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Asian Americans highlight contributions to Columbus, central Ohio

From art to cooking to healing, Asian Americans have contributed in a variety of ways to the fabric of our city.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Inside Sunflower restaurant off Sawmill Road, Hong Kong-born Danny Chung is hard at work serving the food that's kept his restaurant going for decades. 

"We opened in 1986," he said. 

But Chung never knew it would last this long because he'd never owned a restaurant until this one. 

"The owner [of the strip mall] gave us a chance. We didn’t have any background to back it up; we were just workers so the owner gave us a chance for our new adventure," he said. 

Thirty-six years, Sunflower offers some of the best Cantonese-style Chinese food in the city like Dim Sum. 

But what keeps customers coming back is War Su Gai. 

"It's boneless fried chicken with gravy. Very popular, a lot of people love it," he says. 

Chung said hard work, quality ingredients and treating the customer right has kept his doors open. 

From food to folding paper, Japanese artist Hiroshi Hayakawa spends his day creating paper lions, tigers and giant pandas into night lights. 

"It's probably based on the Japanese art of origami and Kagami," he says. 

Hayakawa is turning his talent into smiles. 

"I love to see people's reaction to it when they see this kind of product, they get so excited," he says. 

Making people feel good is also the goal of Helen Yee. 

She runs the American Institute of Alternative Medicine. 

"We've been here for 30 years," she says. 

Located near Worthington, this school and clinic teach future massage therapists and acupuncturists as well as nurses looking for holistic approaches to wellness. 

“I think more people are looking for less invasive ways to deal with any kind of health issues,” Yee said.

Staying healthy has always been part of her life. 

She is a two-time US national champion in Taekwondo, a silver medalist in the World Cup, and an alternate on the US Olympic team. 

Artist Lee Wong is also sharing her Asian roots in her art. 

“I'm trained as painter, traditional oil painter,” she says. 

Using a sharp blade, Wong turns paper into colorful abstract pieces. 

Each purposeful cut, she says, reveals a deeper meaning as she points to the paper tapestry of letters hung from her studio. 

“This whole set is a poetry about moonlight,” she says. 

From art to cooking to healing, Asian Americans have contributed in a variety of ways to the fabric of our city. A welcoming city for those willing to work hard for their American dream. 

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