50+ Asian American and Pacific Islander Food Brands You Need in Your Kitchen
Celebrate AAPI products this heritage month and beyond.
May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and there’s no shortage of food and drink brands to celebrate with now, and always. From plant-based ramen to craft hard seltzer to single-origin spices, these products proudly celebrate their founders’ AAPI heritage and the Asian American community.
This list has been updated from its original publish date. We will continue to add more food and drink businesses that can be purchased throughout the country or that ship nationwide.
Homiah is proof that many cherished family recipes start in grandma’s kitchen. But Michelle Tew’s grandmother was also a famous cook, and one of the first women to codify Nyonya recipes (which blend Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian heritages). When Tew moved from Malaysia to the U.S. for college, she pined for the flavors of home and resorted to smuggling spices in her suitcase. Eventually she realized: why not be the first Nyonya pantry in America? So, she launched Homiah, a line of spice kits (just add your protein of choice) in flavors such as Indonesian Rendang, Malaysian Red Curry and Singaporean Laksa. The latest addition is a sambal chili crisp, which Tew describes as a low-oil chili crisp fashioned after the flavors and texture of Indonesian and Malaysian sambal. Add a dollop of sambal to fried eggs for a quick-and-easy meal or use it to zhuzh up anything in need of a little spice.
Umaimah Sharwani was raised on her mom’s flavorful, nourishing home cooking, so when she left Pakistan for New York her mom sent her bags of homemade lentil-and-spice mix. To bring this nutritious comfort food to the masses, Sharwani launched Paro (named for her mom) with a mission to bring classic South Asian dishes to everyone’s dinner table. Paro’s daal features quick-cooking, protein- and fiber-rich red lentils, seasoned with a sweet-earthy spice blend including coriander and turmeric. The daal makes an ideal match for grilled meats, roasted veggies or potatoes, topped with a dollop of yogurt or a fried egg. Paro’s kitchari, a rice-and-lentil dish used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote detoxification, is crafted with split mung bean, basmati rice, cloves and cardamom. Sharwani is particularly proud of her tarka, a.k.a. liquid gold. Paro is the first brand to bottle the spicy, toasty ghee-based topping, which is excellent drizzled on eggs, pasta, pizza and popcorn.
Meet your new favorite secret ingredient: calamansi marmalade. Pika Pika’s version was developed by founder Gino Chua, who was inspired by his desire to infuse everyday moments with the Filipino flavors of his childhood. The citrusy marmalade lends itself to being whisked into marinades and dressings, shaken into cocktails or dolloped on cheese and crackers. The second product in Pika Pika’s line is a vegan coconut spread, inspired by a traditional Filipino coconut jam that has the lush consistency of dulce de leche. Take a page out of Chua’s book and stir the calamansi marmalade into an Aperol Spritz or a classic Margarita, and use the coconut spread to top pancakes or stuff it into French toast for an easy yet impressive brunch. Cover your bases and order The Pantry Darlings Duo, then get creative in your own kitchen.
Although kaya jam goes by different names across Southeast Asia, the coconut spread is a beloved treat, and one that Nigel Sielegar dearly missed when he found it wasn’t widely available in New York City. To highlight underappreciated kuih, a.k.a. snacks and desserts, he launched Moon Man as a side hustle in 2017 at the Queens Night Market. When the pandemic forced him to close the operation (and the Lower East Side storefront), it challenged him to come up with a creative product instead. He’d always dreamed of producing kaya jam, so he developed three signature Southeast Asian flavors: Pandan, a common baking ingredient that boasts a grassy, floral fragrance; Ube, a purple yam ubiquitous in the Philippines that yields a bright purple hue and earthy sweetness; and Java Palm Sugar, which imparts nuanced caramel notes and a dark hue. Besides spreading it on toast, use kaya jam to top cakes and cupcakes, fold it into ice cream bases or quick breads or employ it as a mousse or dessert filling flavoring. Sample all three flavors with the Kaya Jam Combo.
Mercado’s Chinese-Spanish founders, Aaron Luo and Carmen Chen Wu, were inspired to bring Spanish culture to the U.S. — what better place to start than charcuterie? The supremely flavorful products – including jamón, paleta, chorizo and salami – are sourced from a family-owned farm where the pigs roam free and are fed an acorn/grain diet. Plus, the meats are 100 percent additive-free and the majority are 100 percent naturally cured for two and five years. Mercado Famous also aims to offer their products at 15 to 20 percent less than average retail prices, making their meat accessible, too. For a small but mighty sampler, opt for the Charcuterie Newbie, which includes packets of vacuum-sealed Jamón Serrania, Chorizo Iberico and Lomo 50% Iberico, or go whole hog on a leg of Iberico Jamón (carving instructions included!) for your next big party or holiday celebration.
India’s cuisine is vast – and the founders of The Cumin Club are aiming to bring more than 30 of the country’s regional dishes right to your doorstep, ready to eat in just five minutes. Founders Ragoth Bala, Harish Visweswaran and Kiru Rajagopal, were inspired by their craving for comfort food from home that they felt difficult to find in the U.S. Crafted, cooked, freeze-dried in India, and then shipped to the U.S., The Cumin Club’s ready-to-eat vegetarian meal packets require only hot water and a pot. Simply rehydrate a packet’s contents over the stove, and within minutes, you could be eating Paneer Butter Masala from Delhi, Dal Chawal from Punjab, Ven Pongal from Chennai or Pav Bhaji from Mumbai.
