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11 of Xpedition’s Favorite Asian-Owned Small Businesses

With anti-Asian hate crimes continuing to rise nationwide and with Asian-owned small businesses being particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, we wanted to show our continued support and solidarity for our friends, colleagues, and the larger community. This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’ve compiled a list of some of our employees’ favorite Asian-owned small businesses. From restaurants to ceramics shops, each one represents the strength, brilliance, and innovation of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Food and Beverage:

Photo of Monica, owner of Highway Inn.

Business: Highway Inn

Location: Honolulu, HI

Summary: Xpedition had the privilege of filming a video about Highway Inn (a family-owned Hawaiian restaurant with three locations), and we recently caught up with owner Monica. “It’s been upsetting to see how the previous Administration weaponized the pandemic against Asian Americans,” Monica says. “During WWII, my grandparents, who founded Highway Inn, were forced to leave their home, live in internment camps, and return to start over. We have seen a terrible return of that type of fear, discrimination, and crimes against the API community.”

To combat this, Monica says it is essential for the larger community to care about the violence that is happening. “They can help by first educating themselves about all aspects of the pandemic, and then by supporting their neighbors by checking in and/or patronizing their local API-owned businesses,” Monica says. She also suggests donating to nonprofits focused on stopping API hate, demanding more support from law enforcement, and encouraging efforts from political leadership. Though the pandemic was difficult, Monica says Highway Inn is “repairing the damage of the past year and quite sanguine about the future.”

Business: Emperor of China

Location: Dalton, GA

Summary: An employee’s in-laws own this restaurant, and it is truly their labor of love and means of finding financial security as immigrants. For decades they've worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week at the restaurant in order to provide for themselves and their children.

Photo of two cups of coffee, a bowl of grapefruit, spoons, and a plate of pastries on a marble table.

Business: Copper Cow Coffee

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Summary: Founded by Vietnamese-American Debbie Wei Mullin, Copper Cow Coffee is sustainability-focused company that sells single-serving Vietnamese coffee pour overs. They pay their farmers two times the regular market rate to ensure a higher quality of life. Plus, they have plenty of fun flavors to choose from…we’re especially fond of the classic.

Business: Lloyd Eats World

Location: Hayward, CA

Summary: Founded by Filipino-American chef Lloyd Bautista, Lloyd Eats World serves up Filipino food with a twist. At pop-ups around the Bay Area, Lloyd Eats World shows off fusion foods like Jambalaya fried rice and mango cilantro chicken.

Photo of dumplings with Fly By Jing sauce, and a jar of Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp sauce.

Business: Fly By Jing

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Summary: Inspired by founder Jing Gao’s hometown of Chengdu, China, Fly By Jing makes amazing chili sauces and pantry staples. We love the brand's tagline of "not traditional, but personal" as their sauces don't conform to any singular notion of value, taste, or tradition. Do yourself a favor and try the Sichuan Chili Crisp!

Business: The Sarap Shop

Location: San Francisco, CA

Summary: With one location in Chase Center and another in Parklab Gardens (a pet-friendly food truck park with a mini golf course), The Sarap Shop specializes in modern Filipino fusion foods. Favorites include rice bowls, pita sandwiches, and milk tea.

Business: Señor Sisig

Location: Oakland, CA

Summary: If you can’t decide whether you want Filipino or Mexican food for dinner, you’ve come to the right place. Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo’s fleet of food trucks offers innovative Filipino-Mexican fusion cuisine to foodies in the San Francisco Bay Area. They even have an entire vegan menu available.


Photo of two Pawena Studio cups.

Business: Pawena Studio

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Summary: Born and raised on a farm in Thailand, Pawena Thimaporn loved playing with the clay that she found in the surrounding countryside. After moving to the U.S. and building a career in the design industry, Pawena opened a ceramic shop in 2015. She creates striking handmade ceramics that range from colorful cups and vases to elegant planters and pitchers.

Business: The Homebodies

Location: Austin, TX

Summary: Lifestyle blogger Jules Acree is a firm believer in the importance of creating cozy spaces that feel like home, so she opened an online home goods shop to sell sustainable items. From natural wood dishes to bamboo brushes, each thoughtfully curated item is designed to help homebodies create a more intentional living space.

Photo of four After May Co. candles

Business: After May Co.

Location: Novi, MI

Summary: Founded by Korean-American best friends named Emilyn and Katie, After May sells hand-poured soy candles. With minimalist designs and subtle scents (think Yuzu + Hinoki and Lemon + Lilac), these candles are perfect for any room of the house.

Business: Pink Moon

Location: New York City, NY

Summary: Founded by social entrepreneur Lin Chen, Pink Moon is a natural beauty and self-care marketplace that was designed to elevate women by featuring women-owned beauty brands. It's a great resource if you’re looking for new beauty products or thoughtful gifts.

Written By:
May 19, 2021