10 Asian Pacific American Food Businesses at the Farmers Market | CUESA

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May 09, 2021

10 Asian Pacific American Food Businesses at the Farmers Market

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we have compiled a list of Asian Pacific American-owned food businesses that are part of CUESA’s farmers market community. Enjoy locally made miso, dumplings, kimchi, momos, and other handcrafted specialties, while supporting talented Bay Area food crafters who are making our local food system more diverse, healthy, and delicious.

Aedan Fermented Foods

Following the 2011 earthquake in her home country of Japan, Mariko Grady started selling her homemade miso to friends to raise money for the victims. Through Aedan Fermented, she now brings the traditions of healthy and flavorful Japanese cuisine to the table with fermented foods such as miso, koji, and amazake.

Must-try: While their country miso is widely popular among market goers and chefs, their shio koji (a living fungus that is used to ferment soybeans and potatoes for sake, among other things) imparts a rich savory flavor to every dish. It can be used in place of salt in dishes or sauces, giving you an umami-rich way to lower the sodium content.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays

Bini’s Kitchen

An immigrant from Kathmandu and a participant in La Cocina’s food business incubator program, Bini Pradhan prides herself in being the only Nepalese caterer in San Francisco. Through her momos (Nepalese dumplings), Bini recalls not only the foods of her upbringing, but also the feeling of community and celebration during countless gatherings with her parents, siblings, and friends.

Must-try: The momos, of course! Available filled with turkey or vegetables, and served with a spicy tomato cilantro sauce.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays

Hodo

As a child in Vietnam, Minh Tsai took morning strolls with his grandpa to the neighborhood tofu shack. The freshness and artisan-quality of the soymilk, tofu, and yuba of his childhood eluded Minh for many years and ultimately led him to leave a finance career to found Hodo in 2004. Hodo now supplies tofu to Chipotle nationwide, sweetgreen, and notable Bay Area restaurants including The Slanted Door, State Bird Provisions, The Progress, SHED Cafe at Healdsburg Shed, and Mister Jiu’s.

Must-try: One of Hodo’s most popular products is their Sesame Yuba Noodles, which are made from the protein-packed skin that forms on the surface of soy milk when making tofu. They’re delicious hot added to a stir-fry, and equally good cold right out of the box for a quick meal.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays (Photo: Jen Siska)

La Vie Wellness

Since 1995, yoga enthusiast Yeyen Gunawan has been crafting probiotic juices, wellness beverages, and superfood snacks as La Vie. Yeyen researched the benefits of raw food, juicing, and probiotics and began making food and lifestyle changes to bring herself back to health. Since 2005, she has been sharing what she discovered through her line of La Vie Wellness drinks and juice cleanses. A long-time believer in the importance of access to local and fresh foods, she sells her products at farmers markets and local grocery stores throughout the Bay Area.

Must-try: For a healthy morning pick-me-up, stop by her Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand for kvass, kefirs, pure coconut water, green smoothies, or sprouted almond milks.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays 

Namu

The Lee brothers—Dennis, Daniel, and David—founded Namu in December 2006 with the intention of serving contemporary California cuisine with an Asian flair. The Lees felt the contemporary American restaurant world lacked diversity and set out to serve food they loved and were inspired by. Namu now offers vegan and vegetarian options on their menu as a way to introduce another perspective on food for plant-based eaters. They source directly from farmer Kristyn Leach of Namu Farm, who specializes in vegetables and herbs that are traditional to Korean cuisine.

Must-try: If you love bibimbap, try their dosirak! This dish includes housemade vegetarian kimchee, mung bean sprout, white rice, toasted seaweed, and daily pickle and your choice of chicken or tofu.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays

Papa’s Dumpling

Based in Livermore, Jojo Zhu prides herself in making authentic handmade dumplings, potstickers, and buns reflecting the seasons and Chinese traditions. Papa’s offers vegetarian and vegan options, too.

Must-try: Jojo’s freshly made dumplings are cooked to order, including the pan-fried potstickers in varieties like pork, shrimp, and chives; chicken, mushroom, and corn; and tofu, mushroom, and basil, filled with large flavorful chunks. You can also order them frozen to fry up at home.

Where to find them: Mission Community Market on Thursdays

Roti

The Malik brothers worked with Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Foods in the farmers market for more than 10 years, doing almost 25 farmers markets per week for Sukhi’s. During their market days, the brothers had realized that customers are familiar with Indian food, but not with Pakistani cuisine. The Malik brothers founded Roti in 2017 to introduce Pakistani food in farmer markets. Directly from Punjab Pakistan, Roti offers authentic Pakistani vegan cuisine using generations-old family recipes, regional spices, and local ingredients.

Must-try: If you had naan before, try their stuffed paratha, which is essentially stuffed flatbread with spinach. Their chutney sauces are also great with the parathas!

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays and Mission Community Market on Thursdays

Ugly Pickle Co.

Kayla Abe and her partner, David Murply, connect with farmers and market-goers while making food waste activism fun and tasty. With first-hand experience in farming and food, they both saw firsthand how perfectly edible food was wasted all along the food chain, which sparked the idea of a business based on reclaiming ugly produce by making pickles.

Must-try: Their Good Food Awards winning Dilly Carrots and Burger Party Dills bring classic kosher flavors with a pungent kick.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays

Volcano Kimchi

Aruna was born in South Korea and grew up in a Buddhist monastery where homegrown vegetables were at the heart of every meal. She launched Volcano Kimchi in San Francisco in 2014 with the aim of creating a high-quality, organic, vegan kimchi reminiscent of her youth.

Must-try: Volcano’s signature product is Napa Cabbage and Jicama Kimchi, but be sure to ask about any seasonal offerings, which have included items like Super Spicy Habanero Persimmon Kimchi, Oyster Kimchi, and Jicama Kimchi Salsa, all using ingredients from the farmers market.

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays 

Wise Goat Organics

After years slinging produce for Heirloom Organic Gardens farm, Mary Risavi moved on to pursue her master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but she now brings her passion for local produce and nutrition back to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market with Wise Goat Organics, a one-woman kraut business based in San Juan Bautista.

Must-try: Wise Goat’s hyper-local krauts, kimchis, and kvasses rotate with the seasons and range from classic to experimental. Her Spicy Garlic Kraut recently won a Good Food Award. For a supercharged health boost, try their Supergreen Kraut (with spirulina, chlorella, and stinging nettles) or Golden Kraut (with turmeric and other spices).

Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays 

This article has been updated from a previously published version.

 

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CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »