In Your Neighborhood: Exploring the diversity, growth of Chinatown

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Neighborhoods across the Las Vegas valley all have their own unique blend of people, businesses and experiences.

During the month of May, Good Day Las Vegas will feature a different neighborhood each week. This week, it’s Chinatown which is located along the Spring Mountain Road corridor and is jammed with Asian shops and restaurants.

As Chinatown shakes off the pandemic closures, it is also dealing with the same struggles seen across the valley.

There are two major pieces of new development in Chinatown; one is the Shanghai Plaza that opened in Jan. 2020. When it opened, it was an avenue for new investment to get a foothold into Las Vegas’ Chinatown. It also brought more established Asian brands with international appeal to the neighborhood, adding to what has been along Spring Mountain Road for decades.

Although it’s called Chinatown, it’s far more diverse than that. Many different cultures are serving up some of the valley’s tastiest food.

When Borman Yang first opened Taiwan Deli, she also used to sleep there. Such was her dedication and hard work. Nearly 20 years later, she said it’s paid off.

“People want to be near good food. Where do they go?  Chinatown,” Yang said.

Her Taiwan Deli is one of more than 100 restaurants in Chinatown. But of course, the neighborhood is not just Chinese food. It’s one of many ways this area is so unique.

“Now, Korean people come, Chinese people come, Vietnamese people come. This whole street. You want to have food?  It’s this whole street,” she said.”

“What I notice about our Chinatown is it’s very ethnically diverse, as far as Asian food,” said Ronnakon Silpasuvun who owns Archi’s Thai, just off the main Chinatown core.

“It might not be as big as the ones in LA, but for the small city that we are, it’s a pretty impressive Chinatown.”

 But Chinatown’s enthusiasm was dented by the pandemic. Yang said she lost up to 80% of her business when Asian travel evaporated. Many Spring Mountain restaurants depend on visitors from the Strip.

But community organizations helped businesses and family stay afloat. Now, the same optimism seen across the valley is throughout Chinatown. The challenge is finding enough workers to meet the demand for service.

 “Unemployment coming in being a huge competition for our staff. Dishwashers are looking at a check they’ve never seen in their life and don’t want to show up for work and make half,” Silpasuvun said.

Yang has hired back many of her staff. She said she’s even helped pay to keep some in their homes.

It’s a long way from when her own home was her own business.

As pandemic restrictions ease, business in Chinatown is picking up and so it the demand for real estate.

Longtime realtor and business owner Grace Tam talks about what she thinks the neighborhood needs.

“Infrastructure. Roads. It’s getting congested. We need Clark County to look into this,” Tam said

One effect of the crowding is the expansion of the Asian community in the southwest valley and Henderson.

Each Tuesday morning, one of the Good Day Las Vegas anchors will be broadcasting live from a different local neighborhood as we profile people and businesses across the community. Be sure to catch our “In Your Neighborhood” segments!

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