Mesa Transforming Into Destination for Asian Food

Photo Credit: Brandon Brown, Phoenix Business Journal

At the Arizona Progress & Gazette we tend to focus on our little slices of heaven, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. But when great things are happening anywhere in the Valley, we feel as though it is worth recognizing. While we bring Phoenix and Tempe into the conversation from time to time, one city that we don’t normally recognize but is now forcing itself into that conversation is none other than Mesa.

News came out recently about the significant expansion of Mekong Plaza
Currently Mesa’s biggest hub for Asian-owned restaurants and businesses, it spearheaded a 35,000-square foot expansion that began construction in 2022. Up to a dozen new businesses are expected as part of this expansion, of which three are announced and preparing to open as we speak.

Unbeknownst to many of us who don’t head there often, but Mesa has slowly but surely made themselves a legitimate hub for the Asian business community. Its Asian District, self-described as the most vibrant in all of the American Southwest, boasts “more than 70 Asian-themed restaurants, grocery stores, and other service and retail businesses along a two-mile stretch on Dobson Road in west Mesa”.

It’s safe to say that no other city in Arizona can boast such an extensive, diverse, and yes, vibrant centralized area where people whose heritage stretches back to the biggest continent on earth can get a taste of home, and where those of us with a different background can learn more about the myriad individual countries that have a presence there. To call it impressive would be an understatement; some cities brag about their Chinatowns, but that’s just one country. Mesa can lay claim to a whole continent’s presence.

Perhaps an even more important aspect of this is what it means to the valley as a whole. It enhances and furthers our significant melting pot here, adding cultural beauty to an area with significant physical beauty. The jokes about the valley being full of midwestern retirees are clearly a thing of the past; our area can lay claim to a degree of diversity that so many other metro areas can’t.

Perhaps you haven’t visited Mesa in a long, long time. Perhaps you’ve only been there for a Spring Training game, or the thought of heading there hasn’t as much as entered your mind in ages. It looks like it’s time for that to change though. With a thriving multicultural presence, Mesa is offering you something that you simply can’t find anywhere else, and it is definitely deserving of your attention and your spending.