Hi there! We're Ashley Xie and Hedy Yu, co-founders, childhood friends and daughters of immigrants who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal.
As second-generation Chinese Americans, we grew up in two worlds that were sometimes hard to navigate – at home, we spoke Mandarin and celebrated home cooked Chinese food like kou shui ji (Sichuan mouth-watering chicken), while at school, we chatted in English between bites of chicken sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. There were so many "American" things we loved but in an effort to prove our “American-ness” and be cool, we sometimes hid or rejected our family’s language and traditions.
As we got older and went to college, we realized how little access we had to our food and culture and started to appreciate our Chinese heritage more – our moms’ food, Asian grocery stores, Chinese language. We began to connect with this part of ourselves, especially through food, and were inspired to create something both Chinese and American, like ourselves, that we could be proud of.
That’s why we created Rooted Fare, where we make fun, modern Chinese American pantry staples that are nostalgic yet novel, using unique ingredients and flavors from both our childhood and our lived experiences in America.
Our first product is our Black Sesame Crunchy Butter. It’s inspired by one of our favorite desserts growing up: sweet tang yuan, a glutinous rice ball that’s typically filled with freshly ground black sesame seeds, lard, and brown sugar.
Ashley grew up watching her mom and aunts make tang yuan at the restaurant based on their own mother's recipe -- they told her stories about how her grandma used to win tang yuan competitions in China while sneaking her a spoonful of the luscious filling (her favorite part)!
Two years ago, Ashley and her aunt were making the dessert for Chinese New Year and she wondered how it’d taste as a spread. She took some of the filling and just happened to see breadcrumbs in the corner of her eye that she’d used to make pasta the same week. She added them to see if it’d add an interesting texture, tasted it, and loved how the crunchiness balanced the rich, creamy butter.
Thus, through Ashley’s innovation, Rooted Fare’s Black Sesame Crunchy Butter was born!
The Meaning of "Rooted Fare"
"Rooted" speaks to our roots of heritage and to one another, while "fare" means "food" that sustains.
We're humbled and excited to build a food brand and community that's rooted in heritage, togetherness and also play and creativity!