Central Market Celebrates Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May
May is National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. A time focused on celebrating a deeply rooted history, diverse community and vibrant culture.
Throughout the month of May, Central Market will celebrate 24 different American Asian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses as a part of their ongoing Be the Change campaign. These businesses are some of Central Market’s most popular and sought-after brands as well as some new to market. These 24 entrepreneurs have incredible stories to share and delicious products to try. Below is a summary of each one. For additional information, interviews or product samples, please contact the media representative listed below.
A few highlights include:
Yummi Sushi, owners Katie and Thein Aung: The Aungs are immigrants from Myanmar and opened Yummi Sushi in 2010 as a restaurant. In 2012, they began bringing their restaurant-quality sushi to retail in Central Market stores. In 2018, with Central Market, Yummi Sushi launched the country’s first clean ingredient sushi program. In addition, they believe it’s important to give back to their community and help their employees immigrate to the U.S. with EB1/H1B programs. They also allow employees the opportunity become owners of the company to share the success of the company together. Yummi Sushi
Mylk Labs, owner Grace Cheng: Mylk Labs was established in 2017 by model and University of Southern California alumna, Grace Cheng. She was looking to offer healthy and great tasting alternatives for breakfast. Mylk Labs offers a variety of all natural, non-GMO, whole grain, gluten-free and vegan oatmeal cups sweetened with only organic coconut sugar. Mylk Lab flavors include roasted almond pink salt, Granny Smith apple and cinnamon, roasted hazelnut cocoa, toasted coconut and cultivated blueberry maple. This brand is new to Central Market and is exclusive in Texas. Mylk Labs
Sanzo Soda, owner Sandro Roco: This is a brand-new item exclusive to Central Market – and first to market. Founded by Sandro Roco, a Queens-born Filipino American, Roco’s goal was simple: he wanted to celebrate the high-quality Asian flavors that for decades have been masked by added sugars, artificial flavors and preservatives. The soda is available in three flavors: calamansi, mango and lychee. Sanzo Soda
Mekhala Organic Asian Sauces, owners Daphne Wong and Jang Phantip: Founded in 2012 by Daphne Wong and Jang Phantip, Mekhala is an Asian organic, vegan and gluten-free sauce brand. When Jang passed away in 2014, Daphne’s sister, Diane, stepped in as “Chief Sauceress.” Mekhala is dedicated to creating a better life with great, wholesome and sustainable Asian food, produced mindfully in small batches in the lush countryside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Founded and run by an all-female team, Mekhala is an equal opportunity company committed to empowering women and youth in local communities and focuses on assisting women and Asian minorities. Mekhala created a symbol system to hire illiterate women and runs an internship program for marginalized Burmese youths. Mekhala Organic Asian Sauces
Additional featured brands:
- Dang Bars, owners Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragam, Dang Bars
- Star Anise Foods, owners Thao Nguyen and Karen Cheng – authentic Vietnamese gluten-free plant-based meals in minutes, Star Anise Foods
- Mr. Lee’s Noodles, owner Damien Lee, rice noodle pots in four flavors, Mr. Lee’s Noodles
- Rhee Brothers/Assi Brands, owner Robin Rhee, Rhee Brothers
- NOH Foods of Hawaii, owner Raymond Noh, NOH Foods
- Ying’s Kitchen, owner Ying Stoller – Asian sauces and mixes, Yings Asian Sauces and Mixes
- Bohyang Teas, owner Hugh and Sara Iva – Korean teas in eight flavors, Bohyang Teas
- Three Trees Nut Milk, owner Jenny Eu – nut milk with four times more nuts and proteins than other plant milks, Three Trees Nut Milk
- Cloud 10 Creamery, owner Chris Leung – award-winning pastry chef that opened ice cream shop in Houston, Cloud 10 Creamery
- Sinto Gourmet Kimchi, owner Hyunjoo Albrecht – Kimchi recipes inspired by her Korean grandmother, Sinto Gourmet Kimchi
- Mama La’s Frozen Meals, owner Kim Su Tran La – authentic frozen pho and egg roll products, Mama La’s Frozen Meals
- Saongwon Korean Pancakes, owners Sara and Hugh Kim – Korean kimchi and veggie pancakes
- Nufs soft-baked energy bites, owners Jessica and Kristine Tran – healthy snack with authentic Asian-inspired flavors, Nufs Soft-baked Energy Bites
- Bibi Beverages, owner Jen Du – natural alcohol detox drinks, Bibi Beverage
Asian American Owners and Winemakers
Silenus Winery, Napa Valley, owner Veronica Wang
Veronica Wang, the owner of Silenus Winery, is originally from Shengzhou, a city of 8.5 million in the heart of China. She took over her father’s real estate development and construction business in the 1990s – working with the local government to renovate and build new schools for the children moving into the areas. She has since grown her business to include wine. Veronica’s love of wine began when she lived in Los Angeles and had her first bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It was love at first taste. She wanted to bring Napa Wines to China and started a search and found what is now Silenus Winery. Her wines are now sold in China and select markets in the U.S. and around the world. Silenus wines are new to Central Market this month and Central Market is the only retailer in Texas to carry her wines. Central Market will feature the Tyros Cabernet, Silenus Eagle Cabernet, Silenus Chardonnay and Silenus Merlot.
SakeStory Imports, owner Toshi Kojima
Kojima fell in love with the mystique of Sake during his college years in Japan when visiting his maternal grandparents, who were former Sake rice farmers. Several years after returning to the U.S., Toshi founded SakeStory Imports. Sake, the mythical drink, originated in Japan approximately 2000 years ago. It is a beverage permeating all aspects of Japanese culture – from the most sacred religious ceremonies to joyous occasions in life. At SakeStory, Toshi believes every bottle of this special brew has a story of its own. His portfolio focuses on very traditional, centuries-old, small family-owned sake breweries from remote regions of Japan. Find these only at Central Market: Tsukinowa “Blue Hue,” Miyashita “Sacred Mist,” and Tamayura “Rhythmic Droplets” sparkling Sake.
- Davies and Schramsberg Vineyards, winemaker Jessica Koga
Jessica Koga is Associate Winemaker for J. Davies and Schramsberg Vineyards, one of the oldest wineries in Napa (founded in 1862). Her experience ranges from working harvests in New Zealand as associate winemaker at Gundlach Bundshu, gaining in-depth knowledge of crafting quality wine and as assistant winemaker at Vineyard 29 working with Phillipe Melka and Keith Emerson. Koga now manages wine production for the Davie Vineyard red program as well as the finishing activities for Schramsberg sparkling wines.
Kenzo Estate Winery, owner Kenzo Tsujimoto
Tsujimoto first achieved success as the founder of Capcom, a Japanese developer of video games, before pursuing his true passion of winemaking. It took more than 15 years of hard work and planning to bring the first harvest in 2005. This is the first time Central Market will carry Kenzo and the wines will be available in very limited quantities. Many of these are collector’s items rarely seen outside of Napa, with vintages selling out within days.
WHEN: May 1 – 31, 2021
WHERE: All Central Market store locations