40+ Asian American and Pacific Islander Food Brands We Love to Stock From
Celebrate AAPI products this heritage month and beyond.
We’ve always appreciated the ability to connect to different cultures through their cuisines and food traditions. It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and there’s no shortage of food and drink brands to celebrate this May and beyond. Showing support is especially important this year, given the rise of anti-Asian violence and discrimination. 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.
Created by Lloyd Ortuoste and Patricia Villanueva, Bella Hadid-endorsed Baonanas is a shop dedicated to banana pudding. Ortuoste and Villanueva have inventively stretched the dessert as we know it, creating over 33 different flavors for fans to sink their spoons into. Though Baonanas’ offerings are outside of the box – with iterations like Lychee Rose, Matcha and Black Sesame – the shop maintains the best parts of banana pudding: fluffy mousse, wafers and fresh fruit. The shop has locations in New York and New Jersey, but if you can’t get to one, Baonanas offers nationwide shipping (though it’s on pause for now).
Named after the iconic ’80s haircut, BowlCut is a newly launched condiment company created by Crystal Ung, Adrian Ng and Will Kang. The founders grew up in their parents’ Chinese restaurants and saw firsthand the power of food to bring people together. With their parents’ recipes, they launched a brand dedicated to bottling up the familiar flavors they 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!
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.
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 newly launched 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?
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 current 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Andrea Xu considers herself a third-culture kid: She was born in Spain to Chinese parents and has lived in the U.S. for most of her adult life. Like many people with multicultural backgrounds, cuisine and cooking have always provided a way for Xu to connect to her roots. Frustrated by the limitations of the "ethnic" aisles at chain grocery stores in the U.S., Xu envisioned Umamicart as a virtual one-stop-shop to stock up on quality, fairly priced products and ingredients. With appealing photographs, detailed product descriptions and a seamless and easy-to-navigate site, Umamicart makes shopping for your favorite Asian groceries a breeze. Xu is especially proud of the sashimi-grade fish sourced from a purveyor that supplies fish to some of the top sushi spots in New York City, and stashes it in her freezer to have on hand for date nights at home with her husband. Her latest obsession is Otafuku’s okonomiyaki, a ready-to-eat, savory Japanese pancake that makes for a special snack with zero effort. For easy recipe inspiration, stock up on fan-favorite recipe kits and then cook along with how-to recipe videos posted on the brand’s social media pages. Can’t find something you’re after? Xu and her team test every product that’s offered and encourage customers to send in product suggestions.
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. Since then, they’ve hit some impressive milestones: Selling out within the first 72 hours of launching, then selling out six more times and collaborating with cookbook author and chili-aficionado Pepper Teigen. The sisters always wanted to start a business together, and as first-generation Vietnamese Americans and daughters of refugees, they created Omsom to connect to their identities as women of color and their "third culture." With Omsom, their mission is to give Asian Americans a contemporary way to get a true taste of home and to share something beyond the grocery store "ethnic" aisle with non-Asian Americans. Each of the starter sauces were developed in partnership with who they call Tastemakers, celebrated Asian chefs who push the boundaries of their respective cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Mix and match your protein or vegetables with starters like Spicy Bulgogi, Larb or Yuzu Misoyaki. The sisters are especially fond of the Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, developed by their friend and chef Jimmy Ly (Kim recommends slathering it on top of crispy air-fried tofu). You can purchase products through their website, and we recommend snapping up the collaboration with Pepper Teigen A.S.A.P., a dish starter for Krapow that proudly features MSG as a core ingredient.
The next time you need a 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). The start-up also benefited from a partnership with chefs from the James Beard Foundation’s Impact program, who are active in promoting sustainable food systems in their communities. The rigorous recipe research and development process involved sampling hundreds of tea varietals, fruits, roots and botanicals, as well as extensive brewing method testing, resulting in the creation of a slow, 20-hour cold brew ritual. Staying true to her heritage and penchant for bold flavors was paramount. To wit, Reenergize: Mango Ginger Turmeric Guayusa, is one of Patwa’s favorites, as it reminds her of eating arroz caldo, a Filipino ginger chicken porridge, chased with sweet fresh mango from her family’s trees for dessert. Other noteworthy flavors include Rejuvenate: Peach Hibiscus Jasmine Green Tea, which customers say tastes like summer in a bottle, and the caffeine-free Strawberry Lavender Rosemary Tulsi. True to its sustainability mission, Enroot is the first food and beverage start-up to work with SCS Global Services to implement a sourcing policy that underscores its efforts to work with suppliers to source high-quality, organic ingredients and eliminate plastic use where possible and help reduce its carbon footprint. You can find the products on Enroot’s website and in select retailers in Southern California.
