May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and as the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., per an April 2021 Pew Research Institute report, it's no surprise that the food is as diverse as its people.
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We're taking this month (and every month) to center on the vibrant foods and flavors from Asia and the Pacific Islands — and to honor the hard work, bravery and resilience of the AAPI community.
Despite the recent wave of anti-Asian hate crimes and violence, the AAPI community has shown that they aren't going anywhere. In a community, where its people have felt the strong tug of dual identities, these Asian American and Pacific Islander-founded food and beverage brands are a symbol of our deeply rooted connection to both cultures.
- Spicy Bulgogi: 70 calories, 2 grams fat ( 0 grams saturated fat), 510 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates (1 gram fiber, 9 grams sugar, 8 grams added sugar), 2 grams protein
- Sisig: 10 calories, 0 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 2 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein
If you crave the combo of sour and spice in Filipino sisig (pork dish) or the sweet yet spicy taste of Korean bulgogi (barbecue beef), you'll want to stock your pantry with bundles of Omsom's starter blend of Asian spices, seasonings and sauces.
These flavor packs give you a taste of comforting home-cooked meals with seasonings from Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines) and East Asia (Japan, Korea and China) without having to look for not-easily-accessible ingredients. FYI, there are also vegan and gluten-free sets, too.
All you have to do is open the package and pour it over your dish while cooking. You can use them to make everything from fried rice to noodle dishes and protein and veggie mains.
2. Nguyen Coffee Supply
Start your day with a warm cup of joe that'll immediately transport you to Vietnam, where these coffee beans are grown. Founded by Sahra Nguyen, a first-generation Vietnamese American, Nguyen Coffee Supply works directly with Vietnamese farmers and roasts their beans in Brooklyn, New York.
The dark roast trio includes the Saigon, which is named after the bustling city and features salted cacao, blackberry and hazelnut flavors. Hanoi is a bold dark roast made of single-origin robusta coffee beans, reflecting the heart of the capital city. For fruitier notes, try the Dalat, made of 100 percent arabica coffee beans with jasmine, ganache and strawberry notes.
Their best-selling blend, Loyalty, has a combo of arabica and robusta coffee beans, which lend a sweet and nutty flavor. But if you're in need of some extra-strength coffee, Truegrit, is their strongest bean.
3. Rae's Roots
The early days of postpartum are some of the most pivotal times in any new mom's journey. Founder Joanna Linton knows firsthand when she became a mom to a toddler and newborn. Like most moms, she found it challenging to take care of herself, and it affected her mental and physical health.
To help her prioritize self-care, Linton turned to her Chinese roots and began using adaptogens, which inspired her to create an entire line of pregnancy and postpartum teas.
For example, the Milk Flow lactation tea includes fenugreek, fennel and stinging nettle, which claims to support milk supply. Moms-to-be will like the red raspberry leaf and ginger tea blend to help soothe nausea and support your health in preparation for labor. And if you need a minute to relax and unwind, try the Rest Easy tea, which has chamomile, tulsi and rosehip.
Delivering nutritious, pre-made meals and juices for folks based in northern and southern California, Methodology makes it convenient and easy to eat healthy during hectic workweeks.
What sets Methodology apart from other subscription food delivery programs is that you can filter by cuisine, including Asian, American, European and Latin/Spanish. In addition, you can choose meals based on your dietary preferences, such as vegetarian and paleo, and choose different portion sizes, whether you're looking to feed just yourself or the whole family.
There's also an option to mix and match different prepared proteins, vegetables, fermented veggies, soups, pastas and sauces. On the menu, which changes weekly, you'll find mouthwatering dishes like Paprika Roast Chicken, Sweet Potato Noodles With Almond Butter Hoisin, Pink Basmati Lime Rice and Blackberry Marionberry Overnight Oat Parfait.
Methodology ($17.99 and up)
Calamansi: 0 calories, 0 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 0 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein
Filipino founder Sandro Roco created Sanzo because he couldn't find healthier (read: less sugary) beverages that featured traditional Asian fruits.
