I'm an Asian Shopping Writer, and These Are My Favorite AAPI-Owned Food Brands
Being from a place that is celebrated and known for its culinary traditions, I intrinsically link my Taiwanese identity to the concept of food. Sights, smells, tastes, and the texture of beef noodle soups, lu rou fan, pineapple cakes, oyster vermicelli noodles, and aiyu jelly rush to the forefront of my mind when I'm homesick, when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm simply existing. It's an innate part of me, as closely held to my Taiwanese heart as the way my mother expresses her care for me by asking "Have you eaten?" every time I step through the Taoyuan airport security checkpoint after a long time away from home.
I'm sure I'm not alone: The Asian diaspora is so closely tied and revered for its food that it's impossible not to think of lamb biryani, nasi lemak, oyako don, har gow, haemul pajeon, tahdig, boba, roast duck, bánh mì, and countless more iconic dishes every time Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is observed in May. The ubiquity and influence of Asian culture on the history of food in the United States can never be understated, and AAPI Heritage Month is the perfect time to spotlight the traditions, people, literature, and more that shape Asian American identity through this communal love for good food.
As a lifestyle shopping writer whose job is to learn about and highlight products and brands, I've been fortunate enough to interact with many fantastic Asian-owned food, drink, and kitchen brands over the years. They're the first I think of when I need a new jar of honey, a few bags of snacks for when friends swing by, and cans of refreshing spritzers for hot, humid days. Some of them work with organizations like Stop AAPI Hate, Welcome to Chinatown, and Heart of Dinner that champion and serve our community—efforts that are more pressing than ever with the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes by 339% in the United States and discrimination as a result of xenophobia flamed during the coronavirus pandemic.
AAPI Heritage Month might seem like the perfect time to support these Asian-owned food, home decor, and kitchen brands, but it will be even better to shop them year-round like I do. They're more than worth your attention for kitchen staples and more. You'll find Food & Wine editor favorites like Fly By Jing, Material Kitchen, Our Place, and a few fresh brands such as Dear Bella Creamery and Bowlcut.
Keep reading below for the 17 food brands that are worth shopping year-round per this lifestyle writer, arranged in alphabetical order.