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8 Asian American-Owned Businesses in San Francisco
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8 Asian American-Owned Businesses in San Francisco

On the occasion of Asian heritage month, we’ve highlighted 8 of the Asian American-owned businesses in San Francisco you should check out.

Palig Dzadourian

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5 min read

May 16, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products mentioned in this article.

Ethnic and cultural diversity is a testament to California’s rich history, a long past that has shaped our beloved Golden State into what it is today: a place we have come to cherish, a place we now call home. After so many different communities migrated to the state during the years, each of them has managed to plant their roots here and make themselves indispensable in our daily lives.

One such example is the AAPI community, having moved to California after the Gold Rush, Asian Americans have since then continuously shown their creativity and innovation by starting a plethora of businesses all over the state. Every day we strive to support and bring attention to more marginalized communities, and a good way to go about this is to encourage the Asian-owned businesses Asian Americans have poured themselves into.

Small Asian Owned Businesses

San Francisco has well over 95 000 small businesses you can find and benefit from, a huge number including minority-owned businesses such as Asian-owned businesses.

Despite them being small, they have a huge impact on the community and the environment, by promoting local manufacturing and making use of sustainable methods and practices. When asking the question “where can I find Asian-owned businesses near me?” The simple answer to that is anywhere and everywhere!

Hardworking, innovative and persevering, the Asian community has managed to become quite indispensable over the years.

1. Ele Story

Magical is one of many ways to describe Ele Story’s clothing line. This Asian-owned business based in Castro Valley is also female-owned, just like many others you can discover around the state. The founders of Ele Story sought to create special occasion clothes for women and girls, after checking out their site, you’ll understand what we mean when we say magical.

2. Morningtide

With a name so stylish and elegant, you are guaranteed to find something that will grab your attention in this store. Morningtide is a lifestyle shop that carries the belief that everything you bring into your home should have a special meaning. Inspired by the West Coast Northern California upbringings, the founders Lisa Fontaine and Lisa Wong have always supported the notion of ethical production, encouraging local artisan communities and minority-owned businesses such as theirs and Black-owned businesses. Featuring a variety of products to choose from, from carefully curated women’s slow fashion to jewelry, and even ceramics. The store is located in Albany, some ten minutes away from San Francisco.

3. Kira

An effortless cool look combined with the comfortable feeling of supersoft cotton, Kira’s line of clothing for kids is definitely worth checking out. With Kira, it’s all sunshine and smiles, it’s even in the meaning of the name Kira! Founded by designer Christine Tang, this clothing line is strictly produced in California, the collection currently features hoodies, dresses, shirts, and onesies, all of them printed with fun and quirky hand-drawn illustrations such as teddy bears and boba cups. You can purchase them online from their website, or visit their stores located in San Francisco and Honolulu.

Asian Owned Restaurants

Continuing on with our list of Asian-owned businesses, there are several restaurants owned by Bay Area Asians we think you should absolutely visit. Get ready to experience some of the best food in the Bay Area with an explosion of flavors and delicious aromas.

Discover the explosive flavors and aromas of Asian cuisine, dishes prepared with love and care.

4. Omsom

While technically not a restaurant, Omsom is a very wholesome and culturally oriented business, founded by sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham. Their goal is to give people a real taste of Asian cuisine. The word Omsom actually means noisy and rambunctious in Vietnamese and is usually said by parents to scold their kids. This Asian-owned business is here to offer you authentic Southeast Asian, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese flavors that will either transport you back home or blow your mind (or taste buds), in the form of ready-made packets. One of the most popular Bay Area companies, Omsom is a shop that provides you with recipes and delicious food starter packs, just pour it on some veggies and protein of your choice, and eat up. Vegan and gluten-free recipes are also available, even apparel and merchandise you can check out on their online store!

We all love ice cream, it is comfort food for most of us feeling blue, and you can never go wrong with it.

5. Joe’s Ice Cream and Burgers

Running since 1959, one of San Francisco’s oldest family-owned restaurants, Joe’s Ice Cream & Burgers brings you the classic old-fashioned ice cream parlor experience you never thought you needed. Enjoy a scoop (or two) of this award-winning ice cream, known for its incredibly soft texture and delicious taste. Although it is mostly known for its homemade ice cream, there is also a wide selection of fries and burgers with Korean influences you can taste, which include Bulgogi Burgers and tokkochi fries with gochujang sauce, incorporated by current owners Sean and Alice Kim. Joe’s Ice Cream has been registered as a San Francisco Legacy since 2017 and is considered one of the Bay Area's hidden tasty gems. Pass by San Francisco’s Richmond Street for an unforgettable taste.

6. Tea Drops

For all the tea enthusiasts out there looking for a more environmentally friendly way to enjoy tea time, look no further than Tea Drops. As tea was always part of her life while growing up in a Sri Lankan and Vietnamese household, Sashee Chandra’s vision was to bring a more sustainable way of tea consumption for tea drinkers such as herself. Not being able to find any, she opted to start her own business called Tea Drops. While other regular instant teas contain processed leaves, Tea Drops tea is produced with genuine tea leaves and is USDA certified organic. Using bagless and degradable whole tea leaf blends you will be doing the environment a great service while sipping on your delicious tea.  The tea is also fully vegan and free of any type of nuts.

Asian Marketplaces

Purchase the freshest and highest quality ingredients at these Asian marketplaces, enhancing your culinary experience.

7. Mitsuwa Marketplace San Jose

There are a lot of delicious surprises you can come by when strolling through the Asian shopping center in San Jose. The Mitsuwa Marketplace is one of those gems, as it has so many delicacies and tasty Asian specialties to try. Here you will find two Japanese Ramen shops, Japanese ice cream corner shops, and even gift and book stores. If you are looking for some high-quality Japanese groceries and products at a reasonable price, the Mitsuwa Marketplace is the place for you, featuring an assortment of seafood, sake, meat, and desserts.

8. Asian Market San Pablo

Among the Bay Area Asian companies, the Asian market in San Pablo has a very long list of options when it comes to Asian markets. One of the notable ones is the ShunFat Supermarket, a rapidly growing supermarket chain containing a variety of imported groceries from all over Asia, including Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. ShunFat Supermarket first opened its doors in California in 1993, founded by a Chinese-Vietnamese entrepreneur and seafood wholesaler named Hieu Tran. Originally established to serve the Chinese community of Monterey Park, this ever-growing supermarket chain has now opened 13 other chains, serving more than just one community.



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