"I adore kombucha and believe that this brand is far and away the most flavorful on the market."
"This company’s beautifully designed cutting boards are made from recycled plastic."
"The olive oil livens up basically anything you put it on."
"This is the perfect way to get all of the Japanese pantry staples, wherever you may be."
"This sauce is the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, citrusy, spicy, and bright."
"I love how transparent it is about sourcing its spices and when it harvests everything."
"My go-to when I don’t have the time or energy to make my own ramen."
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the U.S. That means an opportunity to commemorate the diversity found in the AAPI community—and how it's enriched our foods and continues to do so. It's a great reminder that this month—and any month—is a good time to shop from AAPI-led businesses to celebrate these culinary contributions.
Luckily, there’s an easy way for us to step up, show support, and raise awareness. If you’re looking for a new olive oil to liven up your salads, traditional Japanese staples to add to your pantry, or a customized gift box of clean Indian spices, 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 adore kombucha and believe (after numerous taste tests) that this brand is far and away the most flavorful on the market. Its Ginger Lemon is always in my fridge, and its Mint Limeade flavor is quickly becoming a new favorite.
“Health-Ade has also launched a line of kombucha mixers, designed specifically to be added to your favorite tequila or gin for a kombucha-based happy hour treat.” — Kristin Stangl, Editor
Curious to try Health-Ade as a mixer? Try our Tequila Kombucha Mule cocktail recipe, which calls for the brand's Ginger flavor to replace the ginger beer found in a traditional Moscow Mule.
Price at time of publish: $4
We had Material, a direct-to-consumer brand headed up by Eunice Byun and David Nguyen, on our last list of the best AAPI kitchen brands for the reBoard, its 100 percent upcycled cutting board that comes in six gorgeous colors—and that our tester loved for its sustainability, versatile size, durability, and ease of cleaning. (The mini version of the reBoard is now available.)
This time, we're adding the company's 10.5-inch frying pan to our roundup. I received a free sample of The Coated Pan in Mineral, a beautiful, deep green color (it also comes in a sandy color called Dune). With its five-play copper core and aluminum and stainless steel exterior, the pan promises a truly nonstick surface and quick and even heating. While I've only used the pan for a few weeks, it hasn't disappointed me on those two points: My fried discs of polenta turned out beautifully golden brown and easily slid onto my plate, and my tofu scramble was evenly cooked. I don't have a dishwasher (though this is safe for that), so thankfully hand-washing it is a breeze.
Material Kitchen’s kitchenware and cookware are also available in sets.
Price at time of publish: $95
“I could rave about every single product that Brightland puts out. Its olive oil livens up basically anything you put it on, its honey is the best thing to happen to my afternoon tea, and the vinegar is highly drinkable (or if you’re a normal person, great for salads).
“And the kitchen candle! It’s perfect for nights after dinner with friends, long days, or just because.” — Ariel Knutson, Associate Editorial Director
Brightland, founded by Aishwarya Iyer, makes its extra virgin and infused olive oils from heirloom olives grown on California-run family farms and packages them in UV-protected glass bottles to help keep the oil stay fresh.
Price at time of publish: $74
Kysha Harris, our food editor, first heard of Bokksu from its popular Japanese snack subscription box service, curated through the company's partnerships with Japanese brands. "Every month, a new box of unique sweet and savory snacks from small makers arrives at your doorstep," she explains. This time, Kysha and I tried free samples of various grocery items from places like Indonesia and the Philippines using its new "shop by country" feature.
"It's a great way to try a variety of different snacks, teas, and candies and find new favorites. A 12-month subscription is only $39.95 a month, and you get 20 to 24 items per box. It's a great deal," — Ariel Knutson, Associate Editorial Director
"Bokksu Grocery takes it one step further with shelf-stable pantry items for cooking and baking, sauces and condiments, rice and noodles, and instant meals, too. This is the perfect way to get all of the Japanese pantry staples, wherever you may be." — Kysha Harris, Editor
Price at time of publish: $40
"Maya Kaimal’s Green Chili Sauce, made with coconut, ginger, and serrano chilis, is my everything sauce. I use it to perk up my lunchtime rice bowls, apply it heavily to my egg scrambles, and swirl it into hearty soups for dinner. I’ve even been known to apply it directly to tortilla chips, salsa style.
This sauce is the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, citrusy, spicy, and bright, and it perks up the whole dish. My condiment shelf wouldn’t be the same without it." — Emma Christensen, Associate General Manager for The Spruce Eats
In addition to Maya Kaimal's green and red chili sauces, you can try other Indian sauces like the spicy ketchup (inspired by the sweet and spicy condiment served in India), or even packaged lentil and chickpea dishes.
Price at time of publish: $15
“I was first introduced to Diaspora through its Pragati Turmeric, and was immediately hooked. Everything it sells is of the highest quality, and I love how transparent the company is about sourcing its spices and when it harvests everything.
Outside of the turmeric, I’m particularly fond of the Guntur Sannam Chillies and the Baraka Cardamom pods—it’s the secret to the best cardamom buns ever.” — Ariel Knutson, Associate Editorial Director
If you're a spice fiend and can't stop at one, or maybe want to gift a customized box of these single-origin spices to a loved one, you can also build your own pack on Diaspora's site. Choose from various types of saffron, cardamom, chillies, and more.
Price at time of publish: $65 for Set of 6
"Nona Lim’s ramen broths are my go-to when I don’t have the time or energy to make my own. Paired with a packet of their bouncy, fresh noodles, I have a bowl of 'instant' ramen that’s to die for.
I’ve also met the folks behind the brand, and they are so loving and dedicated to creating a delicious, high-quality product." — Emma Christensen, Associate General Manager for The Spruce Eats
The Nona Lim brand was founded by its namesake, who grew up in Singapore, a "melting pot of Asian cultures" whose street foods and vendors inspired the company's small-batch noodles, broths, and sauces. Highlights include its Stir-Fry Noodle Kits and Heat and Sip Cups.
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 Bokksu's subscription snack box and online grocery store make the list—it was thanks to the latter's nifty "search by country" feature that she reunited with Lucky Me Pancit Canton Instant Noodles, one of her favorite childhood Filipino meals.