holiday gifts 2022

47 Gifts Under $50 From Asian and Asian American–Owned Brands

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

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Whether you’re searching for a gift to bring to a friend’s housewarming, something to celebrate a sibling’s promotion, or just an “I’m thinking of you” present for your parents, you don’t need to spend a fortune to show someone you care. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of nice gifts under $50 you can buy from Asian and Asian American–owned brands and small businesses, most of which we’ve written about before, for all sorts of people and occasions. And if you’re looking for other ways to support the AAPI community, check out our list of organizations you can donate to.

Food gifts

According to Taste senior editor Anna Hezel, “Everyone in food media seems to be totally nuts for” Brightland’s signature olive oil. The design-forward bottle would make for a lovely host or housewarming present.

This trio of spicy crunchy oils developed by Momofuku founder David Chang includes black truffle, extra spicy, and chili-crunch oils, the last of which is Natasha Pickowicz’s go-to seasoning when hosting her famous hot-pot parties.


Another delicious condiment trio, this one from Fly by Jing. The brand created by Szechuan chef Jing Gao is a hit with foodies, including Ghetto Gastro co-founder Jon Gray and Samin Nosrat, who wrote the cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat. The set includes jars of Sichuan Chili Crisp, sweet-hot Zhong Sauce, and a Mala Spice Mix the brand describes as “warming and tingly.”

The Omsom Bundle

Co-founders and sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham started Omsom to bring classic (and restaurant-quality) Asian spices right to your home. (We’ve been told these would make an excellent gift for gourmands and new homeowners.)

For the baker who thinks a mix is just fine (we won’t tell), this set of gluten-free and vegan options comes with four delicious-sounding varieties: a carrot-currant-masala bread mix, a banana-chocolate-chip muffin mix, a zucchini-double-chocolate muffin mix, and a classic-base muffin mix.

If they’re an enthusiastic snacker, they’ll love munching on Yun Hai’s selection of dried fruits, which includes golden diamond pineapple, Irwin mango, green mango, wax apple, and pearl guava.

Sanzo’s sparkling water is available in fun Asian-inspired flavors, such as lychee, calamansi, mango, and yuzu. You can buy one type if you know your recipient has a favorite, or you can get a sampler so they can try them all.

Quality tea sets Boba Guys apart from their competitors and, with this kit, you can brew your own matcha and cook your own tapioca for the same artisanal experience you’d get in-store.

Noona’s has been making ice cream and frozen desserts in Asian-inspired flavors since 2016. The popular Thai-iced-tea flavor is a best seller, or if you want to branch out, this bubble-milk-tea-inspired taro ice cream sounds just as tasty.

This kit from Nguyen Coffee Supply comes with a bag of coffee and a Phin filter to use in the Vietnamese way of brewing coffee. Your caffeine-obsessed recipient will no doubt enjoy learning another way to make their morning brew.

From $50

With Bokksu’s subscription box, they’ll be sent a monthly pick-me-up package bursting with snacks, candy, and tea sourced from family-run businesses in Japan.

Diaspora Co. The Trio

This trio of best-selling spices from Diaspora Co. includes pragati turmeric, aranya black pepper, and sirārakhong hāthei chillies — perfect for adding a kick to their soups and stews.

Gifts for the home

Poketo’s paper goods are equally beloved by stationery enthusiasts and folks who appreciate great design. The blank pages in this notebook are suitable for doodling, bullet journaling, and even jotting down a daily to-do list. Plus, it comes in lots of vibrant patterns, including this wavy teal checkerboard.

The Sill Philodendron Birkin
From $30
From $30

An easy-to-care for plant from Strategist-approved brand the Sill for the person who loves greenery but struggles to keep it alive.

If you have a neat freak on your gift list, they’ll appreciate this sleek, sustainable kit from Blueland that comes with hand soap, multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and glass and mirror cleaner — all of which are refillable.

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Material Kitchen’s highly coveted cutting board comes in six charming colors, like a punchy yellow and calming light blue, so it’ll look nice on any countertop. If you purchase the color To Pó-Po with Love, 50 percent of the profits go toward Heart of Dinner, an organization whose mission is to fight food insecurity and isolation among elderly Asian Americans.

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

SuChin Pak told us about these attractive handmade bowls that are sure to please pet owners as much as they (or what’s in them) satisfy their pets.

Photo: Justin Chiu/Photographs: Justin Chiu

You really can’t go wrong with a candle as a housewarming gift — but this one, which has a 50-hour burn time and is hand-poured in Queens, seems less-expected than the norm.

A handwritten note can be just as meaningful as any other gift — especially when written on a card that shows you put some thought into it. This one from Amy Zhang, a Denver-based graphic designer and illustrator, will be sure to put a smile on their face. The price shown is for one card, but you can also get a set of eight if you’re shopping for a stationery fiend.

Wing On Wo & Co. has been open since 1925, making it the oldest store in New York City’s Chinatown. It’s known for its porcelain wares, so gift the tea lover in your life this beautifully intricate set.

For something a bit more modern, consider this tea set from the Qi, which contains two glass cups with matching saucers. The brand specializes in tea brewed from flowers rather than tea bags, so the transparent glass makes it easy to document the unfurling flower for the ’gram.

