By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 20, 2024 at 6:32 PM

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which means it’s the perfect time for all of us to listen, learn about and celebrate the contributions, achievements and influence of individuals from the AAPI community.

It’s also a great time to explore the varied culinary traditions found throughout the Asian Diaspora. It’s delicious work that’s become even easier thanks to Asian Restaurant Week, which takes place for its fourth year during the week of May 19-25.

Jeow bong fried rice
Jeow bong fried rice from Sweet Basil

What you should know

Behind the event is ElevAsian, a group of AAPI individuals and allies from around the State of Wisconsin dedicated to amplifying, celebrating and giving voice to people, businesses and initiatives that uplift and support the community.

“Food is a great entry point for learning more about a culture, and it’s also the way members of the AAPI share their care for others as well as a piece of their cultural heritage,” notes Shary Tran of ElevAsian. 

And both care and learning are key in a world where hate crimes and violence toward our AAPI communities is still very real, and the need to stand in solidarity with our communities of color is more important than ever. Asian Restaurant Week provides the perfect opportunity to learn, grow and show our support. 

That means making a concerted effort to dedicate a percentage of your spending to support AAPI-owned restaurants, as well as taking the time to learn, grow and appreciate their contributions to our community.

Win tickets to MKE Dumpling Fest

Amplify your efforts by sharing your favorite dishes from Asian Restaurant Week on social media using hashtag #AsianRestaurantWeekMKE.  Tag ElevAsian on Facebook or Instagram and you could win two tickets to the highly anticipated Second Annual Milwaukee Dumpling Fest on Sunday, June 23 at The Cooperage, 822 S Water St.  (Tickets for the event are expected to go on sale soon!)

You can also follow ElevAsian on Facebook for more facts, features and events during AAPI Heritage Month and beyond. 

ma po tofu
Ma po tofu from Sze Chuan

Delicious inspiration

There are countless restaurants throughout the city (and beyond) that you can choose to support during Asian Restaurant Week and AAPI Heritage Month. You can choose to support any of them.

However, if you need a place to start, I've comprised a list of some of my favorite spots, along with recommendations for something special to try.

You can also head to the ElevAsian website for an even larger list of local favorites identified by members of ElevAsian. It’s a veritable feast of options for cultural and culinary exploration. 

Newer Restaurants

Big Straw Cafe
2088 Miller Park Way, (414) 316-9512

Serving: Poké, croffles, boba tea
[Read more]

the cheel  (now re-opened)
105 S. Main St., Thiensville, (262) 236-9556

Serving: Nepalese, Burmese, Himalayan
[Read more]

Mom’s Kitchen
2177 Silvernail Rd., Pewaukee, (262) 300-7577

Serving: Thai fare, sushi
[Read more]

Pho Spot @ 3rd Street Market Hall
275 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Serving: Pho, Vietnamese dishes
[Read more]

Room Service
2159 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 414-9789

Serving: Thai and Sushi
[Read more]

316 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 485-6010

Serving: Vietnamese dishes and noodles
[Read more]

Sushi Yuki 
2349 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (715) 803-2697 (ext. 2)

Serving: Sushi, select Japanese fare
[Read more]

Todd I Believe I Can Fry
2159 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 488-8565

[Read more]

2224 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 539-3177

Serving: Boba tea, Korean fried chicken, Hong Kong bubble waffles
[Read more]


2945 S. 108th St., (414) 328-9890

Suggestions: Order items like braised eggplant in plum sauce and spare ribs with red bean sauce from their Chinese menu or try out their dim sum offerings.

Fusion Cafe
1427 S. 108th St., West Allis, (414) 257-1199
Try lesser-known dishes from the Northeastern region of China including handmade dumplings (stuffed with pickled cabbage and pork or egg and chives), mala tofu, crispy sweet and sour pork (guobaorou) and garlicky smoked Harbin red sausage.

207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 271-7788

Suggestions: Xiao long bao (soup dumplings; ask to see if they are offering them when you dine in), spicy Shanghai chicken and Shanghai-style duck, a dish redolent with ginger and star anise. 
Jing's will be offering a special discount during Asian Restaurant Week!

