With Father’s Day coming up — not to mention engagements, weddings, babies, hostesses, and alllll the summer entertaining, we’ve all got food and kitchen gifts on the brain. And lately, we’ve been actively supporting more AAPI-owned companies, because they could really use the boost this year.
So I thought I’d put together a list of just a few food and kitchen gifts supporting AAPI-owned businesses and, whoa. I ended up with more than 20!
And that’s just for now, because I’m sure more are coming.
While of course a lot of small businesses have struggled through the pandemic, the disturbing rise in anti-Asian racism has created additional hardships for the AAPI community, both economically and emotionally, and of course those two are intertwined. So I’m really pleased to call your attention to so many diverse AAPI-owned companies, shops, and makers offering truly wonderful gifts of all kinds for everyone on your list. With gratitude toward some of my favorite Asian-American friends and writers, whose recommendations are invaluable to me.
So happy shopping everyone. And I hope that as with us, it makes you feel extra good when we you put your money where your hearts are.
Related: 15 delicious Father’s Day food gifts supporting black-owned businesses
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20+ wonderful food and kitchen gifts supporting AAPI-owned businesses and shops
Japanese Knife Trio with Magnetic Stand | $155 + $75, Material Kitchen
if you’re shopping for a modern home cook, they’ll pretty much want every single item online at Material Kitchen, which is all beautifully curated and presented by Eunice Byun and David Nguyen.
From exquisite Japanese steel chef’s knives (the trio up top is magnificent) and cutting boards, to saucepans and hand-thrown dishware crafted from natural Korean soils…well, I want all of it. Even the knife block on its own makes a great gift, for someone who’s already set on knives but wants to get them out of those icky slotted wooden knife blocks.
Wine Cooler and Gift Bag | $17, SoYoung
Need a way to tote around one of those wine or sake bottles? We’ve been recommending Catherine Choi’s lovely lunchboxes, diaper bags and accessories from SoYoung since she first launched wayyyyy back in 2008 as SoYoung Mother. They actually made the lunchbox I rated #1 for durability and style. Now, the shop is definitely not just for mothers! There’s so much here to love including this beautiful washable and reusable wine cooler that doubles as a chic gift bag.
Always Pan | $145, Our Place
This nonstick, ceramic-coated pan has been stalking me all over Instagram, and I can’t help it, I click over every time. But don’t worry, it’s legit! Our Place owner Shiza Shahid is not only a South Asian-American entrepreneur, she also happens to be the Founding CEO of the Malala Fund. And what she’s created here is a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest all in one. Which makes it a perfect kitchen gift for anyone who’s limited on space, Plus, so many colors!
What’s more is that while designed in LA, Shiza sought out a woman-run, family-owned factory in China to produce the Always Pan, ensuring they abide by ethical labor practices and pay fair wages.
Related: 8 practical gifts for home cooks, all from small businesses we love
Chocolate Care Packages | $35-40, Deux Cranes
Michiko Marron-Kibbey is a fourth generation Japanese-American who combines Japanese and French techniques to serve up exotic gourmet chocolates at her Bay Area shop. (How’s that for the ultimate American dream story?)
Flavors range from vegan-friendly dark chocolate blends to exotic combos like matcha & caramelized sesame inspired by her Japanese grandmother. Deux Cranes also offers a limited edition chocolate subscription, for a food gift that keeps on giving every quarter.
Hanega Vinegar Trio Gift Set | $50, Gotham Grove Specialty
Thanks to my friend Josephine Son, who knows every cool Asian-American owned shop everywhere, I discovered Gotham. Jennifer Yoo’s website sells Asian ingredients from small purveyors who don’t get distribution at the big chains — from fermented soybean paste, to flavored gochujang, to exotic salts, oils, and vinegars. How’s that for foodie gift paradise? I love this gift set of aged vinegars, featuring flavors like ginkgo, wintermelon, and fig.
