When the beginning of a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, specifically East and Southeast Asian Americans, became obvious, I wrote an article called “Stop the Sinophobia.” In that article, I wrote about the history of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiment, how it continues today and how to combat it. A year later, and we are still seeing this rise present and becoming more dangerous. My heart goes out to the folks and communities who have been affected by this hatred that has cost many lives. There is a growing need to stand up for and in support of East and Southeast Asian folks, and there are many ways to do it. For this article, I’m going to list some local Kansas City East and Southeast Asian-owned shops because often, the best support is monetary.
- Cafe Cà Phê
You’ve probably already heard of them but I had to include them on this list. On top of being a phenomenal place to pick up Vietnamese drinks, they’ve also been leading lots of efforts around combating Asian Hate in Kansas City through community rallies and conversations. I haven’t been able to visit the cafe yet but everyone has recommended the Paris By Night Latte to me!
- Out of Line Apparel
I found out about this one through a friend but Out of Line Apparel is a local streetwear brand founded in 2019. Their pieces are cool and very unique. I really like the artistic touch that the designer has; it makes the clothing feel really authentic. If you’re into streetwear, I would definitely recommend checking out this shop.
- Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop
This is a restaurant I’ve begun to frequent after living in central Kansas City for a few years. I adore this place’s Chicken Pad Thai and Satay Chicken, and would recommend them to anyone! While doing more research about this restaurant for this article, I found this really touching article about Malisa Monyakula who is the owner and founder.
- Vietnam Cafe
I only recently tried Pho a year ago before the beginning of the pandemic and haven’t had the chance to branch out from the one place my friends took me to, but this is a place that has been recommended to me a lot whenever I bring up Pho. But if Pho isn’t your thing, they have a variety of other popular Vietnamese dishes that I’m sure are amazing.
- Bruu Cafe
After watching almost everyone I know post pictures of their drinks from this place and going on about how amazing they are, I have been dying to go. Bruu Cafe is one of the many amazing boba shops in Kansas City, springing up rather recently. Between the pictures my friends post and the ones I saw on the website, all of the drinks look so good and I’m very excited to try one of their rainbow bubble drinks!
Growing up, I was definitely used to not-local chain businesses because of the comfort that they gave me that I could expect certain things. Over the past few years, especially with my parents building their own small business, I’ve experienced first-hand the amount of support that buying things from a small local business does. There are, of course, so many ways to support East and Southeast Asian folks right now while they need it most but this is one of the easiest and most impactful ways. It’s also really fulfilling trying new things and getting to explore other people’s interpretations of the world around them through their business.