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Support These Asian American-Owned Alexandria Businesses

Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May and show your support for the #StopAsianHate movement by getting to know some of Alexandria, VA’s Asian American business owners. Find new favorite spots to enjoy throughout the year and see what these owners want you to know about their businesses. Keep reading for inspiration on where to plan your next date night, go rock climbing, add to your art collection and more.

If your restaurant or shop is Asian American or Pacific Islander-owned and located within the City of Alexandria and you are interested in joining this list, please email the author at [email protected].

Creative Spaces and Retail Spots

 
 
 
 
 
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Kyo Gallery on S. Patrick Street is an international art gallery showcasing the most talented artists from around the world. Gallery Director Jason Longfellow and his team often coordinate two simultaneous thematic exhibitions, with works available in three gallery showrooms. The gallery also has a robust online presence for collecting virtually.

Madame Coco Emporium and Everything Chocolate

Opening in May 2024 on S. St. Asaph Street, Madame Coco Emporium melds fantasy and luxury in a whimsical retail boutique full of chocolates, champagne, gifts and a bon vivant ice cream bar. Step into a unique shopping experience, combined with an adult ice cream social and a place for private parties. 

Must-Try: Sophisticated ice cream flavors including Strawberries & Rose (Veuve Cliquot), Highland Truffle (Mcallen), Lucky Brownie (Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream) and more.

Restaurants and Sweet Spots

Avanti Holdings Group Restaurants

Image Credits, left to right: The King’s Random; Teddy Kim; The Peoples Drug

Teddy Kim (pictured above) is an Alexandria native and principal of Avanti Holdings Group. Visit one of Teddy’s four Alexandria eateries. Sip a drinkable work of art at The Peoples Drug, sample tacos served from a revamped car garage at Chop Shop Taco, satisfy your pizza cravings at Handover by the Slice and order a round of rare Japanese whiskeys from The King’s Ransom. Try takeout from any of these Old Town spots for the perfect riverside picnic.

The Peoples Drug’s Must-Try Dishes: The People’s Burger and Roasted Garlic Egg Salad Sandwich.

Chop Shop Taco’s Must-Try Dishes: Crunchy Brisket Tacos, the smashed avocado appetizer and popular weekly specials.

Handover by the Slice’s Must-Try Dishes: Try the white pizza and keep an eye out for the daily specials.

The King’s Ransom Must-Try Dishes: Cocktail are the star here – try the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, VA’s only Toki Highball Machine and rare Japanese Whiskeys.

Hummingbird

Image Credits: Meshelle Armstrong (left) and Hummingbird (right)

The water-view restaurant Hummingbird, owned by Philippines-born Meshelle Armstrong (pictured above), is an energetic bar and kitchen inspired by the American spirit of cherished traditions: Clambakes and crab boils, fish fries and oyster roasts. “Our menu follows the rhythm of the seasons and celebrates the seafood pride of our favorite coastal waters,” says Meshelle. “It’s the little things at Hummingbird!”

Must-Try Dishes: Oysters on the half shell; bronzed crab-and-corn fritters; lemony lobster linguine; and whatever whole grilled fish is being offered. 

KungFu Kitchen

Image Credit: Matt Smith for Visit Alexandria

Located in the West End’s Alexandria Commons shopping center, KungFu Kitchen serves Northern-style authentic Chinese food. Owner Amy Liang and her team specialize in dishes such as soup dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, handmade dumplings and wok recipes.

Must-Try Dish: Soup dumplings – made to order little buns filled with soup.

Pasara Thai Restauarant

Image Credit: Pasara Thai Restaurant

Owner Thia Kongubol (pictured above) helms Pasara Thai, with locations in Carlyle and Kingstowne. For more than a decade, Pasara Thai has served the freshest, healthiest and most flavorful Thai food in the DMV area.

Must-Try Dishes: Savory and spicy drunken noodles and roasted duck curry, which features the perfect balance of chili paste and coconut milk.

Pho Nam

Image Credit: Christopher Hwang

Pho Nam on King Street offers traditional recipes designed to spotlight authentic Vietnamese comfort food, served fresh in a rustic setting perfect for friends and family. Owner Quang Nguyen emigrated to the U.S. in 1977 and opened the original Pho Nam in Gaithersburg 20 years ago. His nephew, Ryan Le, is the general manager of the Old Town location. Explore the hashtag #theGreatTastefromYesteryear to explore mouthwatering menu items.

Must-Try Dishes: Famous pho bowls and Vietnamese sandwiches

Taqueria Picoso

Image Credits: Taqueria Picoso

D.C. native Lynn Umemoto and her husband Tom Voskuil deliver a taste of Mexico City via Taqueria Picoso in Alexandria’s West End. Voted number 3 in WTOP’s “Top Ten Best Tacos” competition, Taqueria Picoso has quickly become one of the region’s best taquerias during its 14 months of operation – most of which has overlapped with the pandemic. Lynn is a fifth-generation Japanese-American and is also a principal owner of Grafik, a branding and marketing agency that has called Old Town home for more than 40 years.

