These Asian-Owned Businesses Invite You to Eat and Explore at Their New Bay Area Storefronts

Selina Knowles, Communications Coordinator
May 17, 2024

Mariko Grady poses inside Aeden Fermented Foods' Koji Kitchen, on the list of Asian-owned storefronts to visit

This May, celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month by supporting three new AAPI-owned brick-and-mortar stores in the Bay Area. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market regulars Aeden Fermented Foods, Nusa, and Volcano Kimchi have recently expanded into retail storefronts. At these new locations, they are serving the delicious favorites that market visitors are familiar with, like miso, kimchi, and mochi bites, while expanding their educational efforts through hands-on workshops and additional menu offerings. 

Support these businesses throughout the week, and learn more about what’s in store when you visit Aedan’s Koji Kitchen in the Mission District, try Nusa’s take on Indonesia’s national dishes at the Emeryville Public Market, and hang out at the Volcano Kimchi Clubhouse in the Dogpatch District.

Mariko leads a koji class at Aedan Fermented Foods, on the list of Asian-owned stores to visit
Mariko Grady leads a class of Foodwise Teens.

Miso Making at Aedan Fermented Foods’ Koji Kitchen 

Aedan Fermented Foods, founded by Mariko Grady, is known for freshly made bento boxes. These meals are packed with the perfect pairing of umami from Aedan’s fermented products and ingredients from local farms. All of Aedan products are probiotic and support gut microbiome health and overall immune system. Mariko is inspired by her own food memories (hence her flagship miso creation, Sauce of Nostalgia) as well as conversations she has with her regulars at the farmers market.

She joined La Cocina’s business incubator program in 2012 and, through a partnership with Foodwise, began popping up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in 2013. She then joined the market permanently in 2016. After working out of La Cocina’s shared kitchen for nearly 10 years, Mariko just celebrated the second anniversary of her own kitchen-storefront at 613 York Street in San Francisco.

Aedan Fermented Foods’ loyal farmers market regulars can expect all of their favorite Aedan Fermented Foods products and more at the store. Visit Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm to pick up miso, shio koji, amazake, and bento boxes featuring ingredients from Ferry Plaza farms such as Eatwell Farm, Dirty Girl Produce, Star Route Farms, and Far West Fungi. 

For eaters who are curious to learn more about koji, the fermented rice culture, Mariko says that Aedan’s bento boxes are the perfect place to start. “Through our bento boxes, people can understand how to use our koji products,” she says. “Then if they want, they can get those products, miso, shio koji, or amazake, at our store.”

For those who want to dive even deeper into the world of miso, Mariko also hosts monthly miso making classes. Participants learn what koji is, sample different flavors of miso, then get to make their own miso to take home. 

Mariko says that her presence at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, the first place she started selling Aedan’s products, has helped her business grow to be where it is now. She adds that a lot of her customers first tried her products at the farmers market, and now, some come to visit her store from all over the Bay Area.

Serving an Introduction to Indonesian Cuisine at Nusa’s Food Hall Kiosk 

“There is a shortage of Indonesian eateries in the Bay Area,” says Jennifer Huang, who started Nusa to fill that niche. Nusa joined the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Saturday lineup in 2022, after initially popping up with La Cocina through Foodwise’s Building Equity program. This year, Nusa is open for business in the Emeryville Public Market Food Hall at 5959 Shellmound Street, Emeryville.

“At the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market every week, without fail, we have customers that come to our booth, get desserts and snacks, and then ask, ‘Do you make beef rendang?’ and ‘Where can I find Indonesian food in the Bay Area?’” says Jennifer.

Now, Nusa’s kiosk menu is inspired by Jennifer’s memories of her mother’s home-style cooking and Indonesia’s five national dishes. Along with Nusa’s signature sweets, visitors can try beef rendang (a caramelized spiced beef dish ranked by CNN readers as the top dish internationally), nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), and karedok, a seasonal Javanese salad (similar to the gado gado salad Jennifer demonstrated at the Foodwise Classroom), and more.

“It’s an introduction to Indonesian cuisine,” Jennfer says about the menu. At her stall, Jennifer also shares information about key Indonesian ingredients so that people understand what they’re trying. For example, she has created educational flyers explaining rendang and pandan to educate curious eaters. 

So far, the long-term pop-up is going well, and Jennifer looks forward to the year ahead, with the possibility to renew the lease. “This is a good opportunity for us to test whether or not this concept works for Nusa,” she says.

She reflects on the community support that helped her reach this point in her business. Jennifer says that La Cocina, the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and Start Small Think Big have provided technical support and market opportunities.

“By being at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, we’re broadening into and introducing Indonesian food that people don’t otherwise don’t get the opportunity to try.” At the farmers market, Jennifer has built a following for Nusa, and she loves seeing regular customers each week.

A group poses for a photo inside Volcano Kimchi's Clubhouse, on the list of Asian-owned stores to visit

Kicking Off the Kimchi World Tour at Volcano Kimchi’s Clubhouse

Aruna Lee is amazed at how familiar people have become with kimchi, versus when she first started Volcano Kimchi. “I remember when we started at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market almost eight years ago. At that time people knew so little about kimchi. People were actually afraid to try it,” she recalls. “These days, we get people walking in already in love with kimchi. It’s amazing to see that shift.”

Aruna launched her business in 2014, inspired by her childhood in South Korea. With her new storefront at 1074 Illinois Street in San Francisco, she’s hoping to keep the kimchi love going strong. She’s offering all of Volcano Kimchi’s fan favorites and expanding kimchi’s culinary realm with hands-on workshops and pop-up meals. She’s also raising funds to upgrade her kimchi-making equipment. 

This spring, Volcano Kimchi launched the Kimchi World Tour, a monthly breakfast club, pairing kimchi with global cuisine. “We wanted to do something to highlight the versatility of kimchi,” says Aruna. At their last brunch, participants enjoyed a Thai Kimchi Curry. For the next one on May 25, Aruna is preparing a Mexican kimchi pozole. 

Nicknamed the “Kimchi Clubhouse,” Aruna envisions her space as a hangout spot for people in the neighborhood. “Neighbors who work in the area, they’ve been coming by, happy to find a welcoming space where they can grab a few things to enjoy with their next meal,” she says. ”We’ve got a couch in the front that makes it feel like you’re in someone’s living room. We want people to feel connected.” Stop by on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 am to 5 pm.

Aruna looks forward to growing connections at the new store, while continuing to be inspired at the farmers market. “The abundance, the variety, the creativity I found at the market, all of it inspired me to try and take kimchi in new directions,” she says. “More than that, the friends and connections we’ve made over the years, people who just have so much to give. The market is where we come together to share, even just for a few minutes, our love for food and connection.”

Join Aruna Lee for a Foodwise Demo tomorrow, May 18, at 11 am at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Visit these AAPI-owned storefronts, and support Aedan Fermented Foods, Nusa, and Volcano Kimchi at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays.

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