Support Asian American Pacific Islander Businesses & Beyond

The owners of Yimm Oakland are ready to welcome you for downright good Thai home cooking. Photo courtesy of Berkeleyside.

It's time to honor, reflect, and celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and heritages. We can do that by focusing on AAPI locally-owned businesses and places to visit, to learn more, celebrate and show our support. With Bay Area counties moving into lower tiers on the COVID-19 map, many places are reopening and we can now not only visit them online but in person, too. Below, find a sampling of places and ways you can support and make a difference. Onward!

Editor's Note: Please wear a mask and keep a physical distance of at least six feet while riding the trains or at an in-person event. Before you travel on BART, use our Trip Planner to get estimated arrival and departure times. See BART's 15-step plan to safely welcome back riders here.

ChinatownThe gates of San Francisco's Chinatown welcome you to Walkway Weekends. Photo courtesy of SF Travel.

Things to do

San Francisco Chinatown Walkway Weekends | Montgomery St

SF’s Chinatown’s iconic Grant Avenue is closed off to traffic and cars for a pleasant walkway every weekend (11am-5pm) through June. Enjoy a historic street stroll, outdoor dining, and a cultural shopping experience. Take BART to Montgomery St and walk four minutes to the Grant Avenue Chinatown entrance.

Asian Art Museum | Civic Center/UN Plaza + online

After a year of mostly being closed due to shelter-in-place orders, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum is open! Measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of visitors and they are happy to welcome you back through their front doors. Purchase timed tickets in advance to visit in-person or download one of the mobile exhibition guides for an interactive visit from wherever you may be. Much awaits you through art and history that the museum so beautifully represents and showcases. However you choose to take in the experience, the museum has missed you and the art is waiting! Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk five minutes to the Larkin Street museum entrance.

SF Travel | City-wide

SF Travel offers a listing of adventures in The City in their Guide to Eastern Influence in San Francisco. Visit AAPI communities and cultural sites this month and all year long.

Arkipelago Books SFGolda Sargento and Lily Prijoles are at the helm of Arkipelago Books. Photo courtesy of Wilfred Galil.

Local bookstores

Arkipelago Books | Online

One of only two distributors of Filipino specialty books outside of the Philippines, Arkipelago Books is a cornerstone of the Filipino community in San Francisco and beyond. Their comprehensive collection of contemporary and historical Filipino American books introduces readers to Filipino literature, culture, social sciences, art, poetry, history, and more. Through the challenges of the last year, the brick-and-mortar Mission St. bookstore remains closed, but you can browse and shop their same collections and book titles online.

Eastwind Books of Berkeley | Downtown Berkeley + online

Located in Downtown Berkeley, Eastwind Books carries a variety of titles, but specializes in Asian American literature as well as books for and about Asian studies, ethnic studies, language learning, traditional Chinese medicine, and martial arts. The bookstore features regular readings and events featuring AAPI authors, artists, and community members, and serves as a publisher for many local AAPI authors. Stop by the store or browse and shop their selection of books on their website. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk two minutes to 2066 University Ave.

NOTE: The NBC Today Show has published a list of “14 notable books by Asian American authors to read in 2021”. Find the article here.

Nate TanThe creative force behind New Skool's productions, Nate Tan. Photo courtesy of SF Chronicle.

Other businesses

New Skool | Online

Bay Area artist and graphic designer Nathan Tan combined his passion for art and his experience in the clothing industry into creating a clothing line for adults and kids. New Skool’s hoodies, tees, and other streetwear feature his SF-centric art, from the Sutro Tower to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can order from the website, or New Skool is carried at small family-owned boutiques in the Bay Area and beyond. Nathan also sells his original graffiti artwork at local art galleries under Nate1Design.

Hello Shiso | Online

Your kiddie’s hair accessory game will be the envy of all with Hello Shiso. Mimi Chang hand makes her adorable, playful collection of hair clips, hair ties, and hairbands from her Berkeley studio. Her whimsical designs have something for every kid’s taste, from fairies to dinosaurs to fruit. Before you get too jealous, there’s also a collection for grownups – or you can just borrow your kids’ accessories.

Pho 84Grab a yummy and comforting bowl of pho at Pho 84 in Oakland. Photo courtesy of Pho 84.

Good eats

Pho 84 | 19th Street

We certainly couldn’t leave pho off this list! As Oakland’s oldest Vietnamese Restaurant, this comfortable neighborhood gem is only a few minutes’ walk from the BART corporate office and is touted a favorite spot for many who work here! Offering classic Vietnamese dishes, and plenty of pho using only the freshest high-quality ingredients, Pho 84 has been serving up its finest in its little hole-in-the-wall location since before Vietnamese food began to make a footprint on the Bay Area food scene. Take BART to 19th Street station and walk the two minutes to 354 17th St. to experience it for yourself – you won’t be sorry you did.