Spice Daddy Grill Lovers Bundle | $59.99, Spicewalla
Spicewalla was founded by James Beard-award winning Asheville-based chef Meherwan Irani, and foodies are obsessed. It’s not your average stuff — there are so many varieties and blends inspired by his Indian heritage. Plus, the tins are just designed for gifting. If you’re looking for a food gift for a grilling dad, I think this gift set is fabulous.
Feel free to browse though; Spicewalla also offers a cool barbecue gift set including a top cookbook plus three BBQ rubs — or make your own gift sets of spices you choose, starting at just $18.99 for three.
Aburidashi Glass Soy Sauce Bottle | $40, Rikumo
As someone with an aversion to putting condiment bottles straight from the fridge to the table when I’m entertaining, I can’t believe it never crossed my mind to find something to put soy sauce in besides a shallow dish. I think these glass bottles from Toyko, made with the aburidashi glass molding technique, are stunning. They’re evidently rare in Japan, but you can find them from Kaz and Yuka Morihata’s elegant Japanese housewares and gift shop in Philadelphia, Rikumo.
Actually I want everything in this shop. For real. What a collection!
Jongro Marinated Korean Barbecue Dinner Kit | $139 and up, Goldbelly
Named one of NYC’s top authentic Korean Barbecue Restaurants over and over again, chef/owner Moul Kim’s Koreatown staple (by way of Korea) now offers a full meal for delivery and I wouldn’t say no to this! Choose an authentic Pork Belly, Prime Ribeye, or Bulgogi Dinner Kit, grab a few of your favorite vaccinated friends and family members, and get ready to chow down. Just don’t bogart the kimchi. Unless the gift was for you.
Related: My favorite NYC food gifts from 10 New York institutions that can use the support
Porcelain Paper Plate | $36-85, SIN
I feel in love with this iconic, porcelain paper plate ages ago, and it’s just the coolest kitchen gift — maybe for a dad who’s going to eat all that Korean Barbecue off of it? Everything at Virgina Sin’s Brooklyn-based shop is beautifully handmade right in Greenpoint, and if you browse around, you may recognize her designs from museum gift shops, Architectural Digest, or the tables of one of NYC’s very few five-star restaurants.
Sooooo many AAPI authored cookbooks
Of course no list of food or kitchen gifts would be complete without cookbooks, right? Here’s just a few newer titles that come highly recommended from Asian-American homecooks and chefs in my own life, and would make terrific gift books too. Best of all, they go beyond the “big name” chefs — although their cookbooks are awesome too.
Mandy Lee: The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story with Intensely Good Flavors
Angie Mar: Butcher and the Beast: Mastering the Art of Meat
Hooni Kim: My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes
Hetty McKinnon: To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories from the Heart
Wilson Tang: The Nom Wah Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from 100 Years at New York City’s Iconic Dim Sum Restaurant
Meera Sodha: East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing
Of course this is a wildly abbreviated list! Browse around — maybe even in your favorite AAPI-owned bookstore — and grab something you know will yield years of wonderful meals and wonderful memories.
Poketo X Corcicle Tumbler | $34.95, Poketo
We have been raving about the wonderfully curated gifts on literal mom-and-pop shop, Poketo, for years — going back to when Angie Myung and her husband Ted Vadakan had such a small collection! Now they have two retail shops in LA, a ton of fabulous tabletop and kitchen gifts in every price range. and I particularly love this Corkcicle collab — those tumblers really do keep your hot coffee hot allllll day, or these days, they keep your cold brew cold! I love the Terrazzo design, too.
The stemless wine cup (in a different design) is also wonderful for taking your cold beverage of choice places where glass isn’t allowed — or these days, just wandering down my Brooklyn street, legally sipping as I watch the sunset. Ahhhh. Get two.
Umami Salt | $16, Umami Mart
For a massive assortment of all things Asian, Umami Mart features a well-stocked online shop, should you not be able to make it to
partners Kayoko Akabor and Yoko Kumano’s Oakland store. I love browsing all the spices and condiments, like this Umami Salt created in partnership with Oaktown Spice Shop. (The secret ingredient: Shitaki mushroom!)
