Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month in Santa Clara 2024: AAPI-Owned Restaurants

By Ben Landis, Marketing Manager at Discover Santa Clara

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This month is dedicated to celebrating the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on American culture and society. According to recent census data, Santa Clara has a significant Asian population, comprising 45.9% of the city's demographic makeup, specifically categorized as "Asian alone." 

We are proud to be the home of many Asian-American residents and businesses. There are numerous AAPI-owned businesses spread throughout Santa Clara that we encourage you to explore. Notably, along El Camino Real, there is a stretch of various strip malls containing many fantastic Korean-owned restaurants, an area Santa Clara proudly calls “Koreatown.”

There are countless businesses, and we couldn't possibly name them all, but we recommend researching some spots on Yelp or Google. To get you started, here are some fan-favorite restaurants that the team at Discover Santa Clara has visited and recommended. 

1. Rantei Japanese Cuisine

Rantei Japanese Cuisine is a community favorite among Santa Clara residents. This cozy spot boasts a low-key ambiance. If you visit on a random weekday evening, you'll find a lively environment full of loyal patrons—a true testament to the deliciousness of the food.

Here, you can enjoy classic Japanese dishes such as sushi, sashimi, and various noodle and rice dishes. Each dish is beautifully plated and bursting with flavor.

Rantei offers a wide array of delicious options, but if you're looking to sample their signature offerings, the Chirashi Don Combination and Kaisen Don are essential choices. If you’re up for an adventure, try the Omakase Sushi (Japanese for 'I’ll leave it up to you'), where you will be offered an assortment of the chef’s selection of specialty fish. The Omakase dining experience allows the chef to showcase seasonal and specialty ingredients, presenting their skills and creativity. Rantei Japanese Cuisine is a Santa Clara staple and should be on your list of places to check out.

Address: 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara, CA 95050

Check out this Instagram Reel we created about Rantei Japanese Cuisine to get a sneak peek of what you can expect. 
a close up of food

2. Puranpoli

We haven’t forgotten our vegetarians; this next spot is especially for you! Puranpoli is an authentic vegetarian Indian restaurant that specializes in Maharashtrian cuisine. The ambiance is delightfully unassuming and casual, yet the restaurant offers top-notch service and delicious food. Don't let the relaxed setting fool you—prepare to be impressed!

Here, you can savor classic dishes like Vada Pav, Misal Pav, Sabudana Vada, Palak Paneer, Kadai Paneer, and Sukhi Batata Bhaji, among others. These dishes are expertly seasoned, showcasing the chefs' mastery of an abundance of spices.

Address: 3074B Scott Blvd Santa Clara, CA 95054

The Discover Santa Clara team visited Puranpoli recently, check out this Instagram Reel to check out the experience for yourself. 
a tray of food on a table

3. Seorai Korean BBQ 

Are you searching for the perfect place to gather with friends? Look no further than Seorai Korean BBQ, nestled in the heart of Santa Clara's Koreatown. Korean BBQ is best enjoyed surrounded by friends and family, making Seorai the ideal destination for a memorable group dining experience.

At Seorai, you can indulge in beloved dishes like the Seafood Pancake, Corn Cheese, and a variety of soups and noodle dishes. Yet, the true star of the show is their selection of classic KBBQ meats—brisket, galbi, pork belly, and more, each expertly seasoned and grilled to perfection. You can choose to order a la carte or opt for one of their specially curated BBQ Combos. Whether you're a Korean BBQ aficionado or a curious newcomer, Seorai promises an authentic and delightful culinary adventure.

Address: 3044 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95051

The Discover Santa Clara team visited Seorai Korean BBQ check out this Instagram Reel to check out the experience for yourself. 
meat on a grill with flames

4. Dumpling Capital

Dumpling Capital is another neighborhood gem in Santa Clara that should be on your radar. This spot is an authentic Chinese restaurant specializing in Shanghainese cuisine. If the name "Dumpling Capital" leaves you guessing, here's a hint: you should definitely try their specialty—dumplings! 

There are plenty of options to choose from, including Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Soup Dumpling), Pork & Shrimp Siu Mai, and Shanghai Pan Fried Soup Dumplings—just a few of the classic dishes to get you started. You can also explore other fan favorites like Salt & Pepper Fish, Chow Mein, Fried Rice, and Green Onion Pancake to round out your dining experience.

Fun fact: Dumplings represent wealth and prosperity in Chinese culture and are often made (and eaten) with family and friends during Chinese New Year as a group activity. However, you can enjoy them year-round because they are absolutely delicious, and Dumpling Capital in Santa Clara is one of the best places to savor some amazing Chinese dumplings.

Address: 5075 Stevens Creek Blvd Ste 10 Santa Clara, CA 95051

Check out this Instagram Reel we created about Dumpling Capital to get a sneak peek of what you can expect.
a collage of food on a table

5. Sulbing Café 

Finally, do you have a sweet tooth? We've saved dessert for last: you've got to try Sulbing Café. Dive into the delightful world of Bingsu, a milk-based shaved ice Korean dessert. Depending on your chosen flavor, it can include a variety of different toppings.

Sulbing Café offers a wide array of amazing flavors, including Mango, Strawberry, and Green Tea. During our visit, we indulged in the Tiramisu Sulbing, which features a slice of tiramisu on top of the shaved ice, accompanied by a cup of espresso to pour over the Bingsu, enhancing its flavors beautifully.

Located in the same shopping plaza as Seorai Korean BBQ, Sulbing Café is the ideal place to finish off a delicious meal. After enjoying a hearty Korean BBQ, consider saving some room for dessert and trying out Sulbing Café. You won’t be disappointed!

Address: 3050 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95051

Check out this Instagram Reel we created about Sulbing Cafe to get a sneak peek of what you can expect.

a collage of different desserts

Honorable mention: Jiaren Cafe

Jiaren Cafe is an amazing AAPI and women-owned coffeeshop in Santa Clara. We have written a blog post about this spot that you should check out here. (Discover Santa Clara has also made an Instagram Reel about Jiaren Cafe.)

Address: 1171 Homestead Rd #140b, Santa Clara, CA 95050

All these spots mentioned are amazing and we've only scratched the surface of what Santa Clara has to offer. We encourage you to explore other AAPI-owned businesses along El Camino Real and beyond. Check out our Instagram @DiscoverSantaClara to stay in the know about the latest and greatest places in Santa Clara. 

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by supporting these fantastic local eateries and many others and experiencing the diverse flavors of Asia right here in Santa Clara.