If you're looking for artfully curated kitchenware or affordable food to make a dinner as easy as it is delicious, we're here for you. Well actually, the Asian American women entrepreneurs helming these small businesses are.
Yesterday, today and everyday moving forward is a good time support the countless companies owned by Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) first- and second-generation immigrants in the U.S. Perhaps a quick search on how to support the AAPI community right now amid rising hate crimes has led to lists like this one. But these are just some of the cool women doing amazing things in the food industry. And all it takes is a little knowledge about these businesses and a couple clicks to try out some exceptional goods.
Some apps make shopping for Black-owned, Asian-owned and woman-owned companies easier. Shop by Shopify, for example, is a free resource for users to navigate the plethora of small, minority-owned businesses from which to buy products, many of which they may already know and love.
Whether you're looking to purchase a pantry's worth of food from women-owned grocery services like Umamicart, stocked to make a wide variety of East Asian recipes, or put money back into Asian American communities to help fight anti-Asian racism in whatever way you're able, here's a sliver of the many stellar AAPI women-owned companies to support now and always.
This spice company that supports Indian farmers who use sustainable agricultural practices was founded by third-generation Mumbai native, Sana Javeri Kadri. Each spice product, from Pragati Turmeric to Aranya pepper to Sirarakhong Chillies, is designed to bring authentic, delicious, well-sourced flavors of India to home cooks everywhere. The products are packed in reusable glass jars and can be purchased in trios or a Masala Dabba bundle of seven spices in a beautiful brass dabba container.
Thailand-born chef and restauranteur Emshika Alberini canned the flavors of her heritage in on-the-go beverages that don't sacrifice the flavor of sitting down and enjoying some milky iced tea on a warm day. The owner of Chang Thai Cafe in Littleton, New Hampshire brews an elevated lineup of nitro-infused organic Aassam tea from Northern Thailand that's sweetened with monk fruit juice. The coffee has notes of cardamom and all the drinks have a luscious, creamy texture.
Founded by chef, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed "flavor fanatic" Jing Gao, this condiment company is inspired by the amazing, hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Gao's native Chengdu, China. For years, Jing went by the Westernized "Jenny," but is empowering her culture and heritage through authentic, personal flavors that celebrate her birth name. Anyone who relishes a little heat will love Fly By Jing's killer Sichuan Chili Crisp sauce and sweet, spicy, umami Zhong sauce.
This almost too-gorgeous-to-eat ice cream is batched up in a Brooklyn flagship scoop shop, shipped nationwide via Goldbelly and sold at various stores in locations on the East and West Coasts and Hawaii. Malai, which means "cream of the crop" in a North Indian language, serves up eggless ice creams churned with little air, made with spices and aromas that reflect founder and CEO Pooja Bavishi's South Asian heritage. Some signature flavors include Lemon Cardamom, Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds and Sweet Roti and Ghee.
Self-proclaimed "food lovers, not professional chefs," Eunice Byun and her co-founder Dave Nguyen founded Material, a curated place for well-groomed, aesthetically pleasing kitchen tools. The knives are gorgeous, the storage — modern and wooded, and the cutting board is lively, earthen hues like sand, deep, coral and (my personal favorite): To Pó-Po, with Love.
This New York-based coffee brand is owned by first-generation Vietnamese American Sahra Nguyen, whose parents found refuge in the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Nguyen imports organic green arabica and robusta beans from Vietnam, where she roasts them into different blends at her Brooklyn coffeehouse. All of Nguyen's blends and Vietnamese ceramic filters (a beautiful addition to any coffee lover's countertop) are available on her website.
Jennifer Chow co-founded this healthful meal kit service with the intention to make working moms' lives easier. It's a flexible subscription service where families can choose meals portioned by age group to ensure everyone's getting what they need, dropped straight at the front door. Customers can also fill out a questionnaire about family eating habits and mealtime, and the site will provide recommendations on what to order.
First-generation Vietnamese American sisters Kim and Vanessa Pham created Omsom to make it easier to enjoy one's favorite Asian dishes without having every sauce or seasoning handy. Each Omsom packet, or "starter" as the sisters refer to them, combine all the aromatics of a specific recipe so all you need to do is rip it open, pour it into the veggie or protein of choice and cook it up. Check out their site to see the different packets and chef-crafted recipes to whip up with them, from Korean Spicy Pork Bulgagi to Japanese Salmon Yuzu Misoyaki. Hungry yet?
These wellness teas are designed to support expecting and new mamas (though they certainly have blends that support everyone's gut health). From calming adaptogen teas to belly soothing blends and loose leafs to promote milk flow in nursing moms, founder Joanna Linton turned to her mother's teachings about Chinese herbs to heal her own postpartum stress and depression. From there, Rae's Roots was born to help other moms find solace in tea time.
Launched in 2014 by chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal, Brooklyn Delhi specializes in Indian condiments like achaar, curry ketchup and mustard, simmer sauces and chutneys. The company originated out of Agrawal's desire to craft homemade Indian achaars without over-salting them. She sourced natural ingredients around her Brooklyn neighborhood, like rhubarb, tomatoes, garlic and gooseberries. She goes to India every year to visit family and gain further inspiration to develop recipes, package and sell them so people can enjoy them across the U.S.
"Ai" means "love" in Mandarin, and served as the inspiration for Jenna Cao's tea company focused on wellness tea rituals. Wellai has varying blends and an online quiz for potential customers to discover their perfect tea for their lifestyle and needs. Cao created the brand with the busy New Yorker in mind — all those who need a moment to pause in sip in some warm self care.