Tuk Tuk Box is a mission-driven specialty food brand offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products. We partner with vetted small business owners and local farmers to share carefully crafted ingredients and recipes from our own community.
Hi, we’re Christy and Bea, and we’re on a mission to see a better version of our world. We’re two Southeast Asian American women, daughters of immigrants and refugees who recognized the need to create a cross-cultural bridge to foster social change. We understand that we cannot successfully combat systemic injustices without first looking inwardly at ourselves. We recognize that self-reflection involved community care and so we started Tuk Tuk Box after nearly a decade of working in the nonprofit industry with underserved communities. We realized through our individual and collaborative contributions to the nonprofit industry, as well as through our cultures, that food can be a bridge between opposing viewpoints: sharing a seat at the table ensures that every voice is heard. We believe when you share a meal, you become family. We hold on to the hope that food can bring a moment of peace.
As Founders who identify with the Southeast Asian diaspora, we recognized the importance of focusing and uplifting our own community. We created our brand to amplify the voices of the Southeast Asian community and to take back the narrative of who we are. The Southeast Asian community is multi-faceted, and by inviting community leaders and members of varying backgrounds and identities, we hope to encourage the decolonization of our historical trauma and raise awareness around issues such as anti-blackness, colorism, and racism.
To us, food is a universal language. Though our families speak different languages and come from differing backgrounds, food for us has always been a bridge, a “love language.” It was a natural way for us to combine our passions for education, food, health, and community care. We hope to serve as liaisons between these intersections and are dedicated to using our platform to provide a culturally conscious way to connect and to give back.
Why focus on Southeast Asian?
Our core value is putting people before profit. This has been challenging as we live in a society that continues to value profit over people but for us, there is no better “payment” than connecting with other folks who identify as Southeast Asian to celebrate achievements, uplifting each other, to grieve together, and providing opportunities. We have been raised to see each other as competition and through Tuk Tuk Box we get to change this narrative, by getting the chance to view each other as allies with the aim to create a world that’s kinder and full of hope.
We believe that becoming essential to our partners is providing a space for them to showcase their products, services, and achieve their aspirations. Through our products, we allow our customers to dive into their roots, break away from stereotypes, and recognize cultures they have never experienced before.
We are the first and only Southeast Asian focused subscription box on the US market.
Furthermore, we aim to bridge the gap between representation, disparities, and economic opportunities for the Southeast Asian community. We recognized the continued siloing of our cultures and want to show the world that we are more alike than we are different.
Currently, more than 22 million people of Asian descent live in the United States, accounting for approximately 7% of the total population. Asians are one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. However, Asians, particularly Southeast Asians, are significantly underrepresented in policy, advocacy, and in leadership spaces. Furthermore, Asian American women experience some of the highest suicide rates and adhere to some of the most extreme ideologies. While Southeast Asian subgroups such as Lao and Hmong have the lowest economic earned dollar in the United States. As a result, according to statistics poverty rates are as follows: Hmong: 37.8%; Cambodian: 29.3%; Laotian: 18.5%; Vietnamese: 16.6%.
Additionally, Southeast Asian culture and cuisine are frequently misrepresented or appropriated by those who don’t pay homage to the historical and geographical context of their origins. Through providing economic and educational opportunities for the diaspora, we are reclaiming our food and heritage.
Our stories feature immigrant, migrant, and refugee diaspora experiences that are not often brought to the table in media, food media, or even in family conversations. By curating our boxes, we hope to dispel myths about Southeast Asian cuisine and showcase Asian American chefs around the United States. who are reconnecting with their roots and eager to share their food with the masses.
We are building a bridge to ensure that the Southeast Asian community’s voices are heard.
What is Spread Asian Joy about?
Our Spread Asian Joy Campaign was created to combat not only the rise in reported anti-Asian sentiment, but to address these issues. With that, we have partnered with My Sisters House, to raise awareness about one of the many challenges our community faces: domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and the fetishized reality of Southeast Asian women.
By Spreading Asian Joy, we want to do our part by reframing the narrative surrounding our Asian communities. We're doing this through storytelling, supporting, and celebrating all of the accomplishments in the Asian American, and more specifically the Southeast Asian American community. We believe confronting the issues and calling on our friends to reframe "hate" can help dispel the myths surrounding our communities that we're all victims, tropes, or model minorities. This way, we hope to put an end to negativity by encouraging and celebrating our joy as a form of resistance.
What is a Tuk Tuk?
The tuk tuk is an iconic symbol of Southeast Asian lifestyle, and is often referred to in some regions as a ‘tricycle,’ ‘pigeon,’ ‘auto,’ or ‘lapa.’ The vehicle can be identified by its motorized 3-wheeled rickshaw design and the low putt-putt sound it makes while chugging down the road. We love exploring the motherland by tuk tuk and eating our way through the region. Creating Tuk Tuk Box was a way for us to honor and share all of our favorite Southeast Asian foods with the world!
Supporting Southeast Asian Food Education
Our charity partner, Courageous Kitchen works with vulnerable children in Bangkok, Thailand. These children are at risk for exploitation because of extreme poverty, malnutrition, and lack of access to education and safe shelter. Courageous Kitchen currently provides these services at no cost to participants:
- Informal Preschool for 3-6 year olds
- Cooking & English Classes
- Distribution of Food and Hygiene Products
- Support for Housing and Medical Emergencies
Through their work in the kitchen they fight poverty by providing both broad and specialized skills for future employment opportunities. Children learn hard skills that can be used in kitchens across the world, but also learn how to work with others, use their creativity, and delegate tasks. Courageous Kitchen encourages a multilingual environment where children learn Thai and English. They also work with parents in the communities with job placement and livelihoods assistance.
Tuk Tuk Box is honored to partner with organizations like Courageous Kitchen to give back to the community. We are dedicated to focusing exclusively on Southeast Asian purveyors and providing opportunities for future leaders to come. Please help us sponsor a class here.