Sometimes, it’s better not to mess with tradition. Case-in-point is A-Sha Noodles, founded by Young Chang using a 100-year-old legacy Taiwanese noodle recipe and an 18-hour air-drying technique. The slurp-worthy noodles have an ideal springy-chewy texture and come in a variety of thicknesses, including Mandarin (medium), Hakka (wide, flat) and Tainan (thin, skinny). Your best bet is to shop the bundles, like the Spicy Lover’s Bundle, featuring three fiery, best-selling noods, including Hakka Chili, Mandarin Ghost Pepper and Momofuku x A-Sha Spicy Soy. The best-selling Pantry Starter Bundle comes with all five A-Sha noodles – Mandarin Original, Mandarin Onion, Knife Cut Hakka Sesame Oil Scallion, Tainan Original and Hakka Chili – and makes a great gift, too. Look out for A-Sha’s buzzy brand collabs, including the likes of Momofuku and Hello Kitty (how cute are these chicken noodle soup cups?). Find the noodles online at Amazon or at retailers such as Target, Costco, H-Mart and Albertsons.
We love the idea that "just add water" can produce a healthful, protein-rich vegan dish in no time flat. Enter Aahana’s, a line of ready-to-eat khichdis created by holistic nutritionist Sonal Khakhar. Drawing inspiration from India’s diverse, bold flavors, Khakhar named each of her nutritious, plant-based rice and lentil bowls after a different city. Try the Bombay Masala Rice and Lentil Bowl, a homage to Khakhar’s hometown, which pulls in a kicky burst of cilantro and zesty green chilies and eats like a comfort food dream. Indian spices and regional flair are on full display with the likes of the Delhi Mung Beans and Rice Bowl, nicely spiced with garlic and green chillies, the Jaipur Millet and Lentil Bowl, seasoned with fennel and turmeric, and the Madras Quinoa and Lentil Bowl, whose subtle Southern flavor profile packs a punch with a duo of ginger and coconut. Shop the products on the brand’s website or on Amazon.
Mumbai native Sana Javeri Kadri founded Diaspora Co. in 2017 with just four spices and a mission to build a more delicious and equitable spice trade. Since then, it’s grown to more than 30 products. Even just smelling the intensely bright, floral aroma of the best-selling Pragati Turmeric will have you swearing off bitter grocery store turmeric for good. Then there’s the Aranya Pepper, a peppercorn with such a nuanced flavor profile — Kadri cites notes of fig, jam, chocolate and a feisty, citrusy finish — that the team compares it to red wine. (You may never cook with black peppercorns again.) Sana is a self-described chile lover, and while she doesn’t usually play favorites, she’s obsessed with Diaspora’s Sirarakhong Chillies. They’re a regional delicacy that are smoked and dried over bamboo, which imparts an umami, bacon-esque flavor that Kadri uses to jazz up everything from potato salad to adobo.
This aptly named roasted seaweed snack is so good, it’ll have you stocking your pantry and reaching for it whenever snack cravings strike. Gimme, co-founded by native Korean Annie Chun, pays homage to the seaweed snacks of her childhood while pioneering organic seaweed in the U.S. The healthy, roasted seaweed snack flavor line-up includes teriyaki, chili lime and wasabi, among others, which are also available in eco-friendly, grab-and-go packs that are ideal for stashing in your purse, desk drawer or lunchbox. Stock up on sushi nori sheets, perfect for making maki or hand rolls at home, or pull in the extra-large big sheets as a gluten-free alternative for wraps or burritos. Crumble them atop soup, salad and popcorn for an umami- and nutrient-rich garnish.
Although Kiki Aranita closed her Philly restaurant and food truck Poi Dog in 2020, her legacy lives on with Poi Dog Sauces. Poi Dog, a Hawaiian pidgin term meaning "mixed breed" or "mutt" reflects her dual Hawaiian and Hong Kong heritages. The sauce line-up includes the newly launched Huli Huli, a pineapple-based barbecue sauce that works as a marinade for everything from chicken (Huli Huli chicken is a classic Hawaiian dish) to mushrooms. The most popular product is Chili Peppah Water, which boasts a spicy, vinegary tang followed by a gingery kick, making a versatile condiment to sluice over just about everything, like rice, grilled meats, poke bowls, veggies or salad (including mac salad). Aranita is most proud of the Guava Katsu, a tropical, umami-rich Japanese-style barbecue and dipping sauce crafted with miso, dried mushroom and guava, that just happens to be vegan.
Friends Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan love eating noodles for breakfast, and both grew up in food industry families: Lee’s grandparents are produce farmers in Taiwan, while Chanthasiriphan’s grandmother ran a hawker noodle stand in Thailand and his dad owned a Thai noodle shop in Los Angeles. The pair combined their passion and history into Immi, a 100 percent plant-based instant ramen line that packs 21 grams of protein, six grams of net carbs, and 18 grams of fiber per serving. Order the Variety 6 Pack to sample flavors such as Spicy Beef and Tom Yum Shrimp. Or opt for the newest flavor Spicy Red Miso which is vegan-first and features an improved, supremely slurpable noodle. Put an egg over ’em for breakfast or reach for these noodles for a quick lunch or comfort food supper in under six minutes.