Chitra Agrawal grew up in a family of cooks, getting to sample dishes from her father’s native Delhi, in North India (think curries such as channa masla, aloo gobi and saag paneer) and her mother’s native Bangalore in South India (more rice-based dishes like lemony chitranna and dal preparations like rasam and sambar). The diversity of these flavors and dishes informed her palate early on and served as inspiration for her Brooklyn food blog where she began documenting her family’s recipes about ten years ago. Soon, Agrawal was teaching cooking classes, hosting pop-up dinners, writing a cookbook and eventually, she launched Brooklyn Delhi, her line of simmer sauces, condiments and hot sauces that reflect her Indian-American heritage. Her best-selling tomato achaar is a spicy, savory and tangy pickled condiment that’s typically eaten with rice, curry, dal and yogurt, but it also adds heat and savory depth to all kinds of dishes (we like using it in place of tomato paste for a spicy kick). Chitra also sings the praises of the umami-rich roasted garlic achaar, essential for making garlic bread. The simmer sauces, like the newly launched Cashew Coconut Korma, boasts a mild yet flavorful profile that makes it a weeknight dinner crowd-pleaser. You can find the products widely at Whole Foods or check the store locator online. For more cooking inspiration, Chitra’s cookbook, Vibrant India, is a wonderful resource and homage to her mother’s family recipes.
Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan met while working in the tech industry, though it was over their love of eating noodles for breakfast that cemented their bond. They became fast friends and learned that they 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 ran a Thai restaurant in Los Angeles selling noodles. Over the last decade, they’ve seen their families suffer chronic health conditions stemming from poor nutrition and unhealthy diets. The pair were inspired to launch Immi, a 100% plant-based instant ramen line that incorporates top-notch ingredients and nutritional benefits, all without sacrificing the Asian American flavors they love. Every serving is packed with 31 grams of protein, nine grams of net carbs and nine grams of fiber. The noodles are indeed great for breakfast (especially topped with a soft-boiled egg), but they also make for a convenient lunch or quick comfort food dinner. Opt for the Variety 9 Pack, which includes three packets of each flavor: Spicy Beef (inspired by the Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup Lee grew up eating), Tom Yum Shrimp (Chanthasiriphan’s fave and a nod to the Tom Yum he ate as a kid in Thailand) and the best-selling Black Garlic Chicken, which pays homage to a classic Japanese ramen broth.
As a 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. Xue founded Us Two Tea to proudly claim her culture and create a brand that represents and honors the Asian American community. This ethos rings true in both her team, which is 100% Asian American, and the product line-up of Taiwanese loose-leaf teas (a.k.a. the Champagne of teas) directly sourced from small family farms. Top sellers include Homesick, a comforting Oolong tea that drinks like a cup of self-care, and Pillowtalk, a calming Jasmine tea that invites you to get cozy. Don’t miss Family Tradition, a Baozhong tea that’s beloved in Taiwan for its palate-cleansing properties, making it ideal for sharing and sipping with friends and family after a meal. 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. Shop for the teas at Us Two Tea’s website, Amazon or via the Dashmart app.
Pooja Bavishi launched Malai in 2015, a brand of ice cream that incorporates the memories and South Asian spices of her childhood, including ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and saffron. One of Malai’s most beloved flavors is the Masala Chai, which 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. You can score scoops of Malai at its Brooklyn scoop shop, via Goldbelly for nationwide shipping and in select grocery stores.
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.
Spicewalla has earned a loyal following among 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. When Meherwan was growing up, a whole week was dedicated each fall to making dhansak masala in his grandmother's home. 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 new products are released all the time.
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 (try the vanilla coffee rub for your next round of backyard barbecue ribs). If you find yourself in Paauilo, book a walking tour of their “vanilla vineyard” and enjoy a farm-to-table lunch.
Nguyen Coffee Supply, which launched in 2018, is the first specialty Vietnamese coffee company in America that directly imports single-origin Robusta. The company is named after its founder, Sahra Nguyen, a first-generation Vietnamese-American woman and proud daughter of refugees. Nguyen founded the company 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% 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, including the new Dark Roast collection, on Nguyen Coffee Supply’s website.
