Asianati’s Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide
For the Asian food fanatics in your life
by Caitlin Behle with JP Leong
If food is your love language, it only makes sense to give your loved ones gifts related to food. Look no further than your favorite local restaurants, breweries, markets, and food producers for thoughtful, unique, and delicious gifts. Asianati rounded up some of our favorites in our 2020 Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide.
Your Snack Fiend Sibling
The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, so why not embrace what your sibling truly wants? Snacks. All the snacks. Visit your local Asian market to build-your-own gift basket full of adorable Asian snacks. This haul came from Saigon Market, but any international or Asian market will have many unique and delicious items to choose from.
Your Parent Who Will Always Stop for Tea With You
Loose leaf tea brewing is an easily-gifted situation: from single-serving medicine balls to beautifully crafted porcelain pots there’s a brewing tool for every style or situation. We’re particularly fond of borosilicate-glass tea pots that let you watch the tea leaves bloom as they steep.
Your Ugly Delicious-Obsessed Roommate Who Can Barely Cook Ramen
Really, isn’t the underdog the cook you root for anyway? Help them along with a sauce or spice kit from your favorite restaurant, pop-up, or spice shop. And there are options for every skill level, taste, and tradition. KungFood Chu’s Amerasia makes 12-oz bottles of their homemade sauces. Make authentic Malaysian satay or other classics from the Straits of Malacca with spice mixes, rubs, and sauces from Angie Tee’s Kitchen. Dean’s Mediterranean Imports offers a variety of pre-mixed or custom-blended spice kits (we’re big fans of their custom stir fry and Indian mixes). Bonus: if you want to avoid extra wrapping, just package them in Dean’s cute magnetic spice jars.
Your Drinking Buddy Who’s Too Good For Domestic Beer
Cincinnati is home to dozens of breweries, but did you know Cincinnati boasts at least two Asian-run breweries? Humble Monk in Northside specializes in Belgian-style beers and can fill and seal a 32-ounce crowler of any of their craft beers on tap. Esoteric Brewing, Cincinnati’s first Black and Filipino-owned brewery, offers growlers and howlers of their traditional beers. (Fun fact: Esoteric is located in Walnut Hills’ Paramount building, which locals may remember visiting when it was an Asian market called Thanh Mai Market).
Your Neighbor, The Master of Chinese Takeout
At this point, your neighbor is on a first-name basis with the fleet of DoorDash drivers that swing by a few times a week. Get them some cute swag from their favorite Chinese favorite spot, KungFood Chu’s Amerasia. The Covington staple offers customizable gift baskets— choose from pint glasses, carved wooden pens, masks, hoodies, chopsticks, and their signature bottled sauces.
Your Salt Bae
One silver lining to 2020 is that many of us are leveling-up our at-home dining experiences. Whether your partner is perfecting their Shio ramen or just needs to plate their takeout on something other than styrofoam, never underestimate the power of positive presentation to elevate their meal. Many Asian and International markets carry a range of these easy gifts and we found the parts to this Instagram-worthy ramen place setting at CAM International Market.
Your Nieces and Nephews Who Watch Finding Dory on Repeat
We love these colorful aquatic-themed dishes we found at CAM International Market. They’re adorable enough for a kid-friendly lunch, but also make for a fun serving plate for your next sushi night — just don’t point out the existential implications of eating sushi on a fish plate. The small dishes are also perfect for banchan, dim sum, and dipping sauces for the adults.
Your Favorite Coffee Date For Whom Coffee is Life
It will be a minute before we can sit for hours at a coffee shop, so make sure your friend has a sweet setup at home. For Turkish coffee lovers, Rüya’s coffee kit includes a bag of Rüya coffee, an Ibrik for stovetop brewing, a Turkish coffee cup and saucer, brewing guide, and—for a limited time—a virtual fortune-telling session to read your coffee grounds (seriously!). For someone who wants to explore Vietnamese coffee culture, make a cup of Cà Phê Sữa at home with a phin and coffee roasted in Vietnam from Lang Thang Coffee Company and available at Pho Lang Thang.
Top Image: All the things.
Photo: JP Leong