Named after the iconic ’80s haircut, Bowlcut is a newly launched condiment company by founder Crystal Ung. The brand is dedicated to bottling healthier, all-natural versions of the familiar flavors she grew up eating. Bowlcut’s first set of small-batch sauces includes Chili Crisp, Spicy Chili Crisp and, most notably, Char Siu – which will be the first jarred char siu sauce that doesn’t require cooking or marination. The sweet-savory flavor of the iconic barbecued Cantonese pork can be slathered as-is on just about anything – from fried tofu, to burgers, to grilled veggies and of course, pork! Featured collaborations include working with American fashion designer Ji Won Choi on Bowlcut x Ji Won Choi Gochujang Sauce, a limited-edition, savory-spicy sauce with a lush texture, tangy depth and a punch of garlic. Try folding it into a creamy pasta sauce, dolloping it on a rice bowl or whisking it into marinades and dressings.
Liko Lehua’s delectable tropical fruit butters started out as a local soccer team fundraiser in the ’90s, but once word got out it quickly grew into a thriving family-run business. Diane Kānealiʻi founded Liko Lehua Butter with her sister Arlene in 1996, then handed over the reins to her niece, Dawn Kānealiʻi-Kleinfelder in 2011. The attention to detail and local sourcing remains — every jar is still hand poured, capped and labelled to ensure quality. The small batch butters come in seven different flavors, including guava, mango, coconut, lime, pineapple, Hawaiian vanilla and the best-selling lilikoi (passionfruit). Try the creamy-sweet spreads on all manner of breakfast goods, from toast to bagels and pancakes to waffles. The butters also lend themselves to other culinary applications, like a glaze for cheesecake, a dipping sauce for fruit plates or cheese boards, or a marinade for grill-ready proteins or veggies.
Jake Deleon spent his $1,200 stimulus check on something delicious – sauce prototypes for what would eventually become Fila Manila, a company dedicated to bottling up easy-to-use Filipino simmer sauces. Fila Manila’s lineup includes Banana Ketchup, Adobo, Spicy Adobo, Caldererta and Kare Kare. All of the brand’s sauces are gluten-free, vegan and contain no artificial colors or flavors. In need of some recipe inspo? The site’s recipe section is chockful of stellar suggestions, like using Caldereta, a zesty, tomato-based sauce, for Filipino-Style Spaghetti Sauce, sure to be a crowd-pleasing addition to your pasta night rotation, or Kare-Kare Filipino wings, whose tangy, peanutty flavor makes these wings destined for game-day snacking greatness or your next potluck party trick.
It all started with a bad time in the kitchen. Founder Aishwarya Iyer and her husband set out to cook more – and rather than yield the results they were looking for (improving their wellbeing, boosting confidence in the kitchen), their sour experience led them to uncovering the true culprit: less-than-stellar olive oil. After digging into it, Iyer learned that the olive oil industry has a history of problems – resulting in shelves lined with both good and bad quality products. The whole situation sparked Brightland, a company dedicated to producing fresh olive oil (and more) with a zing you’ll notice at first taste. As any Ina fan will tell you, a good olive oil can make all the difference. Brightland’s stunning bottles will make your kitchen a happy place. Make room for Brightland’s newest addition, a pizza oil that blends fresh olive oil with spicy herbs, all packaged in an easy-to-use squeeze bottle made for generous drizzling. We suggest hosting a pizza party, stat.
Asian-inspired oatmeal? Yes, please. Named after the Chinese word for "ritual," Lin Jiang channeled the flavorful memories of her mother’s breakfast porridges and turned them into a breakfast company focused on making breakfast anything but boring. Crossed with the convenience of instant oatmeal cups and pouches, Yishi brings traditional and modern Asian flavors – black sesame, matcha, red bean, goji berries, taro bubble tea – (and fun!) to any morning routine (or breakfast-for-dinner option). The line’s newest products include two dessert-for-breakfast inspired flavors: mango and cream, a riff on the mango pudding that’s a staple at dim sum restaurants, and chocolate chili, a not-too-spicy bowl anchored by rich chocolate and creamy coconut chased with a whisper of chili pepper.
It’s been a couple years since Kim and Vanessa Pham founded Omsom, their line of boldly flavored meal starter sauces inspired by East- and Southeast-Asian dishes like Spicy Bulgogi, Larb and Yuzu Misoyaki. Since then, they’ve hit some impressive milestones: Selling out within the first 72 hours of launching, then selling out multiple times and collaborating with cookbook author Pepper Teigen. Their newest product, Saucy Noodles, is destined for greatness, too. As with their starter sauces, the noodle flavors – Soy Garlic, Coconut Lemongrass Curry, Garlic Black Pepper, and Chili Sesame – are inspired by cherished Asian dishes and created with celebrated Asian chefs. The luscious sauces cling to the air-dried, knife-shaved noodles, which boast a pleasantly chewy, springy texture (no powdered flavor packets or soggy noodles here!). We’re especially smitten by Omsom’s Garlic Black Pepper Saucy Noodles, a spin on the Vietnamese American garlic butter noodles Kim and Vanessa ate growing up, developed by Chef Helen Nguyen of Saigon Social.
Chitra Agrawal grew up in a family of cooks, sampling dishes from her father’s native Delhi (think curries such as channa masla and saag paneer) and her mother’s native Bangalore (rice-based dishes like lemony chitranna and dal preparations like rasam and sambar). These diverse flavors informed her palate and inspired her cookbook, Vibrant India, as well as Brooklyn Delhi, a line of simmer sauces (try the Cashew Coconut Korma), condiments and hot sauces that have become pantry staples for home cooks. We especially love the best-selling tomato achaar, a spicy, savory and tangy pickled condiment that pairs well with rice, curry, dal and yogurt, and also makes a spicy swap for tomato paste, and the umami-rich roasted garlic achaar (try it on homemade garlic bread or grilled cheese). Find the products widely at Whole Foods or check the store locator online.
