Chefs, Artists, Athletes: Meet the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Making an Impact in D.C.

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

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During the month of May, we celebrate and recognize the rich heritage of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and their many contributions to our nation and communities.

Generations of people of Asian descent bring a diverse and lasting legacy that has enriched this country's history and culture.

Here we'll share some of their stories — and see how they're making a difference here in our community.

Tae Strain, Executive Chef of Momofuku D.C.

 First to a local chef who's working with David Chang, one of the most powerful Asian Americans in the restaurant industry.

Chef Tae Strain is making a name for himself in DC with the Momofuku brand. His journey has taken him on a path to self-discovery that goes way beyond the kitchen.

Momofuku CCDC executive chef and Maryland native Tae Strain discusses how his effort to connect with his Korean heritage offered inspiration. News4's Eun Yang reports.

Chef Strain had a chance to visit Korea for the first time about six years ago. He says it was an incredibly defining and important experience for him and he's looking forward to going back again some day soon.

Larry La, Owner of Meiwah Restaurant

Even beloved and popular restaurants eventually say goodbye.

Meiwah on New Hampshire Avenue has been a staple of the D.C. food scene since 2000.

Owner Larry La and his staff have served presidents, ambassadors, senators and more. Rising rent forced Meiwah to shut down this month.

But before they closed, News4’s Aimee Cho stopped by to give us one last look at a culinary cornerstone of DC.

After nearly 20years, Meiwah restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue closed its doors. News4's Aimee Cho looks at the past and to the future with owner Larry La. (And don't worry: Meiwah's Friendship Heights location is still serving up classic Chinese dishes).

There's still good news: Meiwah has another location in Friendship Heights that will be staying open so you can still get your fix of Chinese food.

Jason Yoo, Team Yoo Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a traditional martial art that has become almost as much a part of American culture as Korean culture.

A new taekwondo school which just opened in D.C. is offering the best of both worlds by taking the focus back to instruction.

For the owner, Jason Yoo, taekwondo is in his blood. And the pride he has for his family and heritage shows up big in his business.

For Virginia native Jason Yoo, taekwondo is in his blood. Now, he's sharing it with younger generations. News4's Eun Yang reports.

Xuejuan Feng, Founder of the Xuejuan Dance Ensemble

The Xuejuan (SHOO-jin) Dance Ensemble in Herndon has been performing Chinese dance for a decade.

News4’s Aimee Cho went to a rehearsal and has more on how they got to be so good.

The Xuejuan Dance Ensemble has performed classic Chinese dances all over Washington, even at the Kennedy Center. News4's Aimee Cho spoke with the ensemble's founder, Xuejuan Feng.

Each dancer has a lot of moves to remember: There are 56 ethnic groups in China and each one has their own style of dance.

Julia Chon, Artist

Julia Chon is a multi-faceted artist who is also known as "kimchi juice."

She started painting cute animals with a bit of attitude, and the cheeky images quickly led to a following. Her work has been exhibited around the DC area and several other cities throughout the country.

Now she's working on paintings heavily influenced by her Korean heritage. They tell the stories of Korean people, including the ones in her own family.

Julia Chon, also known as Kimchi Juice, is well-known around D.C. for her endearing animal portraits, but her images of Korean women capture a hard-to-define emotion. News4's Eun Yang reports.

Chon is also working on an archive project where she goes through old photos for families and learns the back story for each image, allowing those stories to be passed down for generations.

Sarah Hinesley, Cursive Handwriting Award Winner

Who knew: there’s a national cursive handwriting contest for kids? One of this year’s winners is from right here in Frederick, Maryland.

Sara Hinesley goes to St. John Regional Catholic School. Her dedication and positive attitude helped her excel despite a unique challenge.

Having been born with no hands doesn't stop Sara Hinesley from doing anything — Especially perfecting her cursive handwriting. The St. John Regional Catholic School student has won an award for her perfect penmanship.

Hinesley beat over 100 people in her category. The win came with a $500 prize.

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