A few blocks east of Downtown Cleveland sits one of the city’s most interesting communities, packed with hidden-gem restaurants; shops bursting with worldly trinkets; neighborhood markets filled with foreign zests; art galleries and dance studios; and the kind of cultural makeup that helps you to really comprehend the unique diversity that is Cleveland. That neighborhood is AsiaTown.
Like many neighborhoods in The Land, AsiaTown doesn’t come without its own story.
In fact, the story starts back in the 1860s when Chinese immigrants began settling in Cleveland. Many of these people were railroad workers escaping anti-Chinese sentiment on the West Coast. As their numbers grew (especially after the rise of communism in China), the area around Rockwell and East 22nd streets became Cleveland’s first Chinatown and subsequently filled with restaurants and other businesses.
Cleveland’s Korean and Vietnamese populations similarly grew in the second half of the 20th century, as many were refugees of political and military conflicts in their home countries. They, too, began to settle in and around Chinatown. As their communities and businesses grew, what is now AsiaTown expanded east to where it now sits between East 30th and East 40th street. It’s home to people of Thai and Taiwanese heritages, as well.
A good bakery can make a neighborhood, and AsiaTown hit the jackpot with Koko Bakery. Steamed buns are a specialty, featuring sweet and savory flavors, as well as other desserts like Green Tea Mousse and Japanese style cheesecake. No, you’re drooling.
Read: 10 Things to Love About Asiatown
Listen, we could go on and on about the resilient people you’ll meet, amazing food you’ll eat and the fabulous shopping you can expect in AsiaTown. But AsiaTown is a place of its own and ready for you to explore.
AsiaTown shines like a beacon to foodies all over for dim sum and then some. Whether you’re craving savory dumplings, spicy Szechuan or sweet, chewy Hong Kong waffles, you’re going to want to hit up these beloved CLE spots.
Delicious dumplings, cultural dances, eating contests, and more make Cleveland Asian Festival a must-do. Don't miss the Kwan Family Lion Dance, performed by two people in a large brightly colored trinkets in a lion costume, that scares way evil spirits.
Explore: Images of Asiatown