Spicewalla is a go-to for home cooks and professional chefs alike, and it’s no wonder. The Asheville-based company was founded by chef Meherwan Irani, and his wife, Molly, to create a line of spices that honors Meherwan’s Indian heritage (many of the blends are used at his restaurant, Chai Pani). In India, Meherwan observed that spices follow a natural seasonal rhythm, with spices planted and harvested at different times of the year and families making their own proprietary blends. That same attention to sourcing, selection and blending is reflected in every product, from ajwain to za’atar. Each batch is roasted and freshly ground in small batches, packed by hand, and shipped in cute, colorful tins (which do wonders for revamping your spice cupboard). We’re partial to the roasted coriander powder, chai masala and the everything bagel seasoning but special collabs are released all the time, like the much-loved T-Pain Wing Collection.
Since its inception in 1998, Hawaiian Vanilla Co. has been a family affair for the Reddekopps. The company’s family roots are in Oahu, but founders Jim and Tracy had a vision for local agriculture that aligned with how and where they wanted to raise a family. So, they set their sights on Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island where they became the first commercial growers of vanilla in the U.S. Today, their son Ian carries on the family legacy, overseeing a vanilla-centric product line-up that includes vanilla extracts and beans, dressings, teas and spice rubs. If you find yourself in Paauilo, book a walking tour of their “vanilla vineyard” and enjoy a farm-to-table lunch.
Sach means "honest" in Hindi and it serves both the name and ethos of Jasleen and Tarush Agarwal’s scratch-made paneer. As first-generation Indian immigrants and life-long vegetarians, they missed the paneer of their childhood and couldn’t find a wholesome version on the market. They crafted their own paneer with organic, grass-fed milk and each flavor contains five ingredients or less. Try the best-selling original, a neutral-flavored paneer whose soft, crumbly texture makes it ideal for snacking but with a structure that stands up to grilling, searing or baking. Sach’s flavored paneers shine, too, like the stir-fry ready Turmeric Twist or the destined-for-grilled-cheese Pepperjack. Shop their website, Imperfect Foods and Amazon, or seek it out at Whole Foods. As part of their mission, the Agarwals donate one percent of all paneer produced to help fight food insecurity in their local communities.
Jing Gao began exploring the cuisine and flavors of her native Sichuan through her roving supper club, Fly By Jing, before expanding into a brand of sauces and spices that bring those flavors to home cooks. Her company’s name takes inspiration from the old-school “fly eateries” of Chengdu – no-frills spots with food so delicious, they’re said to attract people like flies. Fly By Jing’s best-selling Sichuan Chili Crisp is a pantry staple must-have. The bright, spicy, lip-tingling condiment made with mala peppers, adds a punch of heat and savory depth to everything from eggs to noodles to ice cream. There’s also the umami-rich Zhong Sauce, in which fuzhi soy sauce is slow-brewed with brown sugar, mushrooms, garlic and spices to unctuous effect. Step up your summer grilling game with a jar of Mala Spice Mix, named for the signature mouth-numbing sensation of Sichuan cuisine, which incorporates the prized Tribute Pepper.
Lauryn Chun founded Mother in Law’s in 2008, before kimchi and fermented foods gained in popularity. But as a Korean American, Chun has always counted kimchi — and its health-giving and flavor-boosting powers — as a central part of her diet and heritage. The best-selling HOUSE Reserve Kimchi is made from a cherished family recipe. Long-cut pieces of Napa cabbage, fish sauce and bone broth, undergo a slow, two-step fermentation process that yields a deeply savory and funky flavor. Try kimchi on avocado toast, baked Brie, burgers, and in Korean dishes like fried rice, kimchi jiggae or spicy sundubu. Reserve kimchi and gochujang pastes and sauces can be ordered on their website, purchased in Whole Foods stores nationwide, in select grocery store locations and online at FreshDirect and Umamicart. Curious to learn more about the kimchi-making process? Chun literally wrote the book: The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Modern and Traditional Ways to Make and Cook Kimchi.
Four generations have farmed Kahuku Farms on Oahu’s North Shore for more than 100 years. Order a taste of the island from its line of jams, jellies and dressings, including fan-favorites such as liliko'i balsamic dressing or liliko'i butter, a creamy, fruity and tangy passionfruit spread, which took five years to perfect according to Kahuku Farms’ managing director Kylie Matsuda-Lum. And don’t miss their bean-to-bar confections, such as the Hawaiian Dark Milk Chocolate with Coffee + Nibs, made with their farm-grown cacao plus Kona coffee powder. If you find yourself on the North Shore, swing by the Farm Café for farm-fresh smoothies, pizza and acai bowls, made with acai berries harvested from their fields.
After Mollie Cha made banana “Nice Cream” for her best friend, Hannah Hong fell in love with the one-ingredient marvel. Since that fateful night, the duo created a company focused on plant-based desserts that could satisfy the sweet tooths of just about anyone, but also sit well with those of us with lactose intolerance. Thanks to Must Love, you won’t have to turn on your food processor to get a taste of nice cream anymore. Cha and Hong managed to create a version that you can keep in your freezer, and be scooped whenever a craving strikes – along with an exciting array of dairy-free dipped bars, pints and sprinkles. Want to make a plant-based ice cream sundae? Pick up a bag of no-sugar added, date-sweetened cookies in flavors such as birthday cake and frosted chocolate.
