May might just be my favorite month of the year, because along with my birthday, and Mother’s Day, it’s AAPI Month, or Asian American Pacific Islander month, which gives me, a biracial Chinese American a chance to talk a little more about my heritage. And with everything that has happened to the AAPI community since the start of COVID, it’s more important than ever to spread awareness and facts about Asian culture.
One amazing way many people have already been exposed to Asian culture (in one way or another) is through our delicious food. So what better way to celebrate AAPI month than through our stomachs, with these 14 AAPI-owned food companies, most of which I didn’t even know about, until now.
Updated for 2023
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1. These Asian-American snacks from Dang Foods, which was founded by two Thai-American brothers, are made from plant-based whole foods, nothing artificial whatsoever, based on an original recipe from their mom.
2. Diaspora Co. founder Sana Javeri Kadri sources 30 single-origin spices from 150 farms across India and Sri Lanka. We can practically smell them through the screen. Amazing!
3. Stock up on these Brooklyn-made pantry staples from Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen featuring 100% authentic Malaysian flavors.
4. The Chinese sauces, dumplings, spices, and more (which are available by subscription, too) at Fly By Jing are made in Sichuan Province, but as owner Jing Gao says, “are living in America, like me.”
5. Sanzo founder Founder Sandro Roco, a Queens-born Filipino American, created his tasty beverages as a way to celebrate high-quality Asian flavors that for decades have been masked by added sugars. He had me at “lychee” and the pretty cans!
6. Founded in Hawaii by Hidehito & Keiko Uki, Sunnoodle offers the tastiest, freshest ramen noodles, delivered right to your door.
7. If you’ve ever had Vietnamese coffee then you’re going to be so glad to know about Copper Cow Coffee, the brainchild of Debbie Wei Mullin. You may recognize them from Shark Tank!
8. Vanessa and Kim Pham of OmSom offer fabulous, authentic Southeast Asian and East Asian bundle packs that combine sauces, spices, and aromatics to make the recipes they provide.
9. The amazing tea from Us Two Tea includes flavored like oolong, jasmine and baozhong teas, all sourced from three small family farms in Taiwan then shipped right to your tea kettle with love.
10. You’ve probably never seen (or tasted) olive oil quite like bottles of olive oil from Brightland. They are top-rated by every food editor everywhere for good reason!
11. Spicewalla spices are super-fresh, made in small batches, and packed and processed by hand, from James Beard award-winning chef Meherwan Irani.
12. Chief Chai Officer Farah Jesani shares her love of chai at One Stripe Chai, where you can find the best chai concentrates and blends. (and that long-handled chai spoon makes a wonderful gift to go with the teas!)
13. Ice cream featuring South Asian spices? We all scream for Malai! Yum.You can even have ice cream flavors like Turkish Coffee, Mango & Cream, and Rose with Cinnamon and Roasted Almond delivered right from Whole Foods via Amazon.
14. If you drink, you definitely want to add a bottle of Kasama to your bar, a 7-year old small-batch rum from the Philippines that also makes a lovely gift supporting an AAPI company.