J.J. Chen's Eatery
10722 W. Oklahoma Ave., West Allis, (414) 329-8333
Order items like ha gao (shrimp dumplings), stuffed tofu skin with pork and shrimp or Phoenix crown dumplings off of their special dim sum menu.

Cantonese roast duck
Roast duck from Lucky Bakery & BBQ

Lucky Bakery & BBQ
11078 W. National Ave., West Allis, (414) 329-2688
Try a sampling of their sweet and savory baked goods; their crispy pork and roast duck are also phenomenal.

Sze Chuan Restaurant
11102 W. National Ave., West Allis, (414) 885-085
Feast on classics from the Sichuan region in China including cold pork belly with garlic sauce, Szechuan pork dumplings, mapo tofu, twice-cooked pork, cumin-scented grilled lamb and their special spare ribs (order them spicy if you like heat).


Ono Kine Grindz
7215 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa (414) 778-0727

Suggestions: Don't miss their ahi poke, Spam musubi and kalua pig. If you're dining with more than one person, order a platter to try a bit of everything!

Ono Kine Grindz will be offering a free slice of butter mochi with the purchase of any entree during the month of May!

hawaiian fare
A carry-out feast from Ono Kine Grindz

Hmong, Lao & Thai

An Ox Cafe
7411 W. Hampton Ave., (414) 336-0064

Suggestions: An Ox Cafe offers a mix of Hmong, Lao and Thai food; try the nam kow (fried rice salad), housemade Lao sausage, pho or marinated roasted pork.

Nam kow
Nam kow from An Ox Cafe


Antique Indian 
3933 S. 76th St., (414) 509-5839

Suggestions: Try their tasty scrambled paneer bhurji, saag Punjabi (seasoned mustard greens), dal makhani or fish pakora; if you appreciate spicier fare, go for the shrimp vindaloo.

India Garden
2930 N. 117th St., Wauwatosa, (414) 235-9220 
Try their vegetable offerings including mushroom masala, aloo chole (chickpeas, potatoes and tomato in a fragrant, spiced sauce) and beans porial, a great example of a dry southern curry featuring green beans cooked with mustard seeds, curry leaves, coconut, chiles and black lentils.

Saffron Modern Indian Dining
223 N. Water St., (414) 539-4980

Suggestions: Tandoori grilled prawns; goat stew; dal makhani; fig na'an; or just point randomly to anything on the menu (it's all pretty fab)


Indian and Pakistani

7510 W. Layton Ave, Greenfield, (414) 800-4226
Go for the classic beef nihari or the chapli kebab flecked with tomato, onion and pomegranate seeds

Indonesian and Chinese

Peking Chef
8673 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point, (414) 228-8222 
Definitely try a dish off of their Indonesian menu like the nasi goreng (fried rice) or the curry (with choice of protein).


Kawa Ramen & Sushi
2321 N. Murray Ave., (414)-800-7979
3rd Street Market Hall, 725 W. Wisconsin Ave.
On the East Side, try their traditional sushi or tonkotsu ramen; at the 3rd Street Market Hall, go for their yuzu ramen or fresh tuna rice bowl.

Spicy Tuna
4823 W National Ave., (414) 671-4823 
Order their creative maki, which come complete with a side of art (see cover photo for an example).

Tanpopo Ramen
5191 S. 108th St., Hales Corners, (414) 525-2266

Suggestions: You can't go wrong with their ramen, but don't miss their spicy mazeman noodles. So good.

Sushi from Kin by Rice N Roll

Japanese and Thai

Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar + Asian Bistro
2663 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 595-9656
Delve into a bowl of their ramen (the specials are always fun); Or order a selection of sashimi and nigiri with a sake flight alongside.

Kin by Rice N Roll
7484 W. State St., (414) 524-9056
Suggestions: Thai curries here are delicious. But don't be hesitant to try some of their beautiful sushi like the Tosa Fab roll (fresh yellowtail, cilantro, avocado, black rice, super white tuna). 


