From snacks and pantry items to home decor and jewelry, here are the best places to shop for goods that support members of Denver’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. One shop alone displays more than 75,000 items. Some of these vendors also host special events and festivals for all to experience AANHPI culture.
This multicultural artisan market in the Platt Park neighborhood carries products crafted by Colorado makers and immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs, including many who have roots in Asia. At the marketplace, which is situated in a charming brick building, visitors can shop for locally made pantry items such as chili oils, drink mixes and spice blends as well as jewelry, home decor, books and more. Owner Michelle Lasnier also runs a supply pantry for the Front Range’s immigrant and refugee communities and hosts several events and pop-ups throughout the year. Look for her Bread Bodega on Saturdays, which features a selection of carb-loaded goodies produced by local bakers, and a Backyard Bazaar on Wednesdays, a rotating marketplace of food and craft vendors from Asia, Mexico, the Middle East and other countries and continents. 1569 S. Pearl St.
Pacific Mercantile Company
Pacific Mercantile was founded by George Inai—a native of Tokushima, Japan, who moved to Colorado after being imprisoned at an internment camp during World War II—in 1944. Since then, the grocery store and gift shop has been a go-to for Denverites seeking products from Japan, Hawaii and other countries in Asia. The business moved to its current location in Sakura Square, a historic hub for the city’s Japanese community, in 1973 and is now run by Inai’s granddaughter, Jolie Noguchi, and her daughter, Alyssa. Pacific Mercantile’s aisles and coolers are stocked with everything from fresh produce and fish cakes to packages of ramen and tea. Pick up some mochi, various flavors of Kit Kats and other Japanese treats, and check out the dishware and home decor section featuring tea sets and cups, lucky cats, vases, bento boxes and more. 1925 Lawrence St.
Ku Cha House of Tea
Ku Cha has more than 170 types of loose-leaf tea from around the world. The selection is curated by owners Rong Pan and Qin Liu, who are passionate about sharing their appreciation for tea. Pop by the shop—which has five locations, including in Denver Pavilions and Cherry Creek—to stock up on your favorite green, oolong, black and white teas. Pan and Liu also offer tea variety boxes that come with infusers (try the Taste of the Rockies, which has Colorado-inspired favorites such as Mile High Chai and the Boulder Boost Yerba Mate Blend), and a selection of beautiful tea ware, including cups, teapots, pitchers and other necessities from Japan and China. Be sure to order a cup of tea to enjoy while you peruse the shelves; the shop offers delicious hot and iced options. 2445 E. 3rd. Ave, Unit 1 (Cherry Creek) and 500 16th St., Unit 132 (Denver Pavilions)
Truong An Gifts
The Little Saigon district on South Federal Boulevard (between Alameda and Mississippi avenues) is home to a bounty of stop-worthy Vietnamese-owned shops and restaurants, including Truong An Gifts. The nearly 6,000-square-foot store—which the Luong family opened in 1987, along with the surrounding Far East Center shopping complex it resides in—has shelves displaying more than 75,000 items, including Buddha statues, toys, plants, herbs, beauty products, jewelry and clothing shipped from countries across Asia and beyond. Whether you’re looking for anime figurines, incense or the latest Korean face masks, Truong Gifts will likely have what you need in stock. Those who visit might be greeted by Mimi Luong, who took over management of the shop and Far East Center from her parents. She puts together several iconic annual events that showcase the area’s diverse culinary heritage, including the Mid-Autumn Festival (September 30, 2023) and Lunar New Year Celebration (February 2024). 333 S. Federal Blvd., Unit 116