If you’re looking for unique gifts this holiday season, you can turn your attention globally to find some amazing items you won’t see at the mall. You’ll want to check out this list of Southeast Asian brands to shop this holiday season, and while most of the items are made in Asia, all of the gifts will ship to the United States quickly (and sometimes even for free). From beautiful jewelry to cool bags and accessories (plus a curated box of bomb ramen) read on for gifts no one will have already (and they definitely won’t want to return).
Understated and geometric, this necklace is perfect for the person who keeps their jewelry low-key. The hexagonal shape is unique, and the matte gold brushed finish looks modern and sleek. It’s made by Anek Tantasirin, a Thai designer who sells globally; this will ship to the United States for free.
Straw bags may seem fit for summer, but the black rattan and the leather accents make this crossbody a gorgeous winter accessory (though if you prefer the traditional straw color there’s plenty of that, too). Amerii was started by two friends with a shared love of Balinese culture, and the products are handmade by artisans and weavers in Bali who earn a fair wage.
This is the perfect shirt to sum up 2020 (featuring one of my personal most-used emojis). It’s made of soft cotton material and available in men’s sizes, though it will fit most. The Swagger Salon is located in Malaysia and was founded by Koh Yung Shen, whose business idea began when he wrote the word “Lansi” (which means cocky or arrogant) on a hat. This will ship from Malaysia and should arrive in the US within 7 to 14 days.
Aarushi Kumar and Arpan Patel are the co-founders of Studio Kassa, design space and retailer in Jaipur, India. The pair blends funky, everyday items (like this take on the classic lego block) with whimsical shapes and modern finishes. In addition to jewelry, there are so many other beautiful accessories to choose from, like this marbleized glasses case or high quality, leather pet accessories.
Handmade by Funk And Chill, an Etsy shop based out of Thailand, this six-pack of masks is made of soft linen and cotton, and they have filter pockets. You can never have too many masks, and this brand is cool because they make masks particularly for petite people or teens, so your friend with the small face can finally have a mask that fits (and doesn’t look like it’s for a child). These ship for free within the United States.
Each of the stunning pieces from this Etsy store was hand-embroidered by a Hmong artisan in a rural Laos village. The price is amazing for art with this level of detail, and your purchase will help preserve the Hmong culture. This would look awesome hanging in a kids room or as a pop of color on a gallery wall (just note that it comes unframed).
Vietnamese coffee is known for its delicious and fruity aromatic quality, and the coffee-lovers in your life will flip for this trio of blends. Nguyen Coffee Supply was started by Sahra Nguyen, a first-generation Vietnamese American. She partners with a fourth-generation farmer in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Mr. Ton, to bring his fresh, organic Vietnamese coffee beans to American consumers.
Instead of buying from a chain this season, you could support Arkipelago Books, a Filipino bookstore in San Francisco which carries tons of unique books, many of which are from Filipino authors. The people on your nice list may not be able to travel abroad right now, but they can familiarize themselves with delicious and traditional Filipino street food with the help of this cookbook by Marvin Gapultos.
For your friend who’s on a constant quest to find the best ramen comes to this box filled with Southeast Asian noodles. It includes rare noodles they likely haven’t tried before (like a red bean curd rice style) plus a teak bowl and chopsticks made in Thailand, a Laos noodle face mask, plus two stickers that read “send noods.” Just perfection in a box.
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