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    celebrates

    Asian American
    and Pacific Islander
    Heritage Month 2021

    The AAPI team members here at MNTN wanted to put together this page to help celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We hope you enjoy some of the things we want to share from our community.

    Asian American Movies to Watch

    Here are some recent picks and diverse movie pairings curated by our Front-end Developer Julian Park - creator of the #moviechat Slack channel.

    Fun Movies

    The Big Sick

    The Big Sick (2017)

    98% | R | Watch Trailer

    Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family's expectations, and his true feelings.

    Searching

    Searching (2018)

    92% | PG-13 | Watch Trailer

    David Kim becomes desperate when his 16-year-old daughter, Margot, disappears and an immediate police investigation leads nowhere. He decides to search the one place that no one else has: Margot's laptop.


    Award-Winners

    The Farewell

    The Farewell (2019)

    97% | PG | Watch Trailer

    Billi's family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch -- the only person that doesn't know she only has a few weeks to live.

    Minari

    Minari (2020)

    98% | PG-13 | Watch Trailer

    A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.


    Dreamers

    Yellow Rose

    Yellow Rose (2019)

    87% | PG-13 | Watch Trailer

    A Filipina teen from a small Texas town fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while having to decide between staying with her family or leaving the only home she has known.

    Minding the Gap

    Minding the Gap (2018)

    100% | NR | Watch Trailer

    Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust-Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.


    LGBTQ

    The Half of It

    The Half of It (2020)

    97% | PG-13 | Watch Trailer

    When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu agrees to write a love letter for a jock, she doesn't expect to become his friend - or fall for his crush.

    Spa Night

    Spa Night (2016)

    96% | NR | Watch Trailer

    A closeted Korean-American teenager follows his desires and finds more than he bargains for at a Korean spa.


    Disney Animation

    Bao

    Bao (2018)

    89% | G | Watch Trailer

    A woman who is suffering from empty nest syndrome gets a second shot at motherhood when one of her handmade dumplings springs to life.

    Raya and the Last Dragon

    Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

    94% | PG | Watch Trailer

    In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.

    Books About Asian-American Identity and Experience

    Reading literature is essential in learning more about Asian American history as well as gaining an understanding of what it means to identify as an Asian American, and the experiences that entails.
    Here are some books our senior interactive designer, Aisha Deocares, recommends.

    History

    The Making of Asian America

    The Making of Asian America: A History

    By Erica Lee

    Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. But as Lee shows, Asian Americans have continued to struggle as both “despised minorities” and “model minorities,” revealing all the ways that racism has persisted in their lives and in the life of the country.

    Asian American Dreams

    Asian American Dreams

    By Helen Zia

    Part memoir, part social history, this book is about the transformation of Asian Americans from a few small, disconnected, and largely invisible ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society.

    Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now

    Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now

    By Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, Philip Wang

    In this intimate and frequently hilarious guided tour through the pop-cultural touchstones and sociopolitical shifts, Rise chronicles how we’ve arrived at today’s unprecedented diversity of Asian American cultural representation through interactive graphics, charts, graphic essays from major AAPI artists, exclusive roundtables with Asian American cultural icons, and more.


    Memoirs/Essays

    Minor Feelings

    Minor Feelings

    By Cathy Park Hong

    A collection of essays that combine memoir, cultural criticism, and history. Together, they explore the author’s formation of her political and racial consciousness through her experience as a child of Korean immigrants.

    Dear America

    Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen

    By Jose Antonio Vargas

    Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called “the most famous undocumented immigrant in America,” tackles one of the defining issues of our time in this explosive and deeply personal call to arms.

    Good Girls Marry Doctors

    Good Girls Marry Doctors

    Edited by Piyali Bhattacharya

    Each of the beautifully lyrical essays in Good Girls Marry Doctors takes readers on thoughtful journeys through rebellion and disobedience, as in the book’s subtitle, but also insightful examinations of faith and spirituality, motherhood and the choice to remain childfree, poignant tales of coming out and the battle to follow one’s own dreams when a gold standard for one’s future has already been set.


    Fiction

    The Sympathizer

    The Sympathizer

    By Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Set as the flashback in a coerced confession of a political prisoner, the book tells the story of the South Vietnamese Government in 1975 and subsequent events in American exile in Los Angeles, through the eyes of a half-Vietnamese, half-French undercover communist agent.

