Daruma, photo by Wena Poon.

Searching for Austin’s Asian American Soul

I said I missed Asia. His elderly friend beckoned to me and showed me his smartphone–a video of a dance performance in China. Little girls singing shrilly. “If you miss it,” he beamed, “Just watch YouTube.”

By Wena Poon
August 14, 2014 |

Recently I was asked, “Does Austin, Texas have an Asian American ‘soul’?” Depends. According to the New York Times, the Asian American population in Austin is booming at 6.5%, above the national average of 4.2%. And it is expected to double by 2020. You could have fooled me. After living in New York and San Francisco, I find downtown Austin to be a really white place.

Join me as I search for Austin’s very own brand of Asian Americana. Click on an image and work your way through. And if you’d like to recreate the journey, see below for a map of my route.

 

Sources:

a) According to New York Times statistics, the Asian American population in Austin is booming at 6.5%

b) The annual Dragon Boat Festival at Austin’s Lady Bird Lake

c) A noodle shop called TC Noodle House

d) The Austin temple is called Thien Hau Temple

e) I like eating at Daruma because they have Apple TV, which is usually tuned to something Japan-related

f) I have two lifelines to food that tastes like home

g) MT Supermarket is the local Vietnamese/Chinese market

h) Wena Poon is a photographer and author of 8 books of literary fiction

Map of Austin Locations, courtesy of Wena Poon.

Map of Austin Locations, courtesy of Wena Poon.

 

 

 

Wena Poon is a photographer and author of 8 books of literary fiction. She has been nominated for numerous international awards. Her work has been widely reprinted and also adapted for radio and stage. She designs and releases new books under her own Austin, Texas imprint, Sutajio Wena, whose motto is “Born in Asia. Made in USA.” She has lived in Austin since 2007. www.wenapoon.com

If you liked this article and would like to donate to the writer and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, please DONATE HERE.

Posted in , Art, Family, Food, home 3, intro home, Itineraries, photographs, special issues, Stories

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