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In honor of AAPI Heritage Month (May), condiment lovers and foodies alike can support AAPI- and woman-owned brands Poi Dog Sauces and Rice & Sambal.



Poi Dog, a pidgin term for mixed breed or mutt, celebrates the diverse fusion of cultures that makes up ‘local food’ in Hawai’i. The blend of ingredients – from China, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Okinawa, Korea, and the Philippine Islands – with traditional Hawaiian food, was born on the sugarcane plantations, where Aranita’s great grandparents and grandparents lived and worked. Today, this food feels like home for Aranita and continues to inspire her multicultural culinary creations.

Aranita’s heritage also inspired the visual branding of Poi Dog Sauces — Influences from Founder Kiki Aranita’s childhood spent in Hawai’i and Hong Kong are evident in her line of sauces, including the newest batch of Poi Dog Chili Peppah Water. The colorful backgrounds that adorn the bottles are representative of the traditional palaka shirts (and fabric) that her grandmother, Gloria Aranita, sold when she worked at the plantation store in Waipahu.

Aranita’s newest batch of Chili Peppah Water also draws inspiration from nostalgia and community. This batch of Poi Dog Chili Peppah Water is dubbed “Noelani”, marking the first in a series of batches named after prominent influential female figures in her culinary journey, beginning with her younger sister.

The newest batch of Chili Peppah Water is both vegan and gluten free, and contains Espelette and Ancho Peppers sourced from Boonville Barn, the woman-owned Northern California farm known for producing unique chile powders since 2012. The larger bottle size comes following increased consumer demand and routine sellouts of the former 5 oz. bottles that previously contained the sauce.

“I’m excited to pay homage to the women in my family who have helped lead me and Poi Dog to where we are today,” commented Aranita. “My sister Noelani (the name means ‘mist of heaven’), or Lani for short, was a pivotal figure in the culinary journey, so I wanted to name the first batch for her. A future batch will be named for my grandmother, another huge influence in my becoming a chef and saucer-er.” She continued, “It means a lot to me that the consumer demand is there for a larger vessel. We have received this kind of support from our restaurant accounts, leading us to create 64 oz. jugs of our Huli sauce for wholesale use, but to see this increase in demand for Chili Peppah Water from consumers brings me great pride in our small business.”

Poi Dog began as a food truck, then blossomed into a beloved brick-and-mortar restaurant in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse neighborhood, which closed due to the pandemic. However, Aranita’s drive to share the flavors of her childhood pressed on: When Poi Dog Sauces launched as a condiment company in 2021, Aranita pursued seemingly innumerable opportunities to share her story and her food by collaborating with other chefs, preparing and hosting dinners at top-tier Philadelphia and New York restaurant partners, maintaining an essential sense of creativity and fun (Chili Peppah Water lip balm, anyone?) and by staying perpetually nimble as a small business owner.



A James Beard “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” semifinalist, Chef Diana Widjojo, formerly of the acclaimed Hardena, has recently extended her popular Rice & Sambal Indonesian concept residency at Chef Joncarl Lachman’s Dankbaar restaurant located on East Passyunk Avenue. The woman-and-LGBTQ-owned Rice & Sambal operates Thursday through Saturday boasting an ever-evolving six-course prix fixe dinner with vegan alternatives, a family-style Rijsttafel service, curated coffee program, and more. 

For $85 per person, the six-course prix fixe menu — subject to rotate frequently and available exclusively on Thursday and Friday evenings — includes Siomai (assorted Indonesian-style dumplings, shrimp and chicken filling, peanut sauce); Pepes Ikan (steamed herbed mackerel, wrapped and grilled in banana leaf); Bebek Madura (duck breast confit, blackened spice paste, fresh salad, soursop dressing); Tempe Bakar (grilled tempe, asparagus, makrut lime crema); and Pisang Ijo Makassar (plantain rice cake, cocopandan, sago, coconut milk). Vegan versions of this six-course menu are available upon request when placing the reservation. 

Keeping in line with Dankbaar’s current operations, Rice & Sambal remains BYO ($5 corkage fee) and features a curated coffee selection including Sumatra Coffee (Java Planet Organic, single origin); Tong Tji (Indonesian jasmine tea); So Jennie Paris (a luxury non-alcoholic sparkling wine); and Kopi Luwak (rare, ethically-sourced coffee processed by civets; 6 oz pour). 

In addition to the multi-course dinners on Thursday and Friday, guests can also enjoy sit-down Rijsttafel serviceon Saturday evenings, served in the style of a Liwetan feast: on a bamboo basket lined with banana leaves, eaten by hand (utensils are available on request). Offerings vary weekly, with seatings available for $100 per person (beverage and gratuity not included). No dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

Reservations for Rice & Sambal are highly recommended and can be made via Resy. 


Chef Diana Widjojo and her life partner Jen established Rice & Sambal as a way of appreciating and continuing Indonesian values, beauty, and traditions by sharing them with the world. First established in May 2023, Rice & Sambal hosted pop-ups and collaborations across Philadelphia, most notably at Joncarl Lachman’s Dankbaar, where the concept is now preparing for an extended residency. Chef Widjojo was nominated as a James Beard semi-finalist in 2019 (Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic), and has appeared on TV with Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, and Guy Fieri (whom Diana taught how to make sambal!). Rice & Sambal will be open on Thursdays and Fridays for six-course prix fixe and Saturdays for Rijsttafel Liwetan service. Rice & Sambal is located in Dankbaar at 1911 E Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145 | 215.279.7052 | | Website | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok