How Amy Hsiao's Taiwanese Heritage and Love of Food Inspired Cultural Food Kit Brand, Kitsby

Ever since we first bit into rich Kitsby mooncakes, we've been utterly obsessed with the Asian baking and culinary kit brand—but that was just the beginning of our journey with them.

Since, we've also indulged in their sweet Ube Holiday Panettone for Christmas and gathered around the burner to enjoy the varied savory and spicy flavors of their Ultimate Hot Pot Kit, which both took classic Asian flavors and brought them to the mainstream with delicious, approachable recipes. We love how accessible the kits are and the way they showcase the versatility of traditional Asian ingredients, and Amy Hsiao is the mastermind behind it all.

Amy is a first-generation Taiwanese American, born and raised in New York City's Chinatown, and she created Kitbsy to celebrate her heritage and the foods she's always loved in order to bring those iconic flavors into the mainstream. The brand offers pre-made delights, as well as kits that make it easy to enjoy incredible Asian-inspired foods anytime, anywhere, whether you're craving something sweet, a decadent drink or a flavorful meal. The community-driven brand also makes it easy to turn making great foods into a social activity (even offering virtual baking and decorating courses), focusing on the enriching experience of cooking. We just had to get to know Amy's story, and she shared it all with us in the interview below.

Name: Amy Hsiao

IG handles: and @thekitsby

Hometown: New York City, New York


1. All of Amy's best childhood memories revolve around food.

"My parents were restaurateurs in Chinatown in New York City, so I had an understanding of both hospitality and entrepreneurship from an early age. While I didn't have a traditional pastry background, I was a passionate home baker, and it was a serious hobby I had while attending Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Living in a remote college town, however, I didn't have great access to affordable ingredients—much less access to the cultural foods I wanted to showcase in my food, such as salted egg yolk, hojicha tea and sesame seeds. My lightbulb moment, which would eventually become Kitsby was when I went shopping for apple pie ingredients and because each ingredient was only available in large quantities, it cost a whopping $40 to bake just one pie! I knew there had to be a better way, and that was the inspiration for creating perfectly proportioned do-it-yourself culinary kits."

-Amy Hsiao

Amy Hsiao, Kitsby founder, with mixes

(Image courtesy of Amy Hsiao)


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2. Her Taiwanese heritage informs both her love of food and the Kitsby brand at every step.

"As a cultural business, Kitsby strives to connect with and educate consumers through original dishes that showcase the diverse flavors and versatility of Asian ingredients. I never get tired of connecting with people over food. Likewise, Kitsby is a community-driven brand, so I appreciate finding opportunities to connect with and give back—such as supporting nonprofit organizations like Apex for Youth and AAPI Community Relief Fund that center the Asian American community."

-Amy Hsiao

3. As the name suggests, Kitsby really starts with their incredible kits.

"The name Kitsby—pronounced "kits-bee"—melds "kits by you" to communicate our mission to offer products to anyone, anywhere that allow for an interactive and personal experience with food and Asian flavors."

-Amy Hsiao

4. The brand is all about offering cost-effective and convenient ways to get people cooking and baking, no matter where they are.

"Kitsby draws inspiration from my own food memories, and those of the creators we partner with, like Mike Chen, Chris Cheung and Kristina Cho. This is because Kitsby is about offering a gateway in—or a gateway home—to our customers. I love when families book a mooncake workshop together so they can connect from across the country during Mid-Autumn Festival or Lunar New Year. I also love how the Midwest has become one of our biggest markets for the Ultimate Hotpot Kit because it's a convenient, fun, and accessible way for people to try hotpot for the very first time in areas where they might not otherwise have the opportunity!"

-Amy Hsiao

Kitsby x Mike Chen Hot Pot Set

(via Kitsby)


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5. Her love for tea drives many of her favorite Kitsby flavors and recipes.

"I'm a tea geek—you'll notice that from the Matcha Chocolate Chip Brownie Mix to the Earl Grey Mini Cake Kit, tea shows up a lot in my recipes—and I'm a big believer that food and drink are best when shared. That's one of the reasons I love hosting virtual and in-person classes. One of my favorite classes to teach is the Bubble Tea Class. It's a favorite because it's a great entry-level experience that offers a ton of opportunity for versatility and personalization."

-Amy Hsiao

Kitsby Earl Grey Cupcakes and Bubble Tea

(via Kitsby)

6. Her favorite go-to pick-me-ups are simple to make and delicious.

"I love a balance of sweet and salt, so for a quick snack that hits those notes I gravitate towards something easy to whip up like our Salty Bae Cookie Mix. Another favorite pick-me-up when I want a kick of caffeine is the Matcha Tornado—a matcha vanilla latte with boba pearls and matcha cream. It'll get you through any afternoon slump!"

-Amy Hsiao

Kitsby Salty Bae Cookies and MAtcha Bubble Tea Kit

(via Kitsby)

7. The best advice she ever got came from a college counselor.

"'Always embrace ambiguity.' These three simple words have followed me throughout my career and have helped me learn to pivot in certain circumstances—COVID-19 being a big one!"

-Amy Hsiao


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8. The biggest habit that has helped Amy and Kitsby get to where they are today is never getting too comfortable with where they are, no matter how much growth they've seen.

"We also strongly believe in pivoting inch by inch so that we are able to craft the perfect product. Our products are a labor of love and have been tweaked throughout the last few years to make a more efficient and better experience."

-Amy Hsiao

9. The most rewarding thing about her work is the chance to connect directly with producers to source raw ingredients straight from Asia.

"To ensure quality and sustainability, I travel to Asia to meet the people we work with, from a tea farm in Uji, Kyoto to folks in Thailand who help us save shrimp heads from becoming food waste by way of using them as a delicious, flavorful part of our hotpot soup bases."

-Amy Hsiao

Kitsby Hot Pot Soup Bases

(via Kitsby)

10. Food truly is at the center of everything Amy does.

"My passion is taking my own nostalgic moments to create new memories for others through food and culture. My mission is to become a global citizen and to explore new cultures through the lens of a first-generation American-born Chinese woman, one bite at a time."

-Amy Hsiao


For more on the entrepreneurs behind our favorite brands, click HERE to read all about Shai Eisenman and her viral brand, Bubble Skincare.