Sach, which means “honest” in Hindi, serves as both the name and ethos of Jasleen and Tarush Agarwal’s scratch-made paneer. As first-generation Indian immigrants and life-long vegetarians, they found themselves missing the paneer of their childhood. In the absence of finding something delicious and wholesome on the market, they set about creating their own. Each product is made using organic, grass-fed milk and contains five ingredients or less. Each one ounce serving contains 7 grams of protein (twice as much as tofu) making it a great vegetarian protein option. 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 is the only company to make flavored paneer, and they nail the flavor profiles of both Turmeric Twist (ready to go for stir-fries) and Spicy Habanero, which rivals any pepper jack cheese. The pair love to cook with their paneer and relish sharing their favorite recipes and seasonal dishes on the blog (hello Habanero Paneer Fries!). The paneer is available for shipping nationwide on their website, Imperfect Foods and Amazon, and is available at Whole Foods in several states. As part of their mission, the Agarwals donate 1% of all paneer produced to help fight food insecurity in their local communities.
Vanessa Dew, co-founder and CSO of Health-Ade, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Stuck in a 9-5 job, Dew decided to switch gears and with a few like-minded friends, started an entrepreneur club (which is less glamorous than it sounds — they met in each other’s cars or broom closets) that eventually morphed into founding Health-Ade. They started brewing kombucha and selling it at Los Angeles farmers’ markets. Not only did they earn rave reviews and satisfy consumer demand for gut-boosting drinks, but Dew discovered how deeply rooted the fermented beverage is in Asian culture, and found that the product resonated with her personally, too. The kombucha comes in a variety of flavors, such as 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 pool-side tipple of choice this summer. The flavor closest to Dew’s heart is the Pomegranate, a tart-not-too-sweet sipper that came out in 2013. Health-Ade partnered with the City of Hope and a portion of sales went toward cancer research; Dew’s own mom battled cancer for years, so helping fight against cancer was particularly meaningful. Find Health-Ade Kombucha online and in national retailers such as Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, Walmart and Aldi.
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, spices and dumplings that bring those flavors to home cooks. The name of her company 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, a bright, spicy, lip-tingling condiment made with mala peppers, has had a similar effect stateside. It has sold out multiple times and for good reason: it adds a punch of heat and savory depth to just about everything, from eggs to noodles to ice cream. But lately we’re especially drawn to the Zhong Sauce, a wholly original creation that Gao named after Zhong dumplings, a popular Chengdu street snack. The umami-rich blend sees "fuzhi" soy sauce slow-brewed with brown sugar, mushrooms, garlic and a blend of spices to create an unctuous sauce. If you’re looking for a spice rub to step up your summer grilling game, snag a jar of Mala Spice Mix, named for the signature mouth-numbing sensation of Sichuan cuisine, which incorporates 11 herbs and spices, including the prized Tribute Pepper.
Lauryn Chun was inspired to found Mother in Law’s after losing her corporate job in the 2008 recession. Back then, kimchi wasn’t part of the global pantry like it is now and fermented foods had not yet 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. Chun believed that the tradition of making kimchi lent itself to creating an artisanal product much like Western fermented foods such as wine, cheese, bread and craft beer, so she decided to launch her own kimchi company, Mother in Law’s. The best-selling HOUSE Reserve Kimchi is crafted after an original family recipe that originated at her mother’s 30-year-old restaurant Jang Mo Jip (Mother in Law’s House). It starts with long-cut pieces of Napa cabbage, fish sauce and bone broth, then undergoes a two-step fermentation process where the pieces slowly ferment over a long period of time to yield a deeply savory and funky kimchi. Chun also wrote the book on kimchi, quite literally: The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Modern and Traditional Ways to Make and Cook Kimchi, reveals more about the kimchi-making process and its versatility as an ingredient. At home, Chun likes to eat kimchi on avocado toast, with cheese (try it with baked Brie), alongside grilled meats or tofu, atop burgers and sandwiches, 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 locations of Harris Teeter, Wegmans, Central Market and The Fresh Market, and online at FreshDirect and Umamicart.
