PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Asian American and Pacific Islander Hertigate Month comes to a close, CBS3 has the story of a local Asian American business. It is making a name for itself with its unique sauces.
“I made these sauces to compliment a lot of rice-based cooking,” Poi Dog Philly chef Kiki Aranita said.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Searching For Suspect Accused Of Fatally Shooting 77-Year-Old Man In Juniata
Aranita makes her signature — spam musubi — in the kitchen.
The dish is often found in Hawaii but resembles Japanese cuisine.
“So I was born in New York, but I was raised in Hawaii and in Hong Kong,” Aranita said. “Growing up, what I ate was really a blend of both cultures.”
Aranita opened one of the first Hawaiian food spots in Philadelphia, Poi Dog Philly.
“Poi dog, the term means mixed breed or mutt, and that’s what I am,” she said.
Due to the pandemic, Aranita made the hard decision to close the restaurant.READ MORE: Montgomery County Officer Grazed By Bullet During Philly’s 4th Of July Fireworks Feels ‘Lucky’ To Walk Away From Incident
“I was trying to figure out what to do with my life,” Aranita said.
She’s onto a new business venture of making hot sauces with the same Poi Dog name.
“This one took about six months to develop,” Aranita said. “Now it’s grown to three sauces and hopefully four by the end of this year.”
Speaking with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, they’ve found that those in the Asian American community like Aranita have overcome the challenges of the pandemic while also breaking barriers.
“Only 39% or 40% of Asian American women identify themselves as entrepreneurs,” Asian American Chamber of Commerce President Khine Zaw said. “So traditionally Asian American families teach their children to follow the footsteps of doctors, lawyers, engineers, traditionally, not to pursue entrepreneurship.”
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“There’s so many ways to learn about Asian culture, so many diverse languages that we speak, so many diverse cultural activities that we share in the greater Philadelphia area alone,” Zaw said.