But look around the shop for tons of food and kitchen gifts that will suit pretty much anyone on your list. Including yourself.
Kombucha Kit | $40 on sale, Alaya Tea
There are so many wonderful, authentic AAPI-owned tea shops inspired by each individual owner’s food heritage. One I admire is Esha Chhabra and Smita Satiani’s Alaya Tea, because the owners are so committed to ethical harvesting, reforestation, eliminating chemical use, and working toward a zero-waste model — even the mailers are compostable, and the inks they use, biodegradable.
They offer quite a few small-batch looseleaf teas for your favorite tea drinker, but for something a little gifted, I love this DIY Kombucha Kit which lets you make a full gallon of Kombucha. All that’s missing is a flip-top bottle for the finished product…and hopefully an invitation for you to enjoy it too.
Artisan Jerky | $3/1oz pack and up, Fusion Jerky
Some dads I know are obsessed (obsessed!) with exotic jerky, and if you’re shopping for a food gift for such a person, you must check out
KaiYen Mai’s acclaimed Asian jerky company, which boasts unique flavors all honed and refined by her family over 50 years. There’s pork, beef, turkey…chicken too. KaiYen even built her own processing facility in Nebraska, to keep a check on quality and practices. Gift a few of these and he’ll never eat Slim Jim again.
Use coupon code NEW at Fusion Jerky on your first order to save 20%
Akkeshi Sarorunkamuy Single Malt Japanese Whiskey | $140, Umami Mart
Okay, I couldn’t stop with just one food or kitchen gift from Umami Mart. I lost myself for far too long in their selection of Father’s Day gift ideas, which includes plenty of sakes, Japanese Whiskeys, and lovingly selected bottles of Shochu. (They even have a dedicated Sochu Director!) If he’s a drinker, this is a wonderful food gift idea that he probably doesn’t already have. And don’t worry, they have more affordable bottles too.
Nom Wah Soup Dumplings | $59, Goldbelly
NY Chinatown’s super popular dim sum spot, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, offers a small selection of gifts, including autographed cookbooks from chef Wilson Tang. But it turns out they also offer nationwide shipping of their beloved dumplings through Goldbelly! If you can’t make it to this 100-year old family-run restaurant (or don’t want to wait in line for ages), delivery sounds like the perfect food gift.
Gourmet Shortbread | $10, Te Company
Who says AAPI-owned food companies only sell classic Asian food gifts? I love any and all shortbread, and Elena Liao, the owner of NYC’s Te Company, swears by this four-ingredient premium shortbread to go with her assortment of high-end teas. If you’re shopping for a food gift for someone with a refined palate, you can’t go wrong here.
Summer Grilling Capsule Gift Set | $75, Brightland
When we wrote up our holiday list of practical gifts for home cooks from small businesseses, we had to include Brightland, another foodie favorite AAPI-owned food company. Indian-American founder Aishwarya Iyer offers olive oils and fruit-forward vinegars all hailing from a family-run farm in California, and everything here would make a special food gift. But if you’re thinking Father’s Day, check out this gift box that includes lemon olive oil in that stunning reusable cruet, plus heirloom sea salt and two cedar planks.
There are recipes on the site, if you’re ready to try your hand at planking.
(If you ever get the chance, ask my fisherman stepfather sometime about planking shad for events up and down the Hudson Valley.)
Related: The ultimate guide to 16 gourmet gift boxes for every kind of dad | Father’s Day Gift Guide
Daojin Geometric Mug | $40, Wing on Wo & Co.
This handcrafted mug hails from Chinatown’s oldest shop, which had been around nearly 100 years in New York before they had to close during the Pandemic. They’re still closed but hooray, they ship! They have all kinds of cool authentic mugs, tea pots, bowls, and more, but I kind of love this gorgeous mug, especially in white. Pair with a favorite coffee or tea for an even more thoughtful gift.