Food is a language without words, capable of uniting us across cultures and countries. By celebrating Asian food and Asian American-owned restaurants, you’re supporting both a community in need and American culture at large by sharing ideas and tastes. Sharing a meal is one of our most powerful ways to connect with one another, and connection is vital right now. Support your local Asian eateries, and if you’re in the area, try out any of the seven on this list.
It’s especially important right now to show our support because Asian-American businesses have been hit especially hard throughout the pandemic due to the incorrect association of the COVID-19 virus with people of Asian descent. In fact, Asian-owned small businesses have suffered a business loss of 26% since February 2020 (1).
You can show your support for our Asian communities by visiting your local Asian-owned eateries and small businesses. To learn more about ways you can contribute visit the Stop AAPI Hate website.
7 of Our Favorite Gluten-Free Asian-American Restaurants Across the US:
1. Shuei-do Manju, San Jose, CA
Shuei-Do Manju Shop serves a traditional Japanese dessert called Manju, which is mochi filled with various kinds of bean-based fillings(like red bean, mung bean), peanut butter, and matcha. Mochi is made from glutinous rice flour, which refers to the sticky nature of the rice. Despite the “glutinous” in its name, rice flour is a great gluten-free ingredient. Shuei- Do Manju shop has been in operation since 1953, and has served celebrities and politicians such as; Iron Chef Morimoto, Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, and the Emperor of Japan. If you are ever in Japan town in San Jose, definitely give this place a try! They are open Thursday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
2. Nyum Bai,Oakland, CA
Nyum Bai serves delicious food with a majority gluten-free menu in a cool and cozy location in the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland, California. They serve their take on traditional Khmer food, more specifically, street food local to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, by using locally grown produce. If you end up checking this place out we recommend trying their Kuy Teav Phnom Penh, a soup dish which is a staple in Cambodian cuisine, and their chef recommended Prahok Ktiss and rice.
Nyum Bai was opened with the goal of spreading Cambodian culture through food and they have succeeded, you will want to try everything on their menu after reading it! They are currently open for takeout and limited outdoor seating, 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm Wednesday to Friday.
3. Revel, Seattle, WA
Revel was made popular by the late great Anthony Bourdain when he visited Seattle, and if that isn’t enough to convince you to try this place I’m not sure what else can.
This place is run by co-owners/chefs/ husband and wife duo, Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang. Seif and Rachel still work here from time to time to help cook their Korean inspired fusion food. They have a large variety of gluten-free menu items as well, such as their short rib rice cake or their veg rice cake. They also serve several vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegetarian options. If you are in the Fremont area in Seattle and you haven’t heard of this place yet we recommend checking it out! They are currently open every day from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm for takeout and outdoor dining.
4. Cafe Evergreen, New York City, NY
This hidden gluten-free oasis has been serving mouthwatering and delightful Cantonese dishes in New York City for the past 27 years. Owner Frank Moy and his wife Monique pride themselves in serving amazing food and thoughtful service to their beloved community. Many Cantonese dishes contain gluten in some form, but Cafe Evergreen has carefully crafted many gluten-free and vegetarian versions of their popular dishes —such as hot and sour soup, dumplings, and chow fun noodles— so that everyone can enjoy them.
Cafe Evergreen has opened up for dining according to NYC Covid protocols, but is still available for takeout by phone and delivery.
First opening its door in 1997, Âu Lạc owner Mai Nguyen wanted to promote a plant-based diet in her community after using it to overcome her own serious illness. Âu Lạc serves traditional Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine with a plant-based twist, while also trying to accommodate any dietary restrictions that one might have. Everything on their menu is vegan, and a large portion of the dishes are gluten-free as well, which is perfect when eating out in large groups. Âu Lạc specifically sources high-quality ingredients, looking to provide their customers with the most exceptional dishes that they can. Their most popular dishes are the crispy “fish”— which uses fried tofu sheets as the skin and pressed tofu for the flesh— and their rice paper spring rolls. Both Âu Lạc locations are now open with indoor and outdoor dining with proper precautions, and is also available for take-out and through delivery apps.
Among the chains and corporate restaurants in the Marina, Dragon Well remains a family-owned breath of fresh air. Opened in 1998 by Gary and Christina Tan, Dragon Well is dedicated to serving simple but delicious Chinese food from a variety of provinces. Dragon Well uses fresh, local ingredients and hand-makes their potstickers, buns, and mu shu pancakes. Dragon Well also has an extensive, dedicated gluten-free menu with both vegetarian and meat options. The servers are knowledgeable about catering to customers with a gluten-free requirement and the chefs take care not to cross-contaminate food with gluten.
They also provide substitutes for additional dietary restrictions. Combine that with an elegant ambiance and you can see why Dragon Well has stayed a Marina staple for so long! Dragon Well is open for delivery and curb-side pickup from 11:30-3:00 and 5:00-10:00 every day except Tuesday.
Opened in 2010, Gorkha Palace focuses on Indian, Tibetian, and Nepali cuisine. Gorkha Palace uses locally-sourced, organic ingredients—sustainably grown vegetables, humanely raised and hormone free meat, freshly ground spices, and home made ghee. They compost their food waste and use compostable take-out containers. They also run on a Fair Wage Share policy, ensuring all of their staff are equally well paid. All of this means Gorka Palace is one of the most ethically run, green restaurants you could ever hope to eat at. Moreover, their food is delicious, boasting a wide range of clearly marked gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and organic options. Not only are most menu options gluten-free, the staff takes precautions to prevent cross-contamination and know how to cater to a variety of dietary restrictions.
Gorkha Palace is open for curbside pick-up from 3:00 pm to 8:30 pm on Sundays through Thursdays, and from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Although anti-Asian sentiments and attacks are being addressed, to stop Asian hate, we at Cook & Culture believe that it is important to keep the conversation going. One way we can show our support is to appreciate the diverse and delectable dishes that Asian cuisines have to offer. Be sure to check out part one of this 4-part series: 7 Vegetarian Asian-Owned Restaurants We Love for more delicious options.