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"Amp up your meals with creamy organic paneer that’s available in three tasty flavors."
"This company’s beautifully designed cutting boards are made from recycled plastic."
"Founder Lauryn Chun was inspired by her mother’s original kimchi recipe."
"These condiments will be a game-changer and will spice up your routine."
"This company specializes in Vietnamese coffee, which is low in acid but rich in body."
"These Indian sauces likely taste better and are more affordable than your local takeout."
"It’s not just an apron—the Belton tool belt is practical, versatile, and stylish."
"Light up your kitchen with these cute veggie-themed tea towels, which are also eco-friendly."
"Find Asian snacks and staples like shrimp crackers and dried seaweed at this one-stop-shop."
"All of the dishes are beyond mouth-watering—especially the beef pho."
May doesn’t just mean that summer is around the corner—it’s also the month officially designated by the U.S. as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It's a commemoration of how much the AAPI community has enriched our society and culture, including our food, and how much it continues to do so. It’s also a great reminder that this month—and any month—is a good time to shop Asian-owned businesses to celebrate their contributions.
This year, in particular, has highlighted how important it is to show support right now: AAPI businesses have been among the hardest hit financially as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, with many having to close. Luckily, there’s an easy way for us to step up, show support, and raise awareness. If you’re looking for new salad toppings to try, cute and eco-friendly tea towels, or tasty coffee that doesn’t give you the jitters, there’s likely an Asian-owned shop for that.
Here, our editors share the AAPI businesses they’re loving right now to give you some ideas.
“I found this organic paneer online and have not looked back. San Francisco-based Sach Foods, founded by husband-and-wife team Tarush and Jasleen Agarwal, is an entrepreneurial dream. They built their company with no investor capital—and are now available in over 500 stores across the country and online.
It’s thanks to an exceptional product in three flavors: original, turmeric twist, and spicy habanero. I made their saag paneer recipe using the turmeric twist and it did not disappoint. Next up: their beer-battered habanero paneer fries. The only thing I love more than food is the business of food, and Sach Foods is the whole package.” —Kysha Harris, Food Editor
A sampler six-pack of all three flavors is also available to buy online.
“These cutting boards are on my own wish list. The colors are gorgeous, but their beauty goes deeper than that. They are exactly the right size for most prep, the circular cutouts make them easy to move, and they are made from 75 percent recycled plastic and 25 percent sugarcane. This direct-to-consumer brand led by Eunice Byun and David Nguyen sells a tiny selection of essential and beautifully designed kitchen tools.” —Heather Ramsdell, Senior Editorial Director
Material Kitchen’s kitchenware and cookware are also available in sets.
“To say I am obsessed with this particular brand of kimchi is an understatement. I always have a jar of the House flavor in my fridge. It goes on my salads, gets tossed in my scrambled eggs, and, more often than that, just gets eaten directly from the jar. Founder Lauryn Chun was inspired to bring this Korean staple to supermarkets across the States and began production using a house recipe from her mother’s family restaurant. Their probiotic-filled, tangy cabbage kimchi is available to order online and in most grocery stores in the fridge aisle of the produce section.” —Kristin Stangl, Food Editor
In addition to its kimchi—which is also available in the flavors Muu Daikon Radish, Vegan Table-Cut Napa Cabbage, and White Napa Cabbage with Ginger—Mother-in-Law’s offers various flavors of gochujang.
Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen
“I learned of Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen through our collaboration with Riley/Land Collection, and I’m just sad it took me this long to discover Chef Auria Abraham’s plethora of jams, pastes, and flavor boosters. Eat the salted caramel kaya straight out of the jar or incorporate the lime leaf sambal into a marinade; there’s so much room for adventure and discovery. These Malaysian condiments will be a game-changer for your cooking and will spice up your routine.” —Lauryn Boden, Associate Food Editor
Food editor Kysha Harris is also a fan of Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen offerings, which the owner first started offering at fairs and pop-ups before opening up the restaurant in Brooklyn. In fact, when Harris first tasted the spicy and aromatic lime leaf sambal, she said it was “love at first bite.” She also recommends trying the coconut jam.
Nguyen Coffee Supply
“Nguyen Coffee Supply became a coffee go-to after I tried its Loyalty coffee bean, which produces a brew that is low on acid but rich in body. A cup supplies a bigger caffeine boost than you’ll find in other brands, yet it doesn’t give me the jitters. As you drink the beverage, you’ll detect undertones of almond and caramel. The company also sells an insulated coffee mug that is both elegant in its simplicity and utilitarian. The beans are roasted in Brooklyn, which provides me with the added benefit of supporting a local business.” —Richard Lally, Quality Team Projects Manager
Nguyen Coffee Supply was founded by first-generation Vietnamese-American Sahra Nguyen, whose mission is to showcase the unique flavor profiles of Vietnam's arabica and robusta coffee beans.
