Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Colorado Springs
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This month, we celebrate the important contributions that members of the AAPI community have made throughout the history of the United States. As part of this special time of year, we also pay special recognition to the rich and diverse music, food and traditions that generations of AAPI citizens have infused into our collective culture.
The AAPI community is made up of individuals with ethnic roots in India, China, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga and many, many more. In fact, 75 different countries are represented by the U.S. citizens and residents who identify as AAPI. As you can imagine, that only makes AAPI Heritage Month even more special for those who want to celebrate the community — because there is a lot of community to celebrate! In fact, El Paso County is home to the third largest population of Asian Americans in the state of Colorado. If you want to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in the Pikes Peak region this May, we have a list of ways to engage and explore. Check it out.
Great Places in the Pikes Peak Region for AAPI Food
Our enormous AAPI community means that Colorado Springs has the incredible fortune to sample from a variety of cuisines. There are so many different countries represented that we had to narrow recommendations down to just a few options. If none of the restaurants below strike your fancy, rest assured that there are numerous other locations offering a taste of ethnic cuisines brought to Colorado from all over the Asian continent.
Yellow Mountain Tea House
Yellow Mountain Tea House is an amazing place to sip on high-quality teas while snacking on a delightful selection of small plates featuring beloved Chinese cuisine. The tea house is located in the heart of Old Colorado City, offering both a restaurant with unique seating and a retail shop with hundreds of teas. Owner Lin Lie Cen, who also goes by Tanya notes that there are more than 300 varieties available. Tanya hails from southern China and named her tea house after Yellow Mountain (Mount Huangshan), which is famous for its beautiful landscape, which has been the subject of art, literature and poetry for centuries. If you do sit down for a tea, the shop offers an authentic Chinese tea ceremony that will teach you all about the traditions and practices.
Little Nepal in Westside Colorado Springs
Little Nepal is frequently touted as some of the best Indian food in Colorado Springs, with many “Best of” awards to prove it. The location itself is decorated in opulent fashion and the staff is always super friendly and helpful when it comes to making a selection. Of course, where they really shine is their delicious food. Savory kormas, spicy masalas and soft, heavenly naan are just the beginning. The main thing to remember is that you will need a big appetite to tackle the generous portions of filling food. If you really want to go all out, their offer a daily lunch buffet that will let you sample from more than one option, plus dine on apps and sides. Local’s tip: When they tell you their hot is extra hot, believe them.
Haole Hawaiian Grinds
Downtown Colorado Springs is a hotspot for great food and Roots Café, newly opened just days before AAPI month began, is no exception. The restaurant offers flavorful Hawaiian food cooked by “Mama D.” Her main ingredient? Aloha, of course. The location began as a food truck that has since gained enough of a following to move into a standing location. Try out the spam musubi or have yourself a heaping plate of chicken katsu. If you can’t pick just one meal (and it really is pretty difficult), maybe bring a crew and order a bunch of meals to really sample all the restaurant has to offer.
Wild Ginger Thai in Old Colorado City
Wild Ginger Thai is a family-owned restaurant that has been a longtime favorite for visitors and westside locals. The restaurant has a warm and inviting atmosphere and an extensive menu of Thai favorites, like traditional curies, pad Thai and tom yung gai. The staff is incredible — friendly, welcoming and always quick with a recommendation. We’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite dish from Wild Ginger, so we simply suggest you hit of the Chef’s Specials section of the menu.
Fun AAPI Events that Celebrate Heritage and Culture
May 6, 10 a.m. & May 12, 3 p.m. | Manitou Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave. | $42 | Register
This two-hour class will teach you all you need to know about amigurumi, a form of Japanese crocheting or knitting. The style uses increases and decreases to create a “wrapping” for the stuffed interior, which is then closed off upon completion. These tiny projects can be decorated to look like birds, kitties and other critters. Students can bring their own yarn and hooks or pay $10 and get supplies from the teacher. This is a fun way to create with the fiber arts and get a fast pay-off in the form of a new and adorable fuzzy friend.
Conversation Over Cookies
May 20 | 1:15-2:45 p.m. | Cheyenne Mountain Library, 1785 S. 8th St., Suite 100| Register here.
This fun event helps all levels of Japanese speakers to spend an afternoon hanging out and playing boardgames with fluent speakers of the language. Hosted by the Japan-America Society of Southern Colorado, English speakers will hop from table to table trying out their skills while enjoying community — and cookies. The organization is on the look-out for fluent Japanese speakers to participate in this monthly event, so if you have been excited to flex your multi-lingual skills, be sure to connect! The cost is just $5 non-members.
4th Annual AANHPI Story Time & AANHPI Vendor Market
May 29 | Noon-3 p.m. | A La Casa,1023 East Costilla Street Colorado Springs, CO 80903 | Register
Now in its fourth year, this informative and entertaining event is a celebration of Asian-American/Native Hawai’ian and Pacific Islander heritage and culture. AANHPI Storytime includes art activities, special guest artists, music and, of course, stories. This is an afternoon of appreciation that also features the chance to shop with local vendors and take home a bit of culture for yourself. A silent auction will be held during the event, with proceeds supporting the Little Miss Story Hour. Little Miss Story Hour is a diverse, inclusive program designed to empower the many different cultures that make up our communities while fostering equity, inclusion and understanding. Registration is required for the story time portion of the event.
Whether attending an educational event or trying out a new cuisine, we hope that AAPI Month brings you a whole new appreciation for the extensive contributions that this expansive collective of unique and diverse cultures has infused into American life.