In 2015, Pooja Bavishi launched Malai, a brand of ice cream that incorporates the memories and South Asian spices of her childhood, including ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and saffron. The fan-favorite Masala Chai pays homage to Bavishi’s grandmother’s chai recipe. As a kid, she used to ask to smell her parents’ chai every morning and breathed in the intoxicating scent. Bavishi partnered with Burlap & Barrel to source just the right mix of spices and carefully sought out the correct tea to slowly steep to just-the-right strength. The result is a creamy, dreamy scoop redolent of cinnamon and ginger that we’re dreaming of making into a chai affogato. Bavishi’s favorite flavor is the Orange Fennel, which she loves for its light, refreshing qualities and the unexpected licorice-like, woodsy notes from the fennel seeds. Score scoops of Malai at its Brooklyn brick-and-mortar, via Goldbelly for nationwide shipping and in select grocery stores.
Hannah Bae inherited her sweet tooth from her dad, but she’s most obsessed with ice cream. When her toasted rice ice cream won a local ice cream contest in 2016, it planted the seed for Bae to launch her own company, Noona’s Ice Cream. (The toasted rice is still a best-seller.) Noona means “big sister” in Korean, and Bae’s Korean-American heritage inspired many of the ice cream flavors, including classics like taro, black sesame and even a makgeolli flavor in partnership with Makku, which captures the creamy effervescence and mild sweetness of the fermented Korean rice beverage. Ship a few pints directly to your doorstep or look for them at Whole Foods, Mom’s Organic Market and smaller specialty shops and food coops such as Mekelburg’s and Pearl River Mart.
Pauline Ang and Olivia Chen wanted to sip a better-for-you milk tea, a.k.a. tea latte or boba tea, so they launched Twrl Milk Tea, a line of artisan plant-based milk teas and boba toppings. The nitro-infused teas lock in the flavors of single-origin teas and the aeration creates a velvety texture. Each of the three flavors holds a special place in Twrl’s founders’ hearts: the original flavor, Taiwan Style Black Milk Tea features a Dragonwell black tea redolent of cinnamon and chocolate; Hojicha Roasted Green Milk Tea, captures the distinct sweet, earthy and nutty flavors of the Japanese classic; and Jasmine Pu’erh Milk Tea, is crafted with deep, rich fermented pu’erh tea and pure Jasmine oil. Pair the teas with boba toppings, like Twrl Brown Sugar Boba, an instant version of your favorite tapioca boba with an ideal QQ (a term referring to chewiness) and Twrl Jelly Boba, a ready-to-eat topper and snack. On the horizon is a new, caffeine-free Ube Milk Tea.
Although Hannah Bae had a sensitive stomach as a kid, she grew up eating spicy dishes with her big Korean family in Queens, New York. During the pandemic, she started making traditional Korean beverages with medicinal properties to quell her longing for her family and soothe her stomach. She fashioned the drinks after ones that her halmoni (grandma) used to make to nourish their family. With Halmi, Bae is putting her spin on her family’s recipes (and upholding her and her father’s shared love of seltzers) by creating a lightly sparkling Korean drink. The O.G. flavor – Cinnamon, Ginger, Jujube, Persimmon – is a riff on Korea’s beloved SuJeongGwa, a sweetened, spiced punch brewed to aid digestion and ward off colds. Think of it as a Korean ginger ale: it’s lovely to sip straight up, makes a mean mixer for cocktails (try mixing Halmi with mezcal and Cointreau) and pairs well with your favorite spicy dishes, fried chicken and pizza.
As a kid, Rosa Li’s Chinese grandma brewed tonics with wild herbs and botanicals to soothe her stomach and lift her spirits. To continue her focus on gut health and honor her heritage, Li launched wildwonder to uphold her belief that “better gut health should be as easy as popping open a can, and as delicious as a California produce stand.” Each of the four flavors – strawberry passion, mango gold, guava rose and peach ginger – combines bold, fruity flavors, gut-healing superfoods and prebiotics and probiotics to create a functional, delicious beverage. The fan-favorite Strawberry Passion Prebiotic + Probiotic Sparkling Drink is great to sip on any time, but makes for a delightful mocktail, like a daiquiri inspired number that mingles dark molasses, strawberry jam, fresh lime and a splash of juice to refreshing, tropical effect.
Founder Sandro Roco is making a splash in the seltzer aisle by putting Asian flavors – calamansi, Alphonso mango, lychee, yuzu – in sparkling water. Sanzo feels like a true bridge between cultures, taking America’s obsession with something bubbly and low-cal, and crossing it with Asian flavors that taste like home. Low in sugar, and made with real fruit juice, Sanzo skips the artificial taste of other seltzers. The cans are a surefire way to satisfy anyone looking for something bright and refreshing, as well as anyone after something not too sweet. The brand has attracted legions of fans and top-notch collabs, like the aptly named Linsanity, a limited-edition Asian Pear flavor featuring Jeremy Lin to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Linsanity and the release of HBO Max’s 38 At The Garden. Note HBO Max and Food Network are sister brands of parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.