    Interior Chinatown

    Interior China

    By Charles Yu

    Willis Wu, who acts on a police procedural called “Black and White” and is chasing his dream role of “Kung Fu Guy.” However, he must first work his way up through a series of roles, including “Generic Asian Man” and “Background Oriental Making a Weird Face.”

    No-No Boy

    No-No Boy

    By John Okada

    Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro Yamada earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. Ichiro’s voice subverts Japanese postwar “model-minority” stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man’s “threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world.”


    Graphic Novels

    Superman Smashes the Klan

    Superman Smashes the Klan

    By Gene Leun Yang

    Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial “Clan of the Fiery Cross” and drawn by Gurihiru, Gene Luen Yang brings us his personal retelling of the adventures of the Lee family as they team up with Superman to smash the Klan!

    American Born Chinese

    American Born Chinese

    By Gene Leun Yang

    A creative tale about three different characters that seemingly have nothing in common, American Born Chinese weaves together these narratives in a unique and satisfying way. Jin Wang is a Chinese American student in a town where no one else looks like him.

    They Called Us Enemy

    They Called Us Enemy

    By George Takei

    They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the terrors and small joys of childhood in the shadow of legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s tested faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

    Shortcomings

    Shortcomings

    By Adrian Tomine

    Adrian Tomine's graphic novel Shortcomings is his only work that fully deals with themes of being a young Asian-American male in American society. Ben Tanaka, the story's protagonist, lives in Berkeley, California with his politically active girlfriend Miko Hayashi.


    Children's Books

    The Name Jar

    The Name Jar

    By Yangsook Choi

    There is nothing more embarrassing for a new student than to have their name mispronounced by classmates and teachers alike. Instead of dealing with being called by various, incorrect names, Unhei decides to let her classmates give her a name. As the students fill the jar with different suggestions, Unhei begins to realize the power and honor in her own Korean name.

    Front Desk

    Front Desk

    By Kelly Yang

    Mia and her family are working in less than desirable conditions at a motel after moving to the United States to start a new life. Despite the tough circumstances, Mia spends her shifts at the motel dreaming about becoming a writer while also assisting her parents as they help new immigrants acclimate to the country.

    Local Asian American Restaurants to Support

    Here is a list of recommended restaurants in Southern California, and dishes to try across the vast and wide spectrum of Asian cultures. Many of them are favorites of our Creative Director and resident foodie, Sharon Hom. These are restaurants you’d find in ethnic enclaves outside of Los Angeles, such as the Vietnamese in Orange County, Chinese and Taiwanese in San Gabriel Valley, or Japanese in Torrance, but they are all certainly worth the drive. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly a place to start. (Note: Yelp links have been included, but ignore the Yelp ratings. It’s a known fact amongst us AAPI that Yelp ratings are by no means an indicator of how delicious it is!)

    Chinese

    Kang Kang Food Court

    Kang Kang Food Court

    Known for their Shanghai Pan-Fried Dumplings (“Shenzen bao”). They also have a hot food bar and huge menu of dishes from various regions in China, so it’s a great way to explore Chinese food from all over.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Baccali Cafe and Rotisserie

    Baccali Cafe and Rotisserie

    Eclectic “Hong Kong-style cafe” food has been comfort food for many Cantonese all over the world and all the way to our very own San Gabriel Valley. There’s a lot of Western influence in these dishes—you can read more about the history here.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    JTYH

    JTYH Restaurant

    Known for their knife-cut noodles. Try their Beef Stewed Noodle Soup!

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Korean

    Ham Ji Park

    Ham Ji Park

    Known for their pork spare ribs and pork neck stew. The kimchi fried rice is mixed in a stone pot at your table, and very tasty as well. Go with friends because the portions are huge.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Seongbukdong

    Seongbukdong

    Known for their braised beef short ribs (“galbi jjim”).

