We love a supportive king or queen, whether that means gritting your teeth and buying a Nickelback CD for your boyfriend that “has good taste otherwise” or encouraging your little sister to pursue her passion for the arts. Sure, that sort of stuff is admirable, but if you’re looking to directly support people outside your immediate circle, there’s an easy way to do it: by shelling out some of your hard-earned clams and shopping with purpose.
We already love to get our daily dose of serotonin by packing our carts full of the best, most unique products out there, so being more intentional about where you shop (without sacrificing quality or aesthetics) is an easy, fun way to show some solidarity with important causes. Plus, it’s May, which means the flowers are blooming, thighs are out, and—most importantly—it’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is a great time to continue to support AAPI-owned business by snagging some eco-friendly, high-quality products that we know would get our mother’s seal of approval, and even more stuff that makes us say “damn, I can’t wait to vibe with this.”
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’re shouting out a few of our favorite AAPI-owned brands so you can support them and stock your shelves with the best chile crisp, cult-favorite snacks, accessories, green coffee beans, and more. Now, let’s get shoppin’—because we never need an excuse to ingest some dumplings or buy something pro-Earth.
JW PEI is the Los Angeles-based accessories brand that was responsible for Emily Mariko’s famous TikTok mini bag, and it was founded by a husband and wife duo who share the mantra that fashion should be accessible, effortless and empowering. These sleek, minimalist accessories are made from high-quality canvas, polyurethane, sustainable vegan leather, and certified fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. We love a brand that cares about the environment. Cop the Gabbi Bag in this spicy shade of orange to add a drop of minimalist 90s vibes to your ‘fit.
Stock up on your favorite Asian groceries and hot pot necessities for your next shoebox apartment dinner party from Bokksu’s online grocery store. The AAPI-owned brand is originally known for its premium, Japanese snack subscription boxes, but you can also order from its library of treats à la carte. These Calbee Shrimp Chips absolutely slap, with their top-tier crunch and seafood tang, and are sure to fulfill all your crustaceous cravings. A shop-in-shop for Asian-founded brands on the platform also recently dropped. Scour the entire collection to pick out some fire eats too hard to pass up. One feature is taro bubble tea oatmeal, which sounds to die for.
Fly By Jing
We love getting spicy, especially when it involves Fly By Jing’s super-popular chile crisp. The online craft food brand that specializes in Sichuan flavors and ingredients (and blessed us with impeccable dumplings) was founded in 2018 by Chinese chef Jing Gao, and is beloved by celebrities—including Rihanna. (If Rihanna loves it, we do, too.) We recently went wild for the brand’s collab with Fishwife, the result of which was a ridiculously tasty tinned Sichuan smoked salmon. If you’re an intense fan, there’s also this recently rereleased, limited-edition long-sleeve shirt you could rep.
Nguyen Coffee Supply
Nguyen Coffee Supply is a brand that directly trades with Vietnamese farmers and specializes in robusta coffee beans. The beans—which have a high caffeine content and a uniquely TK flavor—are then roasted in Brooklyn to deliver you the perfect, strong cup of mud. These brews have double the caffeine, so be prepared to wake up, and get grindin’.
“The future of clean has arrived”—we love that motto, and we also love the fact that Blueland, an eco-friendly cleaning brand which slings reusable packaging with the mission of banishing single-use plastic bottles, is woman- and AAPI-owned. Make your bathroom smell like Bath & Body Works, but make it pro-Earth with the Botanical Hand Soap Duo that will make your nasal passages feel like they are in a fresh meadow.
AAPI-owned Glow Recipe is known for its fruit-based skincare, and has a chokehold on us with their beauty products that smell good enough to taste. (Probably a bad idea, though.) We can’t get enough of the Watermelon Sleeping Mask, made with hydrating hyaluronic acid, exfoliating AHA, and pumpkin extract. The brand is carbon neutral, uses sustainable packaging, and uses clean ingredients so your pores can look alive and well.
A hearty dose of healthy fats is good for the soul—and tastes great. Brightland is a Los Angeles-based brand founded in 2018 that bottles up nutrient-dense extra virgin olive oil to drizzle all over your salads, add to marinades and sauces, and slather on your overpriced avocado toast. (You can find honey and vinegar, too, if you’re feeling a little wild.) To get the best of both worlds, add The Duo to your shopping cart. The oil double-threat comes with bottles of Awake (a robust flavor) and Alive (with grassy, herbal notes). It’s also worth copping the brand’s newly released Castelvetrano edition made with Sicilian olives once it restocks. Ciao!
Material is a kitchenware brand that delivers a sleek, sexy aesthetic without sacrificing craftsmanship. If you’re relatively new to shopping for higher-end (i.e. not dollar-store or IKEA) kitchen gear, the brand’s Coated Pan is a great option for beginners. “If you’re in the market for a lightweight, easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, non-stick, slick, everyday pan,” one reviewer writes, “then this is it.” The copper construction is also great for quick heating and cooling, offering optimal temperature control—even on induction burners. Prepare perfect fried eggs, fluffy flapjacks, or whatever your little heart desires.
If all you know about dim sum is how much you love Trader Joe’s soup dumplings—no shame—it’s time to broaden your horizons. The XCJ whips up juicy, delicious soup dumplings straight from a kitchen in Seattle, then freezes them and ships them straight to your door, where you can steam them to perfection in minutes. Don’t miss the brand’s condiments, too; the ginger and scallion sauce are “umami heaven.” Trust us.
Founded by Mumbai-born Sana Javeri Kadri when she was just 23, Diaspora Co. sources 30 equitable, single-origin spices from 150 farms across India and Sri Lanka. While helping improve the supply chain, Diaspora Co. also makes your taste buds dance—it’s a win-win. The brand’s first-ever spice drop (and one of our favorites) is Pragati Turmeric, which is wayyy different from any turmeric you might have picked up from your local grocer. This stuff has intertwined notes of marigold, orange, honey, and “sunshine.” The brand also released a gorgeous chai kit last week in collaboration with East Fork, but it sold out almost instantly.
Get in loser, we’re going shopping supporting AAPI-owned businesses!
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.