Meet your new breakfast-of-champions: Kola Goodies’ vegan, superfood lattes, designed to boost your energy, mood, immunity and well-being. Founded by Sri Lankan immigrant Sajani Amarasiri, it’s the first line of functional beverages made with ingredients sourced directly from South Asian farmer collectives. The tea latte and superfood latte blends lean on Ayurveda-inspired herbs and adaptogens, such as gotukola for focus and ashwagandha to combat stress. Stir and sip your way to wellness with the Super Green Latte, a bright, herbaceous blend of moringa, gotukola, Ceylon cinnamon and ginger that’ll wake you up and aid digestion. For a morning ritual worth getting out of bed for, pre-order the Sri Lankan Milk Tea (or the dairy-free Oat Mylk Tea Latte), a bold-yet-delicately sweet blend anchored by Ceylon tea. Never miss a cuppa and get 15 percent off (as low as $1.06 per latte!) by signing up for the subscribe and save option.
Esha Chhabra and Smita Satiani grew up drinking chai and traversing the Himalayas, the region that inspired a company that champions itself on sourcing "fresher, kinder" tea. Alaya Tea celebrates the women who are the “backbone of agriculture” in the communities behind some of the finest, most famous teas we sip on – Darjeeling, Assam, Uttar Pradesh – by sourcing directly from organic, biodynamic farms whose employees are treated kindly, and whose growing practices help combat climate change. All of Alaya’s teas are shipped in biodegradable packaging, and only offered as loose-leaf teas – so we can skip the single-use bags, take a moment to put the kettle on and brew ourselves a better tasting cuppa. Don’t miss the limited-edition Assam Golden Tippy Black Tea, made with the tips, considered to be the highest quality, most flavorful and refined part of the tea leaves. Its malty, robust flavor gives way to a honey-like finish and is excellent sipped hot with milk or iced straight-up.
For a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, reach for one of Enroot’s farm-to-bottle sparkling teas. Enroot was co-founded by CEO Cristina Magno Patwa in honor of her grandmother’s legacy as a small-scale farmer and food entrepreneur in the Philippines, along with her business partner, John Fogelman, and Brad Pitt (yes, that Brad Pitt). To develop the slow, cold-brew steeping method and flavor line-up, the team rigorously researched recipes and brewing methods and sampled hundreds of tea varietals, fruits, roots and botanicals. One of Patwa’s favorites is Energize: Mango Ginger Turmeric Guayusa, which reminds her of eating arroz caldo, a Filipino ginger chicken porridge, chased with sweet fresh mango from her family’s trees for dessert. There’s also the summer-in-a-bottle Rejuvenate: Peach Hibiscus Jasmine Green Tea, and the caffeine-free Strawberry Lavender Rosemary Tulsi. You can find the products on Enroot’s website and in select retailers in Southern California.
Chinese American Maggie Xue has always viewed tea as emblematic of Asian culture, and drinking tea is central to her own life. But after living in the U.S. for over a decade, she realized that many of the best-known brands were not Asian. So Xue founded Us Two Tea, a line of Taiwanese loose-leaf teas (a.k.a. the Champagne of teas) directly sourced from small family farms. The whole loose-leaf tea is packed in biodegradable corn fiber sachets, and each sachet can be steeped up to three times without losing its flavor. Try Homesick, a comforting Oolong tea that drinks like a cup of self-care, Pillowtalk, a calming Jasmine tea that invites you to get cozy and Family Tradition, a Baozhong tea beloved in Taiwan for its palate-cleansing properties, making it an ideal post-meal sipper. Shop for the teas at Us Two Tea’s website, Amazon or via the Dashmart app.
Sahra Nguyen, a first-generation Vietnamese American woman and proud daughter of refugees, founded Nguyen Coffee Supply with a mission to increase economic advancement for Vietnamese farmers through specialty coffee production, while building a diverse and inclusive coffee culture for all. The green beans are sourced from family-owned coffee farms in the highlands of Da Lat, Vietnam and then roasted fresh at Nguyen’s roastery in Brooklyn and shipped nationwide. We especially love Truegrit, 100 percent Single Origin Peaberry Robusta with notes of grapefruit zest and bitter melon, that’s especially excellent brewed in a French press or with a Phin, which yields a smooth sip often described as Vietnamese espresso. You can pick up this sustainable slow drip brew tool plus bags of roasted beans on Nguyen Coffee Supply’s website.
Vanessa Dew, co-founder and CSO of Health-Ade, ditched her 9-to-5 to embrace her entrepreneurial spirit. She and a few like-minded friends started brewing kombucha and selling it at Los Angeles farmers’ markets. Health-Ade earned rave reviews and satisfied increasing consumer demand for gut-boosting drinks. As the brand grew, Dew discovered Asian culture’s affinity and traditions for fermented beverages, which resonated with her personally. Flavors include the perennially popular Pink Lady Apple and Ginger-Lemon, but refreshing, gulp-able flavors like Watermelon and Passion Fruit Tangerine are poised to be your poolside go-to. Dew’s favorite is Pomegranate, a tart-not-too-sweet sipper. Find Health-Ade Kombucha online and in national retailers such as Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, Walmart and Aldi.
Debbie Wei Mullin traded in her office at World Bank for her sister’s garage to create a sustainable, specialized Vietnamese pour-over coffee. For her signature blend, Mullin sources a sustainably grown and organically farmed blend of 70 percent Robusta and 30 percent Arabica beans from Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Thanks to the chicly packaged, eco-friendly and portable pour-over packs, you can recreate an authentic, barista-worthy Vietnamese coffee experience at home. Choose from creative flavors, like churro, which smells like freshly fried doughnuts when steeping, and lavender, infused with dried lavender sprigs, or seasonal lattes such as pumpkin, rose and salted caramel. (Pro tip: sign up for a subscription to have coffee and creamers delivered to your doorstep each month.) Look for Copper Cow Coffee at retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Walmart, H-E-B, Cost Plus World Market, Nordstrom and Williams Sonoma.
