May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and shed light on the vibrant role this community plays in America. We here at Sporked have compiled a list of some of our favorite AAPI-founded brands that you can find wherever you buy groceries. And don’t just shop Asian-American food companies in May! These brands deserve a spot in your shopping cart year-round.
If you know me, you know that I typically hate anything branded as “keto.” To me, these products always taste like chemicals and fake sugar. Wonder Monday, however, is changing my mind about keto foods. I tried their mini keto cheesecakes and didn’t even realize they weren’t chock full of sugar. The key lime is my personal favorite, but you will be happy with any of their delicious desserts. This Boston-based company sells their low-carb cheesecakes on their website, but we’re expecting to see them everywhere soon!
Power Up Foods founder Ilene Chen created PUF to fill her craving for snackable energy to help her get through the day. This line of vegan, gluten-free cookies and brownies is made with green tea to give you a boost of caffeine without the jitters or crash you get from coffee or classic energy drinks. Power Up Foods can currently be purchased on their website as well as in specialty grocery stores and Urban Outfitters.
First of all, Sanchi Foods bean and lentil crisps are one of my favorite new snacks I’ve tried in a long time. They are light, crisp, and flavorful. The company’s mission as a business is equally delicious! They spread awareness about historically significant cultural crops and hope to promote a diversification of crops that are not only delicious but good for the environment. You can buy the delicious crisps on their website.
Michelle Jimenez-Meggiato is a first-generation Filipino American entrepreneur who fell in love with a chef and that’s how The Pizza Cupcake was born. This couple turned their favorite homemade party snack into a full business. These delicious portable pizzas have been featured on Shark Tank, sold at Citi Field, and even hyped up by Mariah Carey. Now, you can buy them at Walmart and try them yourself! And you’ll want to try them. They’re delicious.
Brooklyn Delhi’s Curry Ketchup made our list of the best ketchup you can buy, but their delicious offerings don’t end there. They sell condiments and sauces “inspired by Indian culinary traditions and plant-based ingredients.” If you like their products, check out founder Chitra Agrawal’s cookbook, Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn.
If you’re a food-lover who’s been on the internet in the last year, you’ve probably heard of Fly By Jing, a brand that’s become known for its incredible spice mixes, sauces, and dumplings. Jing Gao founded Fly By Jing in 2018, “inspired by the amazing flavors of [her] hometown Chengdu and its famous ‘fly’ restaurants—soulful hole-in-the-wall eateries so good they attract diners like flies.” Former Mythical marketing coordinator Kelly Dang loves their “deliciously versatile chili crisp, which can be added to everything from veggies and noodles to ice cream.” She’s also “deeply inspired by Jing,” because Jing “[stays] true to her roots” and [refuses] to shrink herself in order to ‘fit in.’” We totally agree. It ranked at #2 in our best chili crisp ranking.
Former Mythical design intern Paula Kunateerachadalai swears by Thai brand Aroy-D’s products, particularly their young coconut juice with the pulp. After moving to America from Thailand when she was a child, her mom always used Aroy-D. Paula says their products feel “authentically Thai.”
gimme Seaweed is “on a mission to turn seaweed—the most delicious, nutritious, and environmentally-sustainable vegetable in the world—into an absolute snacking sensation.” Founded by Annie Chun, who was born and raised in Seoul, and her husband Steve Broad, has set out to make sustainable seaweed snacks mainstream in North America. While they come in a selection of flavors, we particularly loved the teriyaki and ranked it second in our best seaweed snacks taste test.
If you know kombucha, you probably know (and love) Health-Ade. We sure do. The brand’s Pink Lady Apple flavor topped our list of the best kombucha you can buy. Vanessa Dew is one of the three founders, and chief sales officer, of this wildly popular kombucha brand that strives to “[give] the world a healthier gut.” Sarah Demonteverde, Sporked contributing designer, swears by their Bubbly Rose variety. She likes that it “balances sweetness and the gut-punching bitterness and acidity” of a typical kombucha.
Brothers Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn grew up between New York City and Bangkok, and that inspired them to create Dang Foods. Named after their mother, the company offers a wide variety of flavors of coconut chips, rice chips, and snack bars. Their “uniquely Asian-American snacks” are plant-based, non-GMO, and gluten-free. Plus, their coconuts are “sourced from family farms in Thailand” and “[meet] rigorous standards of environmental performance and public transparency.”
Lauryn Chun launched Mother In Law’s in 2009. Since then, it has become one of the most recognizable names in kimchi. Lauryn started her company because she believes that kimchi “belongs in the ranks of fine fermented foods like wine, cheese and beer.” We certainly agree and we love Mother In Law’s! The brand makes some of the best store bought kimchi.
When Red Boat founder Cuong Pham moved to the U.S. from Saigon, he found himself missing Vietnam’s delicious fish sauce. Since he couldn’t find it here, he decided to make it. Red Boat’s fish sauce is made with “no additives, no preservatives, and no flavor enhancers” and you can taste the difference. Mythical Kitchen’s Lily Cousins loves Red Boat because it’s “really freakin’ good quality fish sauce” and is available “in most stores now and accessible to everyone.” She uses it “like [you would] use salt” and puts it in everything. She even admits she “drank it out of the bottle.”
Maya Kaimal, the founder of Maya Kaimal Foods, is a published cookbook author who developed a love of Indian food while making trips to India with her family as a child. Now, her simmer sauces, marinades, and packaged meals can be found at grocery stores all over the country. Try the jarred tikka masala or coconut korma the next time you don’t feel like waiting for takeout.