The United States boasts a diverse Asian population. Unfortunately, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian-American community has been subjected to targeted hate crimes and physical assaults. Asian businesses also struggle to stay afloat as many of them have been devastated by the crisis.
Besides a massive decrease in revenue, many Asian-American workers have been attacked and harassed. There are many ways to support the AAPI community, including speaking out, protesting, voting, and donating to Asian-American and social justice organizations. Another way to help is to support Asian-American businesses, which are now more diverse than ever.
Chinah is a fast-casual homestyle Chinese restaurant that recently opened a second location in Manhattan (first location is in Jersey City). In Mandarin, Chi translates to “eat” and Nah means “where.” Owners Hegel Hei, Henry Meng, Joe Song, and chef/partner Kam Lam are passionate about bringing their family recipes to a wider audience, showcasing a modern twist on traditional Chinese flavors. Diners choose their own signature bowls or a “build-your-own” where customers can pick their rice, vegetable, and protein.
“I’m a mixed culture child. My childhood was split between Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Beijing. I didn’t feel like I really belonged anywhere, and the only thing that was consistent back then was my grandma’s cooking,” explains the founder and CEO Hei. “I feel strongly about bringing warm and loving home cooking to the New York City fast-casual scene.”
Silly Chilly Hot Sauce
A creation of Sufia Hossain, a Bangladeshi American from Queens, New York, Silly Chilly Hot Sauce is all about sustainability and a farm-to-table philosophy. The sauces combine elements of her Bangladeshi heritage with a diverse array of international flavors like mango and serrano peppers. Sufia’s company is not just about business — it’s also about her activism with responsible sourcing and a desire to change the food industry.
Boba tea has exploded in popularity across America, expanding beyond just California and New York City. In Waco, Texas, Waco Cha is a boba tea shop founded by Chinese and Taiwanese Americans Devin Li and Jaja Chen. Their focus is on handcrafted, high-quality tea (never powdered) that highlights Taiwanese culture. The best part of Waco Cha is that customers don’t need to be in Waco to enjoy it — they can order the products online on the Waco Cha website, which ships nationwide (loose leaf tea, boba kits, and merchandise).
A creation of Chef Philip Esteban in San Diego, White Rice is an exploration of traditional Filipino flavors with a modern twist. A culinary alum with credentials from Eleven Madison Park to Per Se, Philip uses those elite culinary skills to create flavor-packed renditions of the Filipino dishes he grew up with. The menu is centered around rice bowls featuring garlic rice and egg, a classic Filipino comfort food. Diners can choose various meat and veggie toppings for each rice bowl. Philip’s mission is to highlight Filipino cuisine in America, a food that has been largely left out of the spotlight.
For an alternative to food delivery apps like Doordash and Uber Eats, try Chowbus, a delivery app focused on authentic Asian cuisine. Created by Chinese graduate students at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chowbus first launched in Chicago but has expanded to several Big 10 college towns and major cities in both North America and Australia. The app is a good way to explore authentic Asian restaurants that might be unavailable on more mainstream apps. It’s also a good way to support your local Asian businesses. The app is available on both Google Play and the Apple Store.
Nguyen Coffee Supply
Vietnam produces some of the finest coffee in the world. Now with Nguyen Coffee Supply, the first-ever Vietnamese American-owned coffee importer and roaster, coffee beans from Vietnam can be enjoyed straight from the source. Founded by Sahra Nguyen, a first-generation daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, Nguyen Coffee Supply offers both the specialty Arabica beans of Vietnam and Robusta beans. The company has partnered with Mr. Ton, a fourth-generation coffee farmer in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, bringing high-quality organic Vietnamese coffee to America.
Local Roots NYC
Started by Chinese American Wen-Jay Ying in Brooklyn, New York, Local Roots is a customized farmers market that delivers fresh produce directly to New Yorkers. Ordering is straightforward — simply subscribe online and pick up at a Local Roots market or get it delivered. The focus is creating a deeper connection between local products and the consumer, focusing exclusively on small family farms and small-batch producers. Every year, Local Roots delivers 60,000 pounds of produce to more than 1,500 New York households.