For Joanna Linton, the concept of self-care didn’t resonate until she experienced postpartum depression after having her second child, Rae. It took four trips to the emergency room after becoming physically ill from the stress of caring for a toddler and a newborn for her to realize that to care for her family, she needed to care for herself first. Linton, who is Taiwanese-American, was raised to believe that a healthy mind starts with a healthy gut. So, she went back to her roots, turning to a group of ingestible Chinese herbs called adaptogens to help ease tension and stress and restore balance to the body. Wanting to help other moms as much as herself, Linton developed Rae’s Roots, a line of teas focused on supporting mothers for wellness (think energy, mood, focus and milk flow). Unwind with the best-selling Rest Easy, a soothing blend made with chamomile and Tulsi, which gives the tea a slightly sweet and flowery finish. The product Linton is most proud of developing (it took four months of R&D) is Milk Flow, a warming lactation tea that didn’t taste like most medicinal tasting, licoricey lactation support teas on the market. The Belly Soother tea, crafted with ginger and warming chai spices, is one Linton reaches for often to support digestive health. You can order the products directly from the Rae’s Roots website.
Debbie Wei Mullin traded in her office at World Bank, where she helped finance projects to combat poverty, for her sister’s garage, with the intention of creating a sustainable, specialized Vietnamese pour-over coffee. Mullin, a Vietnamese American, sought to source coffee beans from Vietnam that are sustainably and organically farmed, sourced and processed, without pesticides or chemicals. After doing her due diligence, she landed on coffee made up of 70% Robusta and 30% Arabica beans from Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Thanks to Mullin’s cleverly designed, eco-friendly and portable pour-over packs, you can recreate an authentic, barista-worthy Vietnamese coffee experience at home. Simply tear open the pouch, rest it in your mug and add hot water. Then stir in the provided package of sweetened, additive-free condensed milk (vegan coconut creamer is also available). The coffee comes in creative flavors, too, like the uber-popular churro (it smells like freshly fried doughnuts when steeping) and lavender (infused with lavender sprigs). Seasonal and limited-edition flavors rotate throughout the year as well, like Pumpkin Spice Latte in the fall, alongside flavors like rose and salted caramel. (Pro tip: sign up for a subscription to have coffee and creamers delivered to your doorstep each month.) And, although she traded in her corporate office, Mullin continues her work in international development and sustainability by sourcing packaging from a woman-owned factory in Vietnam and uses a woman-owned fulfillment center in the U.S. 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 Farah Jesani, a South Asian American, chai time represents a sacred moment in the day that brings people together and invites relaxation. She founded One Stripe Chai to promote sustainable sourcing and pay homage to the chai she grew up drinking at home, family’s houses or at the mosque. All of One Stripe Chai’s tea is organic and biodynamic, and directly sourced from a fourth-generation farm in Assam, India. For Jesani’s quintessential cup, opt for the Chai Me At Home masala chai blend, which includes easy-to-follow steps for brewing a cup just as she likes it — strong and spicy. For a lovely gift-giving option for the tea lover in your life, opt for 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 cookies and biscuits such as Parle-G, milk rusks and other dunkable-treats. You can find all of One Stripe Chai’s products in the company’s online shop, in various West Coast grocery stores and at coffee shops across the country.
Kevin Wong and Sean Ro became friends over a decade ago in a Calculus III class during their freshman year at the University of Virginia. But their aha moment happened over a late-night meal of Korean fried chicken. The pair questioned why they were drinking domestic draft beer with their meal and wondered why there wasn’t a craft beverage celebrating their heritage to pair with the food they were eating. They started brewing in their studio apartments in New York City, drawing inspiration from childhood memories and the flavors of 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. From the original line, try Yuzu, inspired by the yuja-cha Ro’s mom made by mixing yuzu marmalade in hot water. It’s crafted with yuzu juice from Japan's Shimane prefecture that perfectly captures the fruit’s signature floral aroma and tart sweetness. Made with nectar from Thai-grown lychees, Lychee is a nod to Wong’s childhood memories of spending summers in Taiwan and buying the fresh fruit with his grandma at the local market. Next, try Passion Fruit, the latest flavor from the brand. You can find Lunar in stores and restaurants in New York and Virginia, and via online shipping through their website. To give back to the AAPI community, Lunar also donates a percentage of monthly proceeds to a different non-profit, cause or individual.
With her Raleigh tiffin-inspired tea and snack shop Cheeni, owner Preeti Waas gets to share her love of two of her snack staples: vegetable puffs and jeera cookies. True to her ethos of serving wholesome fare, Cheeni’s veg puffs are baked, not fried, and the filling is packed with vegetables. The jeera cookies are made (and eat) like a classic shortbread and are ideal to nibble alongside a cup of masala chai or super smooth Indian filter coffee. Happily, you can order the veg puffs and jeera cookies for nationwide shipping and recreate the Indian filter coffee experience at home with a bag of Holy Cow coffee, which features an 80/20 blend of Robusta coffee beans to chicory root powder ratio. The coffee is grown in the foothills of the Nilgiri Mountains and roasted at a family roastery in India, from whom Waas’ family has purchased coffee for more than 50 years.