For South Asian American Farah Jesani, chai time represents a sacred moment that unites people and invites relaxation. She founded One Stripe Chai to pay homage to the chai she grew up drinking at home, family’s houses or at the mosque and to promote sustainable sourcing. All of One Stripe Chai’s tea is organic, biodynamic and directly sourced from a fourth-generation farm in Assam. For Jesani’s quintessential cup, opt for the Chai Me At Home masala chai blend and brew it strong and spicy. For the tea lover in your life, gift the best-selling At Home Blends Collection, which includes the Chai Me At Home; It’s Haldi, Doodh, a turmeric latte blend; and a stainless steel strainer. Jesani loves drinking chai with snacks on the side, including Parle-G, milk rusks and other dunkable-treats. Shop One Stripe Chai’s products online, in various West Coast grocery stores and at coffee shops across the country.
Kevin Wong and Sean Ro met and became friends in a Calculus III class at the University of Virginia, but their aha moment happened over a late-night meal of Korean fried chicken. They wondered why there wasn’t a craft beverage celebrating their heritage to pair with the food, so they started brewing in their studio apartments in New York City. They drew inspiration from childhood memories and their parents’ cooking — which meant using only mom-approved, real ingredients — and in 2019, launched Lunar, a line of hard seltzers crafted with Asian flavors and premium ingredients. Try Yuzu, inspired by the yuja-cha Ro’s mom made by mixing yuzu marmalade in hot water and made with floral-tart yuzu juice from Japan’s Shimane prefecture. Lychee, crafted with Thai-grown lychee nectar, is a nod to Wong’s childhood summers in Taiwan where he bought fresh lychees with his grandma. You can find Lunar in stores and restaurants in New York and Virginia, and via online shipping through their website.
On a recent trip to Vietnam, Tammy Huynh discovered that her uncle owns the largest coffee farm in Da Lat, and being back home reignited her love of coffee (her dad used to sneak her sips of his Vietnamese coffee when she was little). She founded Omni Bev, along with co-founder Tony Lam, to share her passion for Vietnamese coffee and introduce consumers to the bold flavors and unique characteristics of single-origin Vietnamese estate coffee blends. Consumers can’t get enough of the cold brews, which includes ready-to-drink Vietnamese coffee as well as plant-based, dairy-free cold brews. Try Good Morning Saigon, which combines its signature coffee blend with condensed milk to create a smooth, balanced sipper to kick-start your day. We’re also a fan of the Coconut Matcha, which blends Vietnamese cold brew with Japanese matcha and coconut milk into a light, creamy pick-me-up. Purchase beans and bottles directly from Omni Bev’s website or at select retailers in California.
Tea Chest Hawaii was originally founded in 1995 by Byron and Satomi Goo, when the pair distributed fine teas to local restaurants and hotels. Next, they became tea makers, drawing on their shared Hawaiian, Chinese and Japanese heritages to create blends that reflect Hawaiian flavors and locally grown ingredients. Their first-ever product, Passionfruit Iced Tea — which was inspired by Byron’s childhood memories of the tangy-sweet fruit he grew up eating in Manoa Valley — remains a best-seller. Tea Chest also draws on a native Hawaiian cultural practice called la’au lapa’au, in which plants are used as medicine, using the Hawaii-grown adaptogens moringa and mamaki to craft teas that boost immunity, reduce inflammation and aid with stress recovery. If iced tea is more your jam, don’t miss its signature Original Blend Nilgiri Iced Tea.
Chi Sum Ngai and Kaleena Teoh bonded over their shared Chinese American heritage and love of coffee (coffee shops are always in their date-night rotation, too). Their coffee roots run deep: Ngai’s family ran a coffee shop in Malaysia (she had her first sip at five years old), and Teoh’s great-grandparents ran a small food cart specializing in rice dumplings, for which coffee is the pairing of choice. Together they founded Coffee Project NY, which has four café locations and counting, plus a roastery and a Specialty-Coffee-Association-certified training campus. Shop for beans and canned iced coffee, which are made using a technology that cools hot coffee in seconds, intensifying its aroma, richness, body and flavor. Try the Woke Up in New York, a bright, energizing house blend from Central and South America, or the Colombia Eduviges Panche, a bold, chocolatey single origin variety sourced from a woman farmer in Colombia.
Brothers Ayan and Ani Sanyal opened their New York City chai shop with a simple aim – to extend a cup of masala chai that they felt respected and honored their culture and tradition honestly. Ani and Ayan spent childhood summers and winters in their parents’ hometown of Kolkata, where between jumping in monsoon puddles and playing cricket in the streets, they were sipping on chai, made by seemingly magical street wallahs, every day. Chai is close to their hearts – and much more than a drink. In the West, chai has been appropriated and bastardized repeatedly, and the brothers wanted to change the “chai” that New Yorkers were drinking – by selling milky, piping hot, generously spiced, small batch tea. But if you can’t make it to the shop, you can get Kolkata Chai Co.’s signature chai mix delivered right to your door.
Monica Sunny’s chai blends are good. Really good – and you know it’s true because The Chai Box landed on Oprah’s Favorite Things list. Chai has always been an integral part of her life – she started sipping it at the age of two and made her first tea blends at age 12. She founded The Chai Box in Atlanta with the intention of carrying on the tradition of family chai time with her sons. Create your own chai ritual at home and choose from 14 different delightful, hand-crafted blends, each inspired by family recipes and different regions throughout India. Try one of Sunny’s faves, Punjaban Party, a refreshing, aromatic blend that captures the vibrant spirit of Punjab with candied ginger, fennel and cardamom. Or opt for the Ultimate Chai Lover’s set, filled with flavors to suit any mood, night or day.