Nimble Made is a men’s dress shirt company founded by Taiwanese Americans Wesley Kang and Tanya Zhang. The idea grew from Wesley’s difficulty in finding a properly fitted dress shirt, a requirement at his corporate jobs. The problem was that many Western dress shirt companies were not suitable for his body type and decided to start a company to address that issue. Since then, Nimble Made has become well-known in the field for their causal basics and button-down flannels.
Sundae School has a unique style combination — relaxed California chill with assertive New York attitude. It’s this distinctive flair that translates to Sundae School’s jackets, graphic tees, and sweat pants.
Started by Jonathan Oe, a Japanese American, Leorever is a luxury activewear brand that merges style with reliable materials and build. It’s designed for the modern man who wants a casual, yet styled look while still remaining active. The company is based in Huntington Beach, California and its products can be found on its website or at Leorever Boutiques and Showrooms.
Milk and Honey Jewelry
Founded by Filipino American Jayna Greenleaf-Perez, Milk and Honey aims to highlight the continuing crimes of human trafficking still happening around the world. The jewelry business of Milk and Honey centers around handcrafted earrings. But for each pair of earrings sold, 20% of the profits will be donated to anti-human trafficking organizations in America and around the world.
A fashionably modern take on the bicycle helmet, Thousand founder Gloria Hwang was inspired to design a bicycle helmet when a friend was killed in a riding accident. Her goal and inspiration for the name is to save 1,000 lives by bringing a helmet to the market that is both comfortable and stylish. Thousand prides itself on its progressive policies as the company is 40% women, 40% BIPOC, and 25% Queer.
Victor Li shows that streetwear can definitely be high fashion. In 2018, the brand started out mainly in menswear design. Today, it gears towards a cross-cultural unisex design that gives a spotlight to the underrepresented. In every season, Victor Li depicts a series of travels through fashion.
Read more: Best Clothing Brands for Men
David Yi, the founder of masculine-identifying grooming Web site Very Good Light, wanted to develop a beauty brand that was sensitive enough for any skin type. Good Light, which released this month, is the fruit of his labor. His probiotic serum — which improves collagen production and decreases the appearance of wrinkles — is a standout.
Over a decade ago, Taiwanese-American Vicky Tsai envisioned a premium skincare brand that was influenced by Japanese beauty culture. Now, Tatcha is synonymous with luxury self-care, and their marquee product,, continues to be a bestseller.
Quality, sustainably made skincare doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Case in point: Priscilla Tsai’s Cokokind, a clean beauty brand made with natural ingredients and free of harsh preservatives. Their One-For-All Balm offers balanced hydration, which is perfect for this transitional season.
Living up to its name, Hero Cosmetics fends off skin imperfections thanks to a suite of patches (including superstar ingredients like salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid) that target acne and blemishes.
Read more: Best Acne Spot Treatments
Skip the complicated skincare routine and try out Venn Skincare. Venn puts together two decades worth of South Korean skincare innovation in their products. You can guarantee efficient and great results upon using these skincare goods made of high-quality ingredients.
Then I Met You
If you want to achieve clear, poreless skin, Then I Met You is the perfect skincare brand to trust. The founder Christina Cho believes you can achieve Korea’s “honey skin or a translucent complexion.” You can start it off with Then I Met You’s selection of cleansing balms and gels.
Founded by two Filipino-Americans, Prim Botanicals has gained a cult following for their CBD-infused skincare products that help you look and feel good. Proceeds from their products have also gone to support AAPI initiatives.
Traveling around the globe is what inspired Laura Xiao, the founder of Henne Organics, to start her beauty business. Take her versatile lip mask, which is sourced with natural ingredients and adequately hydrates lips regardless of season or location.