Sanzo's sparkling waters are infused with natural fruit juice and come in flavors, like mango, lychee, calamansi (Philippine lime with hints of tangerine) and yuzu (Japanese lemony citrus fruit) with ginger.
Unlike other flavored sparkling waters and seltzers on the market, Sanzo doesn't complicate their drinks with artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or added sugar. You simply get sparkling water with a hint of natural sweetness and flavor from real Asian fruits.
Enjoy them as is or mixed into cocktails and mocktails for a refreshing drink.
Want to make a delicious Asian dish at home but don't know where to shop for ingredients? Umamicart makes it infinitely easy to get your hands on a plethora of Asian ingredients, including sauces and condiments to snacks, candies and beverages.
From wonton wrappers, pad Thai noodles and fish balls to ube (Filipino purple yam) jam, oyster sauce and doubanjiang (fermented chili bean paste), it's your one-stop-shop for all of your cooking needs.
You can also find vegetables commonly found in Asian dishes, such as bok choy, snow pea shoots and watercress, and a variety of fish and meats, like duck, pork belly and sashimi-grade Atlantic salmon.
Founded by Aishwarya Iyer, Brightland takes your average bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar to the next level with olives and grapes sourced from California-based farms.
Their extra-virgin olive oil collection includes a range of products to elevate your dishes with bright, delicious flavors. For example, one of their best-selling oils is Awake, a bold-tasting, peppery extra-virgin olive oil made for roasting, sauteing and making soups.
To add a bit of heat to your dishes, try Ardor, a chili-infused olive oil that includes a blend of red chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, chipotle peppers and paprika. For a more delicate savory touch, consider Rosette, a garlic-infused olive oil, or Arise, a basil-infused olive oil — perfect for salad dressings and bread dipping.
If you're looking for high-quality fruity vinegar, Brightland offers two double-fermented versions: Parasol is made of chardonnay grapes and navel and Valencia oranges, while Rapture features zinfandel grapes and blackberries.
Then, there are two raw, unfiltered honey packaged as a pair. The California Orange Blossom honey has a bold floral flavor and a citrus finish, which sounds lovely drizzled on top of warm toast with ricotta. The Kauai Wildflower Honey features Hawaiian-sourced ingredients, like hibiscus, eucalyptus and guava flowers, to give you tropical sweetness in your cup of tea.
8. Fly By Jing
Sichuan chili crisp sauce (per 1-tablespoon serving): 105 calories, 10 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 240 milligrams sodium, 0 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar), 0 grams protein
Paying tribute to her hometown of Chengdu in China, Jing Gao created the ultimate Sichuan chili crisp. Made with Erjingtiao chiles and Gongjiao pepper (Sichuan peppercorn), this spicy and crispy sauce will make any dish bolder and more delicious. Add it to freshly steamed bao, lo mein and even your cocktails.
In addition to its signature Sichuan chili sauce, Fly by Jing also offers chili oils and Zhong sauce, which is inspired by the popular Chengdu street snack Zhong dumplings, and has a blend of sweet, spicy and umami flavors. There's also the Mala spice mix, which is an intense blend of classic Sichuan spices and herbs, and it goes on great as a rub.
9. Copper Cow Coffee
Inspired by Vietnamese-style coffees and lattes, Copper Cow Coffee makes individual pour-over coffee packets. All you have to do is open the packet, which also serves as a filter, let it hang over your cup and pour boiling water over it. The result is an incredibly smooth and delicious cup of coffee. Enjoy it black or add a splash of your favorite creamer or milk.
There are six different flavors, including Vanilla, Coffee, Salted Caramel and Lavender, and each box comes with eight filters. Copper Cow Coffee also makes latte bundles, which come with five pour-over filters and five flavored creamers. Raspberry Mocha, Churro Latte, Lavender Latte and Vanilla Latte are just some of the luscious flavors they offer.
Tea lovers, there's something for you, too. Choose from three different tea drops (which come with flavoring and creamers): Thai Iced Tea, Chai Tea Latte and Matcha Tea Latte.
