Meet the Asian American Entrepreneur Who’s Diversifying the Grocery Delivery Game
Asian grocery stores are an incredible resource for home cooks and restaurant chefs across the country. Beloved for their hard-to-find treasures (say, a blush pink pineapple) and pantry staples (chili sauces for days), neighborhood Asian grocery stores are a key part of their communities. But what if you don’t live near one? Or you want even more options for produce, snacks, and seasonings? Enter: Andrea Xu and her innovative grocery delivery service, Umamicart.
Umamicart offers home delivery for Asian groceries. Need fresh produce items, like snow pea shoots? You can get ‘em at Umamicart. Looking for protein? You’ll find whatever you need there, whether it’s tofu or Wagyu beef. There’s also a wealth of noodles, pantry staples, snacks, sweets, and even an array of specialty beverages.
So what sets Umamicart apart from other grocery delivery services — or your neighborhood Asian grocery? Honestly, I could write a book about how special Umamicart is. First, Xu has assembled an expert buying team who focuses on sourcing the freshest and best of everything. She also has a keen eye for up-and-coming brands from Asian and Asian American entrepreneurs, so you can stay ahead of food trends and support new business owners. The website is total eye candy — seriously, I want to give their designer a standing ovation — that’s easy to browse.
It’s Xu’s background as a Chinese woman raised in Spain that sparked such a passion for quality ingredients. She remembers childhood meals bookmarked with Spanish ham and mapo tofu. Whether her family was eating traditional Chinese dishes in their restaurant or combining ingredients in unconventional ways, mealtime was a method for bonding with each other. Through familiar flavors and new culinary experiences, Xu created her unique culinary story.
Order groceries through Umamicart, and you’ll do the same. “Whether you grew up with these flavors, or are embarking on new culinary adventures, my hope is the same,” explains Xu. “To bring you and your loved ones to the table.”
Sounds good? Absolutely! In fact, it sounds great. But how does Umamicart work? Xu wanted to make shopping feel like a personalized experience: Every single item on Umamicart’s “shelves” includes context about how to use it. There’s also regularly a snippet of information about the company or artisan who made it. This turns grocery shopping into an opportunity to educate yourself, build community, and seek inspiration for your own dinner table. It’s one of the key points to Umamicart’s success, and it’s important to Xu, as a shopper herself.
Before founding her company, she realized that most online Asian grocers were hyper-focused on a singular cuisine; they didn’t offer the breadth of ingredients she was looking for to fill her diverse pantry. Besides, she points out, they were missing the curation she needed to help her discover new favorites.
My favorite thing about Umamicart (and I’m betting yours, too) is the fact that browsing the thousands of ingredients feels just like getting lost in a gorgeous store. I could spend hours clicking on items and learning about them. But if you need a place to start, check out Umamicart’s curated lists. You can shop by departments or regions, like Southeast Asia and East Asia. Definitely don’t miss their Women’s History Month-inspired list of women-founded products. Through the end of March, you can even score 20 percent off items like Fly By Jing’s sauce sampler and Kitsby’s Salty Bae cookie mix.
Once you’ve filled your virtual cart — you can do it on the website, or through their app — it’s time to get excited for your delivery. Unlike many big-box grocery delivery services, Umamicart uses eco-friendly packaging, and each box is hand-packed to ensure quality. Umamicart has even done away with the worst part about online grocery shopping: the wait. If you live within their local delivery zone, you can get the goods mere hours after you buy. But don’t worry: Umamicart also delivers across the country. Use the transit time to get inspired for your upcoming culinary adventures, and your new favorite ingredients will be there before you know it.