Great China | Downtown Berkeley

In a wood-laden, minimalist yet trendy setting featuring a full bar, Great China has garnered a great following in Downtown Berkeley on Bancroft Way. Peking duck layered with crispy and thinly sliced skin is a celebrity on the menu alongside honey walnut prawns and the ever-popular pot stickers. Proof that flavorful Chinese food can be found in a polished environment and not just the trusty hole-in-the-wall, Great China greets hungry crows with style and satiating flavors. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk six minutes to 2190 Bancroft Way.

Yimm Oakland | Rockridge

If you’re looking for Thai food, Yimm Oakland offers a menu of truly authentic Thai food along with “other” Thai foods that have been shaped through time and by Bangkok influence. The kitchen carefully sources local ingredients to fit the season while sticking to traditional Thai roots and tastes.  Find homespun foods, rice plates & salads in cozy, minimalist surroundings while following current guidelines for indoor and outdoor patio seating. Make a plan to visit and experience the joy of eating! Take BART to Rockridge and walk five minutes to 6048 College Ave.

Noodles Fresh | El Cerrito Plaza

An El Cerrito Chinese food go-to spot, Noodles Fresh serves authentic Chinese cuisine along with a charming tea tasting area stacked with tea pots for trial and decorative eye-candy. Here, Shanghai scallion noodles, Taiwan beef noodles and Szechuan seafood noodle soup all come in hearty portions. Noodles Fresh is lighter on the salt and oil than you’d expect from a typical Chinese restaurant, with vegan and vegetarian options readily available. Another surprising plus: Gluten-free goers can feel the love with the ample selection of gluten-free noodles. Take BART to El Cerrito Plaza and walk six minutes to 2430 Shattuck Ave.

The Spice Jar | 24th Street/Mission

Touted by some as San Francisco’s eclectic Pan-Asian restaurant, The Spice Jar offers up feel-good cuisine with unique twists on traditional Asian comfort food. Welcoming and affordable, the eatery prides itself on successfully incorporating the best flavors, ingredients, and of course, spices, to its own interpretations of comfort foods from across Asia. From fried rice and dumplings to curry and BBQ, plan to visit for an eclectic and lively atmosphere, locally sourced ingredients and an Asian-inspired, comfort food experience like no other. Take BART to 24th Street/Mission and walk twelve minutes to 2500 Bryant St.

Yank Sing | Embarcadero

Yank Sing specializes in traditional and contemporary Dim Sum in the heart of San Francisco. This location in the Rincon Center is massive and can seat up to 250 people, but despite this expect service to be swift. Must tries include dumplings with scallops, snow pea tendrils and mushrooms, and the “Shanghai Kurobuta Pork Dumplings”. Beyond dumplings there is the baked cha siu bao (smooth discs with sweet-and-sour-pork barbecue filling) and freshly fried sesame balls with a creamy interior. Take BART to Embarcadero and walk five minutes to 101 Spear St.

Spices 3 | 12th Street

What’s in a name? A lot of spicy recipes from China’s Sichuan Province. Szechuan Pork with Explosive Chili, Kiss of Fire Orange Chicken, Spicy Fried Rice. The menu at this casual Oakland Chinatown restaurant makes it clear it celebrates plenty of full flavors not meant for the fearful. Red walls and hanging red lanterns further reflect the powerful tastes that keep patrons coming back to Spices 3 for plates that boldly brim with red chilis. Take BART to 12th St/Oakland and walk three minutes to 370 12th St.

Shangrila Chinese Cuisine | West Dublin/Pleasanton

In Dublin, Shangrila Chinese Cuisine always comes up when the conversation focuses on great Chinese restaurants in the area. You’ll find the classics done well here. Try the chow mein, salt and pepper chicken wings, Mongolian beef and fried rice. Shangrila also offers an alternative menu that features dishes without salt, sugar, cornstarch or oil. Take BART to West Dublin/Pleasanton and walk thirteen minutes to 6568 West Village Pkwy.

China Palace | Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre

For the finest Northern Chinese cuisine, head to China Palace in Walnut Creek. The chefs pride themselves in using only the freshest ingredients from their native provinces. Locals love the Szechuan prawns, Mongolian beef and Hunan chicken. Take BART to Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre and walk seven minutes to 2932 North Main St.

Let's be social. 

Let us know when you visit an AAPI business or take in an experience via social media, @SFBARTable #SFBARTable! Keep up with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see all of the best BARTable (virtual) events, places to eat (grab take out from) and have fun (outside) around the Bay.