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    MDK Noodles

    MDK Noodles

    Formerly Myung Dong Kyoja. Known for their chicken noodle soup (“dak kalguksu”) and dumplings (“mandu”). Their delicious kimchi is housemade and very garlicky, leaving you with a stinky breath and a satisfied stomach.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Japanese

    Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden

    Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden

    Known for their soba noodles, freshly made in-house.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Izakaya Hachi

    Izakaya Hachi

    Great spot for traditional izakaya “Japanese bar” food.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Fugetsu Do

    Fugetsu Do

    Delicious and colorful Japanese desserts like soft mochi to satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Vietnamese

    Mai Phung

    Mai Phung

    Popular dishes include: crab, shrimp and pork tapioca noodle soup (“banh canh tom cua thit heo”), crab, shrink and pork dried rice noodle (“hu tieu kho tom cua thit”) crab, shrimp and pork fried rice (“com chien tom cua thit”) and egg rolls. For a delicious Vietnamese drink, try the pandan mung bean drink (“dou xanh la dua”). Pro tip: expect a wait on weekends, so try to line up before they open.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Quan Hy

    Quan Hy

    Must try this popular Vietnamese dish that originated in the city of Hue: “banh beo,” or Vietnamese steamed rice cakes. “Bun bo hue” is another popular Vietnamese noodle soup from Hue, containing rice vermicelli, beef and a spicy kick.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Pho Akaushi

    Pho Akaushi

    Ask a Vietnamese person where you can get good pho in Los Angeles, and they will tell you to go to Orange County instead. Here is one that comes highly recommended.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Cambodian

    Phnom Penh Noodle Shack

    Phnom Penh Noodle Shack

    This popular spot is actually a breakfast spot—they close at 3pm, so arrive early and expect a wait. Their menu makes it easy: try the House Special (Phnom Penh Noodles). You can get the noodles dry, and it comes with a delicious pork bone broth on the side, or have your noodles directly in the soup.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Laoatian

    Vientiane Lao Thai

    Vientiane Lao Thai

    Recommended dishes include the Lao sausage (served with a delicious spicy dipping sauce), crispy fried rice (“Nam kao tod), “kao piak” or chicken rice noodle soup, “pho Lao”, and papaya salad.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Filipino

    LA Rose Cafe

    LA Rose Cafe

    Serves traditional Filipino cuisine. Try the halo-halo while you’re there!

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Wanderlust Creamery

    Wanderlust Creamery

    Wanderlust is known for their unique flavors inspired by world travel. The Passionfruit Cacao (it’s vegan!) and the Ube Malted Crunch (one of their signature flavors) both come highly recommended.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Lasita

    Lasita

    (Formerly Lasa) Owned by Filipino Americans, this restaurant recently pivoted during the pandemic and is now doing dishes inspired by rotisserie and lechon from the Philippines.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Indian

    Flavor of India

    Flavor of India

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    India's Restaurant

    India's Restaurant

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Burmese

    Mutiara Food & Market

    Mutiara Food & Market

    Try the “mee goreng” (spicy fried noodles), nasi goreng (fried rice), and any one of the curries while you’re there.

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Himalayan

    Himalayan House

    Himalayan House

    Order your choice of “naan” (Tandoori baked bread), “momo” (dumplings), “chow chow” (Nepali-style noodles), “aloo gobi” (potatoes and cauliflower), and any of the “tikka masala” dishes.

    Check Them Out on Yelp
    Tara's Himalayan Cuisine

    Tara's Himalayan Cuisine

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Indonesian

    Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine

    Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine

    Check Them Out on Yelp

    Asian American Businesses to Patronize

    Businesses have taken a hit because of the pandemic and Asian American businesses have seen the brunt of it. Here is a list of Asian American businesses you can throw your support behind.

    Skincare

    Soko Glam

    Soko Glam

    sokoglam.com

    Korean skincare is world-famous. This website makes it accessible and easy to order online.


    Books

    A Good Used Book

    A Good Used Book

    agoodusedbook.com

    Asian-owned online bookstore based in Koreatown, Los Angeles.


    Hardware/Nurseries

    Anzen Hardware

    Anzen Hardware

    yelp.com/biz/anzen-hardware-los-angeles

    Japanese-owned nursery and hardware and kitchen supply store.

    Yamada

    Yamada

    yelp.com/biz/yamada-gardena

    Japanese-owned garden supply store.

    Hashimoto

    Hashimoto

    yelp.com/biz/hashimoto-nursery-los-angeles

    Japanese-owned nursery.


    Food

    Health-Ade

    Health-Ade

    health-ade.com

    Small-batch, handcrafted kombucha.

    Omsom

    Omsom

    omsom.com

    Direct-to-consumer food brand that sells “starters,” or sauce mixes for Asian dishes.

    Bokksu

    Bokksu

    bokksu.com

    Online Japanese snack market and subscription box. The subscription box is a curated mix of authentic snacks from Japan. Makes for an awesome gift!