June is Pride Month, and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking with some of our favorite queer-owned and queer-run brands to highlight their missions and their favorite products.
We had the chance to speak with Kim Pham, a co-founder of Omsom, which makes starter packs of seasoning and spices that has become one of our favorite ways to cook Asian cuisine at home.
Kim told us the business started because “my sister and I never felt seen by ‘ethnic aisles’ in grocery aisles and so we wanted to reimagine this category.”
Being proud and outspoken is part of the brand ethos. Kim said that “Omsom roughly translates to rowdy or rambunctious. It’s seen as over the top, which is something that Asian women aren’t seen as enough. It’s also tied to my queerness, too, and being proud and loud of that, since Omsom began around the time when I started to be outwardly identifying as bi.”
Kim said that Omsom is important to her and her sister because “in many ways, we’re building the world we want to see through Omsom.”
This is why they've launched a campaign to tackle the stigma of MSG. “It’s really hard to talk about the Asian-American experience without talking about MSG,” Kim said, “which is why we wanted to launch this product so badly.”
Kim said that “MSG got a bad rap because a doctor had written a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine essentially saying that it made him feel sick. Chinese Restaurant Syndrome came from that letter. A bunch of studies were debunked, but they affirmed the link between MSG and those symptoms.
“MSG is an often used ingredient for plenty of communities of color. Through these xenophobic myths for largely anti-Chinese hate, as dirty, and unhealthy has been perpetuated.”
This is why Omsom just launched a collaboration with Pepper Teigen that highlights MSG, front and center. The starter called Krapow, which translates to holy basil in Thai, is a chili basil stir-fry that blends sweet, spicy, and umami perfectly. Needless to say, it’s delicious.
Pepper Teigen's Krapow
“That’s what we wanted to do with this collab: we wanted to show that MSG is no more dangerous for you than salt.”
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