Tammy Huynh’s love of coffee was sparked early on, when her father would sneak sips of his Vietnamese coffee to her. On a recent trip to Vietnam, Huynh discovered that her uncle owns the largest coffee farm in Da Lat and being back home reignited that love. She founded Omni Bev, along with co-founder Tony Lam, to share her passion for Vietnamese coffee and introduce and educate consumers on the bold flavors and unique characteristics of single-origin Vietnamese estate coffee blends. Consumers can’t get enough of the cold brew coffee collection, 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 that’ll have you racing out of bed in the morning. 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. You can order beans and bottles directly from Omni Bev’s website or find them at select retailers and specialty markets in California.
When Ryan Kim launched Kim’C Market in 2019, his mission was clear: help people stay healthy by providing wholesome, high quality Korean food and ingredients. Consuming a wholesome diet is central to a healthy lifestyle for many Koreans, but Kim found that those ingredients weren’t readily accessible at existing markets. He started Kim’C Market (the name is a nod to Korean mom-and-pop grocery stores) with the mission of sharing top-notch products with family and friends. Since then, the online market has gained popularity beyond the Korean community, attracting Michelin-starred chefs and home cooks alike. The Korean rice is particularly noteworthy — think of it like single origin coffee roasted to your preference. Kim visited multiple farms in Korea to taste a variety of rice brands before selecting four varieties of premium brown rice to import. Choose your variety, then select your milling preference (depending how much bran you’d like sloughed off). Each order is shipped 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. Come summer, pesticide-free Tangerine Juice and Tangerine Vinegar from Jeju Island and organic grape juice from a prized Korean farm are among the bestsellers.
Hannah Bae gets her love of sweets from her father, but the treat she’s most obsessed with is ice cream. You could say that her toasted rice ice cream was destined for greatness from day one; it took home the best flavor award at a local ice cream contest and on that fateful day in 2016, Bae launched her company Noona’s Ice Cream. It’s still a bestseller today. Noona means “big sister” in Korean, and Bae chose to name her company after it to create a brand that proudly celebrates the Asian American story. Bae really started connecting to her Korean-American heritage by cooking traditional dishes at home, and this foundation inspired many of Noona’s 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. Bae’s attention to sourcing is as thoughtful as her flavors; about 75% of ingredients, such as dairy, coconut milk, matcha and black sesame seeds, are directly traded. 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. To celebrate AAPI Heritage month, 5% of Noona’s sales will go to the Immigrant History Initative.
Tagmo Treats started with a dream. Literally. Pastry chef Surbhi Sahni says she dreamt of a tigress in a forest crouching next to a path where she was walking with her daughter at dusk. The dream sparked the idea for the name of her business and its underlying force: not only are tigers ubiquitous in Indian imagery, but they are symbols of strength across South Asia. As a first-generation Indian American and queer woman, Sahni wants her business to help pave the path for other women of color and members of the queer community in the food industry. Surbhi first earned a reputation as an all-star pastry chef at Michelin-starred New York City restaurants such as Devi and Tulsi. With Tagmo, she’s making her mark with hand-crafted confections that embody the tradition of South Asian mithai with her contemporary flavor combinations and signature artistry. There’s Chocolate Burfi, a deep, chocolatey fudge; rose burfi, which gets a one-two punch from rose jam and orange zest and a coconutty-crunch; and Kaju Katli: a rich vegan treat crafted with cashews, cardamom and cane sugar. Sahni’s favorite mithai is Besan Ladoo, a sweet that her father often bought that boasts a hard outer shell and soft, melty peanut butter filling. Don’t sleep on the Salted Pecan Burfi, a study in textural contrasts that plays smooth caramel off of roasted pecans. You can most readily find her confections on her website, which are available for shipping nationwide. Though she’s best known for her sweets, Sahni also has a deft touch with savory cuisine which she showcases with her New York menu delivery service, featuring homestyle cooking, cuisines of working-class folks and farmers, and less-common regional cuisines. She’s also started a meal delivery series that features menus from women and queer chefs each month.
