yi and Gong Fu Cha, tea ceremony and tea service respectively, and become certified in the art.
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Giga Texas, the massive Tesla factory in southeast Travis County is getting even bigger.
The company filed with the city of Austin this week to expand its headquarters with a new 500,000-square-foot building. The permit application notes “GA 2 and 3 expansion,” which indicates the company will make two general assembly lines in the building.
More details about the plans for the building are unclear. The gigafactory has been focused on Model Y production since it opened in April, but the company is also aiming for Cybertruck production to kick off in mid-2023.
While there is room for expansion on the 3.3 square miles of land Tesla has, this move comes after CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments about the state of the economy and its impact on Tesla.
In a May interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said the gigafactories in Berlin and Austin are “gigantic money furnaces” and said Giga Texas had manufactured only a small number of cars.
And in June, Musk sent a company wide email saying Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10%, then later tweeted salaried headcount should be fairly flat.
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You’ll have to leave city limits if you’re looking for a proper ranch property like 417 Acres Shipp Lake Ranch, aptly named for its acreage. The property comes built out with three farmhouses, one of which has bedrooms and two bathrooms and two of which have two bedrooms and one bathroom. The nearly untouched property, which surrounds the 100-plus-acre Shipp Lake, has remained in the same family since the early 1900s and gives you picturesque views for the making of a dream home. In fact, the previous owners ran a water ski camp on the property.
Sitting waterside on Lake Austin, this home gives you the unique opportunity to own a piece of the lush Hill Country with views of Mount Bonnell. The 2,750-square foot, three-bedroom, four-bathroom house allows you to integrate indoor and outdoor life with large windows opening to an outdoor living area. The crown jewel is the .76-acre parcel of land that tapers off to your own lakeside resort, featuring an covered outdoor kitchen, fire pit, stone boat house to store your water sports supplies and veranda sitting at the mouth of the water, perfect for an entertainer.
Got dreams of becoming a real Texas rancher? 7814 Brown Cemetery Rd. is the perfect place to start with 40 rolling acres of land and its very own swimming hole. Just east of Austin in Manor, the modest-on-the-outside home clocks at 4,412 square feet with five bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms, but there are an additional two living structures on the property. The horseshoe-shaped pond sits in the heart of the property and comes equipped with a water slide, diving board and a fishing dock.