What is Tuk Tuk Box?
Tuk Tuk Box is a specialty food retailer offering curated Southeast Asian subscription boxes and products. We partner with vetted small business owners and local farmers to share carefully crafted ingredients and recipes from our own community.
We’re proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian dishes and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
What is the mission of your company or project?
Our mission is to share Southeast Asian culture and experiences through food. We want to bring visibility to Southeast Asian communities by bringing ancestral stories from our kitchen to yours. We believe tapping into a shared interest of food can help foster conversations around racism and colorism in our society.
Tuk Tuk Box was founded by two Southeast Asian American women who recognized the need to create a cross-cultural bridge through food to foster social change.
We’re passionate food lovers and culture junkies. Between us we’ve traveled to countless countries, but nothing means 'home' more than the flavors of Southeast Asia where our ancestors immigrated from. Bursts of makrut lime and lemongrass, spicy Thai chili, and funky fish sauce transport us to the bustling streets of Bangkok and Manila where city goers are traveling by motorcycle or 'tuk tuk' to get to work or deliver food.
Describe the problem you are solving:
Oftentimes Southeast Asian culture and food is misrepresented or appropriated by those who don’t pay homage to the historical and geographical context of its origins. We are reclaiming our food and heritage through economic and educational opportunities for the diaspora.
What is your company/product about and how does it solve the problem?
We want to address misconceptions about Southeast Asian food through our subscription boxes, which will be available to purchase through our website. Our first box, the Southeast Snack box, will include a variety of Southeast Asian snacks. In time, we plan to offer other types of boxes including “Southeast Feast”, in which customers will receive all of the non-perishable items ready for them to cook and a recipe to follow along. Our planned “Southeast Remix” box will encompass other aspects of Southeast Asian art and culture in addition to the food. Finally, each box will feature the story of a local business or chef in our community.
Our stories feature immigrant, migrant, and refugee diaspora experiences that are not often brought to the table in media, food media, and even conversations at home. In crafting our boxes, we will dispel myths about Southeast Asian food and showcase Asian American chefs around the U.S. who are tapping into their roots and want to share their food with the masses.
We aim to build a bridge so that the Southeast Asian community can be recognized in mainstream food media.
What is the market size/opportunity?
Subscription boxes are in demand. However, there is currently no Southeast Asian representation on the market. We want to show millenials, working families, and anyone that uses subscription boxes that Southeast Asian food and culture is accessible and delicious.
Tuk Tuk Value Propositions
- Exclusive: We are the only/first US based Southeast Asian subscription box on the market
- Supporting Our Community: Tuk Tuk Box is owned by Southeast Asian women who are daughters of immigrants and refugees. Our business model creates opportunities for the diaspora.
- Cooking for a Cause: With every purchase, Tuk Tuk Box will give back to the community through our charity partner Courageous Kitchen, a 501c3 food education nonprofit benefiting refugee families living Bangkok, Thailand and California.
Why are you seeking funding and how will you spend the funding?
We have invested 10K of our own pre-seed money and cannot scale without the help of generous donors. Through our charity partner, Courageous Kitchen, we’ve already distributed thousands of pounds of food and have earned a Platinum Seal for Transparency on Guidestar for charitable giving. We have taught over 1000 customers globally and have a 4.98/5 rating on Airbnb for our cooking classes. Our founder, Christy Innouvong, has been featured in Marie Claire magazine, Bangkok Post newspaper, Buzzfeed, as well as the San Diego Union Tribune. She also brings extensive field work experience working internationally with asylum seekers and urban refugees in Bangkok, Thailand.
Between us, our team brings over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector, specifically working with AANHPI (Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander) and refugee communities on both grassroots and national levels. We have been aggressively involved in advocacy, implementing strategic policies for substance abuse prevention. In addressing prevention issues, we have noticed the huge disparities in Asian communities and lack of resources provided to the nations most vulnerable people. We have seen firsthand the effects of generational poverty, particularly on those who have come from war torn backgrounds, and the role this plays in limiting opportunities for them to escape the cycle.
Our goal is to continue to provide food education, fight malnutrition, and empower the Southeast Asian diaspora by providing them economic and educational opportunities. We’re doing this by creating speciality food products and highlighting community stories through our products. Building a bridge for the Southeast Asian community to be recognized in mainstream food and media will be the beginning of a larger project; an incubator kitchen and classroom. Our purveyors will be able to use this as a platform to scale their food business endeavors and teach their ancestral food to the general public. Through our social impact model we will promote food innovation and entrepreneurship while developing long term sustainable employment practices.
Funds raised will be used for:
- Office space + incubator kitchen
- Economic Development
- Training, facilitation, and employment opportunities for Southeast Asian migrants, immigrants, and refugees, supporting local Southeast Asian growers/farmers
- Food Education
- Fighting malnutrition