Mumbai native Sana Javeri Kadri founded Diaspora Co. in 2017 with a mission to build a more delicious and equitable spice trade by responsibly sourcing indigenous spices from India and Sri Lanka, paying farmers an average of six times the commodity price and selling spices directly to consumers the same year they’re harvested. Diaspora Co. started with four spices and has since grown to more than 30 offerings, each upholding the ethos of delivering fresh and flavorful spices while redefining what “Made in India” means. Even just smelling the best-selling Pragati Turmeric will have you swearing off bitter grocery store turmeric for good. It’s got an intensely bright, floral aroma and is sourced from a multi-generational Kasareni family farm that’s surrounded by marigolds, bananas and black rice. 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. You can buy the spices via the company’s website or find them at select retailers and restaurants around the globe.
Tea Chest Hawaii was originally founded in 1995 by Byron and Satomi Goo, when the pair started their business as a distributor of fine teas working with local restaurants and hotels. Soon after, they became tea makers themselves, drawing on their shared Hawaiian, Chinese and Japanese heritages to create blends that reflect the flavors and traditions of Hawaii. The pair source locally grown ingredients for their tea blends, such as cacao, lavender and fruit. 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 — is still 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. They use moringa and mamaki, both Hawaii-grown adaptogens, to craft teas that boost immunity, reduce inflammation and aid with recovery from anxiety and stress. If iced tea is more your jam, don’t miss their signature Original Blend Nilgiri Iced Tea.
Chi Sum Ngai and Kaleena Teoh bonded over their shared Chinese-American heritage and love of coffee. In fact, they love coffee so much, that when they go on dates, a coffee shop is always in rotation. It’s no surprise to learn that their coffee roots run deep: Ngai’s family ran a coffee shop in Malaysia, and she tried her first sip of coffee when she was 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. Since they founded Coffee Project NY, the company has grown to four locations, with a roastery and a Specialty-Coffee-Association-certified training campus. In addition to brewing and serving freshly roasted coffee at their New York cafés and shipping beans nationwide, the pair recently added a specialty canned coffee to their online shop. What’s so special about these iced coffees is that they are made using a technology that cools hot coffee in seconds, which intensifies and preserves its aroma, richness, body and flavor. The Woke Up in New York is a bright house blend from Central and South America that’ll leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. The Colombia Eduviges Panche, is a bold single origin variety sourced from a woman farmer in Colombia, that boasts a chocolatey lushness. Meet your new summer iced coffee crush.
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 a drink 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 you it’s true because The Chai Box landed on Oprah’s Favorite Things list last year. Choose from a number of delightful blends, but if you don’t know where to start, you won’t be disappointed with the Ultimate Chai Lover’s set, filled with flavors to suit any mood, night or day.
Peter Hessler has served as a cook, bartender and restaurant manager, but he always wanted his own culinary-mixology business. His idea for Pono Potions was sparked by his love of artisan espresso and filling the void for well-made, locally sourced syrups. As a native Hawaiian, he set out to create a line of naturally flavored syrups made with native ingredients such as ōlena, ginger, aliʻi lavender and ālʻie vanilla beans. Each of the eight flavors play well in coffee, but also elevate craft cocktails, flavored seltzers, lemonade and tea. Hessler’s favors the Waialua Honey Ginger syrup made with Oʻahu grown ginger, using it to make iced oat milk lattes or a Waialua Mule crafted with local whiskey. The Molokaʻi hibiscus syrup, with its rich red hue and tart-fruity flavor profile, is a fan-favorite for iced tea, lemonade and sparkling cocktails. For a tiki-inspired cocktail, Hessler suggests mixing Hawaiian rum with the ʻōlena pineapple syrup. ʻŌlena was an original canoe plant brought by early Polynesians and used for medicinal purposes and as a natural dye; here, it imparts an earthy-sweet flavor profile to match pineapple’s tart-sweet characteristics.
Don’t forget to stock up on treats for fido! Native Hawaiians Miki and Nick Vericella are adamant about knowing where their food comes from — so much so that they raise it themselves. When Nick, a third-generational cattle rancher, and Miki got married, they started homesteading and adding more livestock to Nick’s Waimea ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii. They processed their own meats to fill their freezers and feed their family — including making their own dog food for their fur baby. Soon, more people in their community wanted fresh food for their pets, too, and the pair founded Pawniolo Pets in late 2019. The nose-to-tail butchery outfit turns out a full line of all-natural pet foods and treats, nutritious bone broths and bully stick dog chews, all made from ingredients sourced from Hawaiian ranchers, farmers and hunters. One of their most popular products is the Furry Kake Pet Food Topper, a play on furikake, a Japanese seasoning that’s sprinkled over rice and a staple in Hawaiian kitchens.