“I cannot overstate how highly delicious all four of these all-natural Indian simmer sauces by Masala Mama are. Founder Nidhi Jalan does not cut corners. These sauces taste better and are more affordable than my local takeout—and they are obviously easier. She is single-handedly responsible for reducing 10 percent of my weeknight dinner burnout. Here’s how: I open a jar, pour it into a pot with chickpeas or chicken thighs. Lick the lid. Nuke some string beans while it simmers, and serve with warmed flatbread.” —Heather Ramsdell, Senior Editorial Director
Jalan founded Masala Mama in Brooklyn with the goal of making authentic, homestyle Indian food accessible to all. Simmer sauce flavors include tikka masala, coconut curry, korma, and vindaloo.
Senior Editor Mary Kate Hoban received a free sample of the Benton Tool Belt from lifestyle brand Rendall, which was co-founded by Southeast Asian American Syama Meagher. Hoban loved the versatility and stylishness of this particular design, which comes in three colors.
"Unless I anticipate being covered in flour from head to toe, I don't like wearing a full apron—which is why I love Rendall Co.'s tool belt style option. In addition to being super cute, it offers two functions I really appreciate while cooking: a place to wipe my hands and a pocket to hold my phone. It's fun and practical to wear while entertaining, and can be useful while doing other crafts or projects around the house.” —Mary Kate Hoban, Senior Commerce Editor
The company also works with AAPI chefs and hospitality owners, in addition to organizations that serve vulnerable communities, by donating face masks for each face mask it sells.
The Ahlgren Collage
“I love adorable tea towels, and these are too cute! I particularly love the spring salad and watermelon radish designs, which are a perfect gift for practically any occasion. Not only are they cute, but they are eco-friendly and shipped in packaging made from recyclable, reusable, or compostable materials. Plus, 10 percent of all sales are donated to environmental and social justice charities. What is there not to love about this shop?” —Brooke Schuldt, Social Media Manager
The cheery vegetable-themed tea towels, designed and hand-sewn by Melissa Ahlgren, started out as watercolor paintings that the artist then digitally rendered on linen—imperfect brush strokes and all. There are also flower- and fish-themed designs.
“A staple grocery spot since my childhood, H Mart has been a go-to of mine for scents and tastes of my family's roots, especially when prepping for Lunar New Year or special occasions. I grew up snacking on Pocky Sticks, Shrimp Crackers, and Lotte Yogurt Jelly, so the aisles are also a source of nostalgia. As my taste buds have evolved, H Mart has become a one-stop destination for groceries, cookware, and beauty products that I can't find at mainstream stores. Some essentials are dried seaweed, jasmine rice, chili paste for curry dishes, and even tools like a bamboo sushi roller.” —Tori Zhou, Associate Commerce Editor
The Asian American supermarket chain, which started out in 1982 as one store in Queens, now has 97 locations all over the U.S. It not only specializes in both Asian and Western grocery and kitchen items but also boasts a wide variety of unique eateries inside its stores.
“Helen Nguyen’s magical beef pho is what dreams are made of—and I’m not being hyperbolic. I had the pleasure of attending The Institute of Culinary Education with Helen. At the time, she was a budding restaurateur; she had yet to open her brick-and-mortar establishment, Saigon Social, in the Lower East Side. Helen was raised in Seattle, with roots in California and Vietnam, and her background showed in the food she prepared after class and during her monthly pop-ups.
"It was all beyond mouth-watering—especially her beef pho. Thinly sliced, slow-braised brisket served in rich, warm bone broth and rice noodles, topped with a burst of flavor from red onion, scallions, and cilantro … it’s enough to make me seriously consider making the eight-hour trek from Raleigh to NYC just for a bowl. Since the pandemic began, Helen and her team have partnered with local nonprofits to feed frontline workers—an incredibly commendable feat.” —Victoria Heydt, Editorial Project Manager
Local to NYC and want to support this local restaurant? Heydt recommends ordering online for either pickup or delivery.
“Korin is where I go for knives. This place is in lower Manhattan, but it ships everywhere. It has a wonderful selection of knives, sharpeners, and steels to buy. Vincent Kazuhito Lau is the incredibly skilled knife sharpener at Korin. When I broke my treasured carbon steel knife on semi-frozen pork, he reshaped and saved it.” —Heather Ramsdell, Senior Editorial Director
Korin also offers kitchenware, tableware, sushi-making accessories, ramen cooking tools, and more—as well as knife services that include repair, reshaping, handle replacement, and left-hand conversion.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Fran Sales is an associate commerce editor for The Spruce Eats. She called on our editors to share the AAPI food and kitchen brands they’re loving right now to compile this list. Fran was thrilled to see that Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi (whose vegan kimchi rivals only Cleveland Kitchen’s Gnar Gnar kraut when topping all of her savory meals) made the cut.