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Features Packaged Food Products

AAPI-Owned Food Brands You Should Support This Month and Beyond

This month is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to honor and highlight the contributions and achievements of the AAPI community. Here in America, there are many AAPI-owned food and beverage businesses which help to make our country the diverse melting hotpot it is. We have the awesome pleasure of trying many up-and-coming AAPI brands, so we felt it was only right to recommend some in honor of the heritage month.  

Photo: isetta

SANZO

Founder: Sandro Roco

Sanzo is a burgeoning sparkling-water brand that specializes in distinct flavors which originate from places all over Asia. The taste is super crisp and the experience is refreshing for those looking for something besides the run of the mill lemon flavor.

Photo: Instagram

OMNI FOODS

Founder: David Yeung

China-based Omni Foods has been making a lot of noise on the plant-based protein scene. They specialize in seafood alternatives that are so good, you may have a hard time distinguishing them from the real thing. Also, their Spam-alternative is to die for.

Photo: Omsom.com

OMSOM 

Founder: Vanessa & Kim Pham

Omsom is a women-owned brand that champions bold Asian flavors. In order to accomplish that feat, they’ve created a selection of bold, zesty and authentic Asian sauces that are ready-made to kick up your meal. They also have options available for vegans and gluten-free folks.

Photo: FlyByJing.com

FLY BY JING

Founder: Jing Gao

Another woman-owned brand, Fly By Jing has been spicing things up in recent years. Their uber popular, authentic sauce selection includes Sichuan & Zhong options, sure to rev your next bite into a fiery gear. You can find Fly By Jing in wide availability nationwide.

Photo: Facebook

XCJ

Founder: Jen Liao

Thousands of dumplings were consumed to create the perfect recipe for up and comer XCJ. Their delicious dumplings come in packs of 50, sure to feed an entire family or one hungry dumpling lover. Made fresh every morning, these dumplings can be delivered right to your front door.  

Photo: NOODIE

NOODIE

Founder: Isabel Khoo

This plant-based instant ramen brand was founded by a Harvard alumni who was inspired by her college days. NOODIE is the kinda ramen you love without the heavy sodium and features real whole vegetables like kale, bok choy and broccoli. 

Photo: BrooklynDelhi.com

BROOKLYN DELHI 

Founder: Chitra Agrawal

This cleverly titled Indian condiment and sauce brand will jumpstart your palate. Brooklyn Delhi uses plant-based ingredients to create an array of rich and aromatic flavors for use in a wide range of applications. From classics like Tikka Masala to interesting mash-ups like Curry Ketchup, Brooklyn Delhi is sure to satisfy fans of bold flavors.

Photo: Instagram

CALI DUMPLING CO

Founders: Candace & Allan Tea

These hand-folded dumplings were inspired by the ones many Asian families grew up eating. They come in a variety of flavors like Pork and Chive and also meatless ones like Mushroom. The best part is that they can be delivered right to your doorstep if you’re in the SoCal area.

Photo: NonaLim.com

NONA LIM

Founder: Nona Lim

Inspired by childhood memories of Asian street food, Nona Lim makes small-batch noodles, broths and sauces adapted to a healthy modern lifestyle. Spicy Chicken Ramen broth and Pad Thai Stir Fry are some of Nona Lim’s tasty offerings. They can be prepared in minutes and slurped in an instant.

Photo: Bokksu.com

BOKKSU

Founder: Danny Taing

Get authentic Japanese snacks, teas and candies from small family-owned businesses delivered to your front door monthly. Each box contains a dynamic selection that lets you experience Japanese culture from your home. It’s simple — subscribe, receive and experience.

Photo: RedBoatSauce.com

RED BOAT FISH SAUCE

Founder: Cuong Pham

Dubbed the purest fish sauce on earth, Red Boat Fish Sauce only uses two ingredients, black anchovies and salt. Ex-Apple engineer Cuong Pham returned to his motherland of Vietnam to source the centuries-old fermentation tradition used to make Red Boat Fish Sauce. Intensely fragrant, with no flavor enhancers, this fish sauce is definitely the real deal.

Photo: CopperCowCoffee.com

COPPER COW COFFEE

Founder: Debbie Wei Mullin

Get your instant-caffeine boost from this premium Vietnamese coffee company. Copper Cow Coffee is a women-owned brand that uses sustainably grown coffee beans fresh from Vietnam. Their selections come in packets and include a range of flavors like Salted Caramel, Churro and even Lavender. In addition to coffee, they also sell teas and creamers.

Photo: Facebook

MISFITS MARKET

Founder: Abhi Ramesh

This ingenious grocery delivery service was created with the goal of preventing food waste by recycling leftovers. Misfits Market works with farmers and food producers to rescue organic produce and other grocery items that’s typically tossed aside. The result is fresh produce and items up to 40% off delivered to your door in 2-3 days.

While these brands scratch the surface of great AAPI-owned food companies here in the States, they’re a great entry point. Be sure liven up your kitchen this AAPI Heritage Month and beyond by supporting one of the brands above.

Categories
Drinks Entrepreneurship Features Packaged Food

Sanzo Sparkling Water is Bubbling with Authentic Asian Flavors

Photos: Garnish Studios

Sanzo is a new sparkling water company offering a unique flavor experience. It was launched in 2019 by Filipino-American Sandro Roco, who had a desire to share the Asian flavors he enjoyed as a child. He also wanted to offer a natural alternative to most sparkling beverages, which are often sugary and filled with artificial flavors. 

Although Asians make up 60% of the global population, these flavors are hard to find at your average grocery store in the US. Noticing a gap, Roco felt Sanzo could be a great bridge between our western palates and what Asia has to offer. Before he launched the brand he recalled his initial thoughts about the representation of Asian flavors:

“I [also] wondered about this when I started. I thought that surely, someone else had to be doing it. When it became clear that no one was — or at least at a level or with a brand voice that I thought was powerful enough — that was one of my first inspirations to really go after the market with Sanzo. As to the why, this one is a bit uncomfortable for me to address, but I do think a lot of it has to do with access to capital and certain networks for minority founders in an industry that is thankfully becoming more diverse, but still has room for growth.”

Sanzo is made using actual fruit and contains zero added sugar, artificial or natural flavors. In other words, when you look at the ingredients, you can pronounce each one. Adding to a clean and crisp experience, you also get the distinct taste of authentic Asian fruits.

What’s really cool is that each fruit offering represents a different Asian country: Calamansi Lime is native to the Philippines, Alphonso Mango, native to India, Lychee comes from Southeast Asia, and their latest flavor, Yuzu Ginger, is Japan’s favorite citrus.

Although less than three years old, Sanzo has managed to secure shelf space in 2000+ retailers, with Whole Foods being their latest. The bold flavor and natural ingredients recently awarded them an investment of 10 million in their Series A financing round. Like sparkling water, it’s clear that Sanzo is poised to quench thirsts and expand many palates in the coming years.

Recently, Sanzo released a limited edition Lychee can to celebrate the new Disney and Pixar film “Turning Red,” which follows the story of a young Asian girl that turns into a giant red panda. The partnership continues Sanzo’s goal of highlighting the stories of Asian leads in pop culture.

To experience this new world of flavor, you can locate Sanzo at your local retailer here.