Industry veteran and native Hawaiian Peter Hessler made his culinary-mixology business dream a reality with Pono Potions. It was sparked by his love of artisan espresso and seeing a niche for well-made, locally sourced syrups. Each of the eight flavors plays well in coffee, but also elevate craft cocktails, flavored seltzers, lemonade and tea. The naturally flavored syrups are crafted with native ingredients such as aliʻi lavender, ālʻie vanilla beans, ōlena for the pineapple syrup (ōlena is an original canoe plant brought by early Polynesians and used for medicinal purposes and as a natural dye), and O’ahu grown ginger for the Waialua Honey Ginger syrup made with Oʻahu grown ginger. Hessler favors the honey ginger syrup for iced oat milk lattes or a Waialua Mule crafted with local whiskey. The fan-favorite Molokaʻi hibiscus syrup, with its rich red hue and tart-fruity flavor profile, is excellent in iced tea, lemonade and sparkling cocktails.
Worthy of the gods, Nectar promises to deliver a hard seltzer that doesn’t have that bad aftertaste. Five friends came together to make a better sparkling booze, and after a fateful TikTok video, their cans started selling out in cities across the country. Boasting lightly sweet, Asian flavors – like Lychee, Yuzu and Asian Pear – the drinks offer something “divinely different.” Their latest flavor is POG, which is inspired by the Hawaiian juice of the same name, is made with a combination of passion fruit, orange and guava juices. The no-sugar and low-ABV (4.7 percent) makes this one a totally crushable summer sipper. Nectar ships to 45 states and counting and is available in select retail outlets from coast to coast.
Kitchen and Serveware
When Anam Sadarangani founded her glassware company she chose the name Sprezz based on the Italian concept “sprezzatura,” meaning effortless elegance. Sadarangani, who is originally from Bombay, India, felt inspired by her family’s long dinners of homecooked meals made by her mother. The glassware line which includes Whimsical tumblers and Romantic flutes and grande and petite glasses is intended for everyday use from weeknight dinners to elevated dinner parties with friends. Upon first touch, the glasses feel light in your hand and the glasswork is clearly high quality. Whether you want to add some color to your kitchen or prefer a classic neutral look, you’ll find a set of glasses that fit all aesthetics.
Material Kitchen is made for the modern cook. Founded by Eunice Byun and Dave Nguyen, the cookware company offers well-designed tools that don’t break the bank. Beyond solving pain points for home cooks, and looking good while doing it, the company makes good use of sustainable materials. The reBoard, for instance, is made entirely of kitchen plastic scraps and renewable sugarcane (not to mention, it’s BPA-free and comes in a variety of gorgeous colors). Its products are also meant to last through all your cooking adventures – the Forever Peeler is a stunning, durable tool that includes a blade that can be replaced after the millionth carrot. Who can’t get behind something that’s as pretty as it is sustainable? Or upgrade your cooking game with The Iconics, a best-selling collection of 10 essential tools designed to help you chop, slice, stir and whisk your way through any recipe.
Third-culture kid Andrea Xu was born in Spain to Chinese parents and has lived in the U.S. for most of her adult life. Frustrated by the limitations of the “ethnic” aisles at American chain grocery stores, Xu envisioned Umamicart as a virtual one-stop-shop to stock up on quality, fairly priced products and ingredients. Xu and her team test every product that makes it to their online market, including the sashimi-grade fish sourced from the same purveyor that supplies some of New York City’s top sushi spots (Xu likes to stash it in her freezer for at-home date nights) and Otafuku’s okonomiyaki, a ready-to-eat, savory Japanese pancake that makes for a special snack with zero effort. In addition to categories such as snacks, sweets, seasonings and sauces, the home and kitchen section has a lovely assortment of bento boxes, utensils and tableware, and tea and coffee accessories.
Chief Snack Officer is a life goals title, and one that Lia Ballentine never imagined for herself. She traded in a career in corporate communications to launch Yumday, a subscription snack box company that highlights women- and BIPOC-owned brands. As a Filipino American, Ballentine sees Yumday as an opportunity to champion small businesses while also introducing people to the flavors and cuisines of different cultures. Popular AAPI-founded brands include Uproot Teas, Ancient Provisions (wholesome green banana flour crackers), Bohana (popped waterlily seeds), Karma Nuts and Pan’s Mushroom Jerky. Build your own snack stash online, gift a curated box to a friend or stock up at the brick-and-mortar in Wilmington, N.C.
Ryan Kim launched Kim’C Market in 2019 with a mission to help people stay healthy by providing wholesome, high quality Korean food and ingredients. He started Kim’C Market (the name is a nod to Korean mom-and-pop grocery stores) to make top-notch products more accessible to family and friends. Since then, the online market has gained popularity beyond the Korean community, attracting Michelin-starred chefs and home cooks alike. The premium Korean brown rice is particularly noteworthy — choose your variety, then select your milling preference, depending how much bran you’d like sloughed off. Each order ships with a label noting the date your rice was polished. Kim’C Market’s own line of fermented food is worth seeking out too. Most products take three years to reach full fermentation, like the jookjangyeon doenjang (soybean paste) which is a 2015 vintage.