10. Pan's Mushroom Jerky
Original (per 3-tablespoon serving): 110 calories, 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 190 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates (6 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 5 grams added sugar), 1 gram protein
It all began when Michael Pan went to Malaysia to visit his family, where he discovered the family recipe for mushroom jerky. After perfecting and reinventing his family's recipe, Pan launched his jerky in four flavors.
Vegan, kosher, gluten-free and organic, Mushroom Jerky makes a great snack for a variety of dietary preferences. Plus, it has fiber and some healthy fats because it's made with avocado oil and chia seeds.
Today, there are six different shiitake mushroom jerky flavors, including the Original — a sweet and umami flavor — zesty Thai, Applewood Barbecue, Salt and Pepper, Teriyaki and Curry.
11. Masala Mama
Tikka Masala (per 2.5-ounce serving): 110 calories, 8 grams fat (4.5 grams saturated fat), 330 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrates (1 gram fiber, 4 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 2 grams protein
When founder Nidhi Jalan, who was born and raised in Calcutta, India, moved to New York City to study for a fine arts degree, she longed for the dishes she grew up eating. Despite there being plenty of Indian takeout options, Jalan enjoyed Indian cuisine the most when it was homecooked and eaten with friends and family.
So she sought to create authentic Indian sauces that incorporated the traditional spices and ingredients that reminded her of home. After much research and recipe testing, she launched Masala Mama's pre-made sauces, which include Tikka Masala, Vindaloo and Coconut Curry, make it easy to prepare classic Indian dishes at home
The Tikka Masala is a tomato-based sauce made with yogurt and ginger, garlic, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. To bring on the heat, vindaloo combines vinegar with garlic and fragrant spices. And the classic Coconut Curry pairs well with chicken, seafood and tofu.
There are also vegan and milder versions of the sauces available.
12. Just Date
Per 1 tablespoon: 60 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein
If you're looking for an alternative to refined sugar in your recipes, Just Date's sugar, syrup and molasses will naturally sweeten your dishes without spiking your blood sugar as much as cane sugar or even maple syrup and honey.
Made from real California Medjool dates, they also impart some important nutrients, like potassium, zinc and iron.
You can drizzle it on top of your morning oats or toast, use it to prepare salad dressings or naturally sweeten sauces and baked goods.
With award-winning restaurants, best-selling cookbooks and a Netflix documentary food series, there's no stopping chef David Chang. Now, Chang has created a line of restaurant-grade ingredients, like seasoned salts, rice vinegar, noodles and chili crunch, to make it even easier to prepare a Momofuku dish at home.
For example, the spicy chili crunch comes in Original, Black Truffle and Extra Spicy, which is made with habanero peppers. The seasoned salts feature Savory (salt, garlic, kelp and mushroom powder), Spicy (gochugaru, cayenne pepper and dried chilies) and Tingly (Sichuan peppercorns and citrus) finishes to enhance popcorn, vegetables, fish and meat.
And let's not forget the flavored noodles. You can have a steaming bowl of delicious Momofuku noodles in mere minutes with these pre-packaged strands. Try them in three different flavors: Soy and Scallion, Spicy Soy and Tingly Chili (Sichuan spices with chili paste and sesame oil).
Snack lovers who are a fan of Japanese sweets and savory treats will love Bokksu's monthly boxes, which come with 22 different snacks, candies and teas. From edamame and seaweed tempura to yuzu candy and red bean crackers, each box has its own theme so you get to try something new every month.
If you've become a big fan of a certain snack, Bokksu has an online market, where you can buy some of the individual snacks, candies and teas featured in a previous box.
15. Yóu Yóu
Per 1-tablespoon serving: 120 calories, 14 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 0 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein
Yóu Yóu brings tea seed oil stateside, which has been used in Chinese cooking for centuries. Vegan and nut-free, tea seed oil is made from camellia seeds and has a neutral flavor and high smoke point, making it great for stir-frying and other high-heat cooking techniques.
Yóu Yóu ($39.99)