Must-Try Dishes: Crave-worthy orders include the tacos al pastor (check out the vertical roaster behind the counter!), barbacoa and birria tacos and elote (street corn).

Sisters Thai and The Magnolia Dessert Bar

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Owner Tammie Disayawathana and her team opened Sisters Thai and the Magnolia Dessert Bar in late 2020 with an Instagrammable interior, drinks and cuisine at the growing EDENS development at 530 First Street. Sample one of Chef Moo’s Thai specialties, such as pla yum mango—crispy tilapia topped with spicy mango salad—followed by decadent, decked-out desserts like lychee raspberry cheesecake.

Must-Try Dish: Chef Moo’s Crispy Duck Krapow and Honey Toast for a sweet finish.

Spice Kraft Indian Bistro

Image Credit: Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria

Spice Kraft Indian Bistro is a family and friends-owned and operated restaurant which satisfies every customer by serving authentic Indian food in a contemporary way. Pick up raved-about samosas and palaak chat from the menu built by partners Anthony Sankar and Executive Chef Premnath Durairaj. 

Must-Try Dish: Lamb shank rogan josh, which Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema says “looks impressive and taste ambitious.”

Thai Signature

 
 
 
 
 
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Located on the heart of King Street, Thai Signature offers unique dishes inspired by various types of street food across Thailand, enhanced with the freshest ingredients and paired with craft cocktails.

Must-Try Dishes: Taste regional plates such as E-Saan chicken named for the northeastern region of Thailand, consisting of grilled marinated chicken served with papaya salad and sticky rice. Or, try Bangkok-based Khao Mun Gai for steamed pilaf ginger rice topped with steamed chicken served with cucumbers and ginger bean sauce. 

Wooboi Hot Chicken

Image Credits: Evan Michio for Visit Alexandria

Pick your piquant level at Old Town North’s new location of Wooboi Hot Chicken, Michael Choi’s raved-about regional franchise featuring chicken sandwiches to make your mouth (and eyes) water.

Must-Try Dish: The Sando, featuring a chicken breast, ciderslaw, butter pickles and “Comeback sauce” on a potato bun.

Yunnan by Potomac Noodle House


Image Credits: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Dr. Zongmin Li brings the “soul food” of her childhood in China’s Yunnan Province all the way to Old Town North. To develop Yunnan by Potomac’s menu, the owner/general manager and her team traveled to southwest China to sample mixian rice noodles and glean secrets from local chefs. The silky, gluten-free mixian noodles form the perfect base for braised beef, shiitake mushrooms and more comforting combos.

Must-Try Dishes: In addition to the mouthwatering mixian options, try the new Spicy Fried Chicken Bao Buns, Garlic Butter Crab Dumplings and family-style Pu’er Tea Smoked Duck.

More Alexandria Businesses

Get Fit Studio

 
 
 
 
 
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Get Fit Studio is an Old Town fitness boutique specializing in HIIT and strength training, providing one-on-one and small-group training as well as group sessions across levels. Let the team helmed by Philippines native Carlo Pascasio and his wife, Ann Pham, help you reach your personal wellness goals.

Most Popular Service: Personal training with the skilled and motivating Get Fit team.

The Lion’s Den

Image Credit: Traye Gilliam

The Lion’s Den is a Filipina-founded, DMV-based dance and wellness community dedicated to creating spaces for people to meet new friends and freely express themselves. Through heart-centered programming and community-focused practices, The Lion’s Den provides in-person and virtual classes, events, workshops and performance opportunities to help cultivate confidence and new connections. Founder Lauren DeVera can be found performing, teaching, curating events and coaching creatives and entrepreneurs across the D.C. metropolitan area and online community, as well as producing the wellness and creative podcast Thrive and Thread.

Most Popular Offerings: The Lion’s Den’s most popular offerings include the weekly open-level dance classes, outdoor yoga at Goodies Frozen Custard and Mindful Morning: an online meditation and journaling workshop.

Petal’s Edge Floral Design

Image Credits: Lisa Boggs (left) and Rodney Bailey Photography (right)

Founded by Lead Designer Gerry Rogers in 2004, Petal’s Edge Floral Design specializes in custom floral design for D.C.-area weddings and events. In 2018, the team established the Old Town shop and continue to expand flower offerings for daily occasions, birthdays and other celebrations.

Most Popular Order: None! Clients consistently tell Gerry and her team that they appreciate the designers’ range and that they are not “one trick ponies.”

Sportrock Climbing Centers

Lillian Chao-Quinlan (pictured above) helms Sportrock Climbing Centers, whose largest location is off Eisenhower in Alexandria. Chao-Quinlan’s goal is to make Sportrock an inclusive and uplifting place, one where everyone can train and grow stronger together as climbers, as humans, and as a community.

Most Popular Class: Sportrock’s Introduction to Rock Climbing class will teach you the ins and outs of the facility and let you experience bouldering and top-rope climbing for yourself. Sportrock’s instructors will walk you through what bouldering on the shorter, steeper walls is all about and will also do all of the rope work for you on the taller walls. No prior experience necessary.

 

Header Images: Casa Luna

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