222 E. Erie St., 
(414) 885-2611
Suggestions: Try their leeky chicken, Korean fried chicken wings and tender grilled pork belly. Be sure to order dessert (seriously).

Maru Korean Bistro
2150 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 210-4139
Try the kimchee dumplings, budae jigae or short rib galbi.

Banchan from Char'd

Lao and Thai

3900 W. Brown Deer Rd., Brown Deer, (414) 362-4264
Try their tom kha gai; plump, crisp fried squid and slightly fiery waterfall beef salad; or nua toon (braised brisket with dipping sauce).

Mekong Cafe
5930 W. North Ave., (414) 257-2228
Try their phenomenal khao jee patê, a Lao sandwich similar to the Vietnamese banh mi (I highly recommend the Bang Bang). You also can't go wrong with their house made sai-oua (sausage), red curry or salapao pork buns.

Sweet Basil
6509B S 27th St., Franklin, (414) 301-4126

Suggestions:  Try the Lao sausage, skewers with a jeow flight and sticky rice. If you're eating with friends, go for the bbq platter. Don't sleep on their fun monthly specials!

Vientiane Noodle Shop
3422 W. National Ave., (414) 672-8440 
Try the fried Lao sausage; Lao beef jerky and pad burapa.

Vientiane Noodle Shop will be offering free egg rolls with the purchase of any entree during Asian Restaurant Week.

khao poon
Khao poon from Vientiene Noodle Shop

Sticky Rice
707 E. Brady St., (414) 488-8668
Try the Lao pork ribs, larb and khaopoon

Nepalese / Himalayan

Curry and Momo House
6969 N. Port Washington Rd., (414) 446-5499

Suggestions: Try their kalo dal, Nepali chicken curry and momos (of course!)

Everest Cafe
Inside Royal Garden Restaurant|
206 W. Silver Spring Dr., (414) 906-0998

Suggestions: Try out their momo, along with a combination plate, which allows you to try a number of their Nepalese dishes


Pan Asian

Momo Mee
110 E. Greenfield Ave., (414) 316-9003
Try their xiao long bao (soup dumplings), Sichuan dan dan noodles or jjamppong.

Taste Amir’s Roti
Malaysian food truck, often parked at 3353 S. 13th St.
(414) 595-8994 
Try their nasi goreng (fried rice wrapped in egg) or roti murtabak (flatbread filled with chicken or beef).


Bento Xpert
Eleven25 at the Pabst, 1125 N. 9th St., (414) 935-2823 
Their bento box meals are a great choice for lunch; also don't miss their gua bao and five spice chicken.

Pho from Hue
Beef pho from Hue


Hue Vietnamese Restaurant
(new location) 2699 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 294-0483

Suggestions: Get their spicy crab rangoon, star-anise scented pho or mi xao.

Phan's Garden
1923 W. National Ave., (414) 384-4522
Their pho is top notch

Pho Saigon
10534 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, (414) 828-9698 
Get the house special banh mi

Pho Spot
3rd Street Market Hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.|
Get the house pho or special banh mi

Pho Viet
5475 S. 27th St., Greenfield, (414) 282-8852 
Their pho is worth the trip

222 W. Wells St., (414) 817-0241 
You can't go wrong with their banh mi.

West Asian/Levantine

Lebnani House
5051 S. 27th St., (414) 488-8033 

Suggestions: Go with a group and share a table filled with mezze like hummus, fattoush, kafta and qallayet bandoura bil lahmeh

Taqwa's Bakery & Restaurant
4651 S 27th St., (414) 539-6878
Be sure to try the dawalee and freshly baked manakish

Pita Palace
789 W. Layton Ave.. (414) 988-8100
You can't go wrong with the foul mudamas or shishtawook

3133 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 964-5475
Suggested: Highlights include their baba ghanouj and braised lamb shank

Shawarma House
2921 N. Oakland Ave., 
17385 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield,
Try their diwali and spicy chicken

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.