Celebrate Asian Pacifican American Heritage Month this May by shopping from these socially-conscious Asian-American small businesses. These brands all ship nationally, so you can enjoy no matter where you live.
Brooklyn-based Korean specialty goods purveyor Kim'C Market imports specialty Korean food and drinks like milled-to-order rice, fresh-pressed tangerine juice, and seaweed hand-foraged by the haenyeo — a group of free-driving "sea women" from the famous Jeju Island. Korean-born immigrant and entrepreneur Ryan Kim founded Kim'C Market in 2019 after realizing that many of the larger Asian markets here lacked options for higher quality Korean products. Kim visited farmers and artisan producers in Korea to curate his emporium of all-natural Korean fine goods, heritage sauces and beloved snacks. From gochujang to cold-pressed sesame oil, these ingredients can really be used for any type of cuisine, Korean and beyond.
Chocolatier Susanna Yoon's brightly colored bonbons are perfectly tempered, with a smooth, glossy shell and the intricately layered ganaches, caramels and pralines within live up to the pretty exterior. Before she opened her petite chocolate boutique in Nolita in 2015, Yoon was the chocolatier at Per Se, presenting an array of two dozen different chocolates to guests to conclude an indulgent tasting menu experience. Her precision, creativity and attention to detail are unmatched. These chocolate gems, along with caramels and confections can be found in her tiny Nolita boutique and shipped around the country. Yoon has been a vocal advocate for Asian American rights and recently partnered with 18 other Asian American women pastry chefs on a recent charitable collaboration baker's box with proceeds supporting Apex for Youth.
Vietnamese coffee roaster Omni Bev is a one-stop shop for all-things Vietnamese coffee, including premium Highland Arabica and Robusta sourced direct from founder and refugee Tammy Huynh's family-owned farms in Da Lat, Vietnam. In addition to launching the first-ever bottled Vietnamese cold brew back in 2019, the San Jose, California-based company recently debuted their sleek, modernized version of the traditional slow-drip brewing tool, or phin filter as well as the standout trio of single-origin highland beans: the 100% micro-lot Arabica, the 100% Robusta, and the Omni Signature Blend. Omni Bev is an inaugural partner of the International Women's Coffee Alliance in Vietnam. Of the coffee laborers in Vietnam, 70% are women, many single women. As a single mom herself, this cause resonated with Huynh. Every purchase of Omni’s Vietnamese iced coffee, the Good Morning Saigon, contributes to the IWCA. All of Omni's coffee is sustainable and certified fair-trade.
Hannah Bae makes some of the best ice cream in New York, specializing in Korean flavors like golden and black sesame, taro, turmeric honeycomb, makgeolli and dalgona coffee. Noona means "big sister" in the Korean language and Bae is a noona and pasatry chef dedicated to representing the AAPI community in the ice cream aisle and amplifying underrepresented voices. Toasted rice is her best-selling ice cream, inspired by her favorite childhood snack of caramelized crunchy rice – noo-roong-ji. Bae even toasts then grinds her own sesame seeds rather than using a paste for maximum flavor and aroma. She doesn't have a brick-and-mortar storefront but you can order pints of Noona's Ice Cream shipped nationally. New flavors like pandan with palm sugar coconut crunch and new items like ice cream sandwiches are set to launch this summer.
Co-founders Lisa Carson and Connie Wang founded Occo to help home cooks expand their palates and try adventurous new recipes with pre-measured micro portions of high-quality spices, sealed in airtight “forever fresh” spice pods. Like Nespresso pods for spices, Occo offers just the right amount of spice needed, down to the half-teaspoon, so you can cook with fresh, ethically sourced spice at a better price. To kick off their launch, Occo teamed up with an all-star roster of award-winning chefs, including Nina Compton, Asha Gomez, Gregory Gourdet, Deuki Hong, Mei Lin and Adriana Urbina, to bring consumers a diverse collection of home cook-friendly recipes for all skill levels, with seasoning cards that contain the exact amount of spice needed to make one dish, one time with less waste.
Vesta Chocolate makes small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate in Montclair, New Jersey, along with beautiful bonbons, baked goods and spreads. Most of their treats also happen to be vegan, made with just cacao and sugar. Husband-and-wife team Roger Rodriguez and Julia Choi-Rodriguez hail from the Dominican Republic (where they source cacao directly from farmers) and South Korea. Choi-Rodriguez also happens to be a celebrated food stylist of Baby One More Bite, working with clients including Starbucks, Guinness, KRAFT, Food Network.
Tony Nguyen, the talented chef behind Beverly Hills hotspots Crustacean and Da Lat Rose, launched his own hot sauce during the pandemic. With Drip, Nguyen combines his love of Southeast Asian and Italian cuisine, combining Calabrian chili peppers and Asian peppers tempered with raw honey and a touch of garlic for a punch of heat that's great on everything from pasta and soft scrambled eggs to fried rice, or as a dipping sauce for potstickers.
Founded by husband-wife team, Hannah Bae of Noona's Ice Cream and Scott Bridi of Brooklyn Cured, Gilbert & Bernard is a line of pâté and specialty foods inspired by their family travels. The couple celebrated many special occasions with pâté and charcuterie and are so excited to share their love of pâté with the world. Expect flavors like Wild Mushroom, Pink Peppercorn and Black Truffle Mousse.