Asian Americans make up just 7 percent of the United States’ population but have contributed incalculably to the nation through arts, culture, science, and technology, as well as civil rights activism.
In between 2000 and 2019, the Asian American population of the USA grew by 81 percent—from around 10.5 million people to 18.9 million, according to the Pew Research Center. Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the country and, as a result, their myriad contributions to America’s cultural landscape, which manifest in world-class museums, outstanding dining experiences, exciting Chinatowns and Koreatowns in major cities, and talented women surfers who effortlessly ride legendary waves in Hawai‘i—it’s all an essential part of why it’s so exciting to visit America now.
However, Asian American people continue to face high levels of hate and discrimination. A 2022 study released by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum revealed that 75 percent of women who identify as Asian American or Pacific Island Islander reported that they experienced racism in the past year. And that’s to say nothing of the uptick in violent hate crimes.
For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) this year, AFAR is celebrating the Asian American community with inspiring stories from chefs, business owners, and Jollibee enthusiasts. In this spread, you’ll find explainers on how to best enjoy Chinatowns and Koreatowns in major cities, chef recommendations of restaurants in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Houston, talks with celebrities like Ronny Chieng, and a heartfelt essay on the merits of Chicken Joy and Texas. Read on for your comprehensive travel guide to Asian America.—Mae Hamilton