For the mah-jongg enthusiast, this gift set includes mah-jongg-themed socks, a cube of tiles, and three golden dice, all packaged in a cheeky takeout box.

Beauty gifts

Recent Northeast transplants (and their skin) will thank you for this oil from Pink Moon that Strategist writer Arielle Avila credits with helping her eczema-prone skin survive its first New York winter. She says her skin drank up the luxuriously thick oil and her “hands reverted to their normal state and even had a nice sheen.”

This nourishing serum from Krave Beauty harnesses the Tamanu nut to repair and protect the skin barrier. The reparative formula neutralizes environmental pollution, so if they live in a densely populated area, it could be the difference between dull and dewy.

David Yi first launched his skin-care line, Good Light, in 2016 with the aim of pushing the boundaries of traditional gender norms. SuChin Pak says her favorite product from the brand is this toning lotion, which she’s found to be “super-light, milky, and not greasy and will drench your skin in a dewy glow.”

If they’re already set with creams, cleansers, and serums, get them this de-puffing face roller from Mount Lai, a brand inspired by founder Stephanie Zheng’s grandmother and traditional Chinese medicine practices.

YINA Bath Ritual

With roots in traditional Chinese medicine, YINA’s mugwort bath infusion promises to relieve stiffness, boost circulation, and calm the senses. Each bath pack holds organic mugwort sourced from the mountains of southern Japan.

An excellent gift for the friend who finds it meditative to do their own nails. We like this calming teal, but Sundays’ colors run the gamut.

ManiMe Charmed

For the person who prefers gel to regular polish, Strategist contributor Alyse Whitney says these custom-fit stick-on gel manicures last just as long (if not longer) than the gel manicure you’d get at a salon, but cost half as much. There are tons of cool designs, from stars to floral patterns, so you’re sure to find one that suits your recipient’s style.

Peach & Lily’s Glass Skin serum is a “holy grail” for beauty editors and skin-care Redditors. Along with the serum, the set also includes the brand’s best-selling gel cleanser, toning essence, and cream moisturizer for glowing, luminous skin.

Viera-Newton can’t get enough of Tower28’s lip glosses, reporting that they’re “extremely high-shine with a soft, subtle pigment” and give your lips a “wash of color with a juicy, high-impact glaze.”

Or if they’re constantly complaining about chapped lips, this Cle Cosmetics trio comes with an exfoliator, a hydrater, and a gloss, giving them their best-looking (and best-feeling) lips yet.

When Hero Cosmetics’ TikTok-famous pimple patches showed up on beauty blogger Sabrina Molu’s “For You” page, she just had to give them a try. “They’re cheaper than other brands and they’re thin enough that I can put them along my nose or on my hairline without killing when I take them off,” she says.

Fashion & accessories gifts

With enough room for three cards, Caraa’s leather cardholder comes encased in water-resistant nylon and premium Italian leather, topped with custom gold hardware.

Abacaxi, founded by South Asian American designer Sheena Sood, makes tons of delightful accessories, like this oversize scrunchie decorated with tiny seashells. Perfect for the tween, the teen, or just any old hippie.

If they’re over scrunchies, how about some Instagram-approved claw clips? In addition to this pastel-colored one, Chunks offers dozens of other hair accessories, from barrettes to headbands to combs.

ADAY is known for its leggings and “sloungewear” (a hybrid of sleepwear and loungewear that’s as comfortable as it is stylish), but if you’re shopping for someone you don’t know very well, it’s hard to go wrong with this silk scarf that serves as a reminder to be present.

We have yet to meet anyone who can’t find a use for Baggu’s lightweight, durable, and extremely packable tote bags. Even if they’ve already got some, we are willing to wager your recipient will never turn down more.

A charming pair of earrings that will stand out — but not too much — on your recipient’s Zoom calls. These mini-hoops are sold as single earrings so you can mix and match colors that include blue, orange, yellow, and white.

Dauphinette’s garden-inspired jewelry is made of real flowers and fruit dipped in eco-friendly resin. Each earring comes secured to wildflower seed paper that you can plant and watch grow.

Buying a ring for someone else usually involves some guesswork, but with these adjustable enamel bands, you won’t have to worry about a sizing snafu. The clever mechanism accommodates sizes five through nine, and you can wear them alone or in a rainbow-hued stack.

No matter how you feel about their taste in footwear, the Crocs loyalist in your life will appreciate this set of hand-beaded floral charms from Not Impressed.

Any sneakerhead will appreciate a gift of quality sneaker-cleaning products. For just 18 bucks, this kit comes with a bottle of shoe cleaner that will last for up to 100 pairs and a soft-bristle brush that’s perfect for getting dirt and grime off the midsoles and undersoles.

Any man who’s hard to shop for will typically appreciate nice socks. These are made from Japanese paper yarn, which, on top of being sustainable, is naturally moisture-wicking, odor-eliminating, and quick-drying. Paper Project sells a variety of fun colors, but if you can’t make up your mind, navy is a safe (and stylish) bet.

This stylish chartreuse cross-body purse from JW Pei comes with a quirky chain accent on the strap.

Help them stay warm and stylish all winter with Verloop’s colorful — and smartphone-compatible — knit gloves. The thumb, index, and middle fingers are all outfitted with touchscreen capability.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

47 Gifts Under $50 From Asian American–Owned Brands