Meet the Brothers Behind Dang Foods
Dang Foods is a Thai-American snack brand, with popular snacks like their Coconut Chips and Keto-friendly Dang Bars.
Look out for some of their snacks in our upcoming snack boxes!
About Dang Foods
"Dang was started in 2011 by Vincent Kitirattragarn. While a New York City native, he grew up visiting his family in Thailand every summer and was immersed in the diverse array of different foods available in Thailand. As he entered adulthood, he realized the only Thai dishes readily found in the US were basics like Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, and Thai iced tea.
In 2011 he decided to do something about it. In 2011 he told his mom (aka “Mama Dang”) he was starting a pop-up restaurant in NYC. She gave him her recipe for Thai lettuce wraps that called for toasted coconut. He couldn’t find any at the store that truly replicated the toasted coconut he needed for the recipe so had to make his own.
Starting from scratch, he shaved thick strips of fresh coconut meat and lightly toasted them. The naturally sweet aroma coming from the kitchen caught his roommates' attention. They came in for a sample and couldn’t keep their hands off them. The satisfying flavor and crunch kept them coming back. He knew in that moment that he was on to something and had to start a snack food company. He launched Dang, naming it after his Mom. Fun fact, Dang also means “red” in Thai and red is a very lucky color in the Thai culture.
Vincent’s brother, Andrew, joined in and since then they’ve used inspiration from their Thai-American heritage to create Asian-American snacks with a focus on better-for-you snacks with plant based, all natural ingredients. As a B-Corp certified company, Dang meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance.
Before Dang, Vincent was already interested in sustainability. He started his career working for the City of New York, researching environmentally and socially beneficial products. He then moved to the Bay Area and worked with GoodGuide where he had a hand in creating a rating system for natural products including hybrid vehicles, food and bev items, and recycled paper.
When Dang first started, Vincent admits he went out of the way to dilute the brand’s Asian heritage as he didn’t want to necessarily be branded “Asian” and put in the Asian food aisle at the grocery stores. He kept the focus of his packaging and messaging more on being natural, healthy and good tasting and less on being Asian so he could reach a greater audience.
A few years ago Vincent started to rethink this strategy and decided he wanted to put his story and heritage front and center. He organized a retreat to Thailand for the entire Dang team to visit the coconut farms, rice paddies, and different suppliers making the Dang snacks. They got to meet the actual owners of the factories and the people working hard to create the brand’s signature snacks. Educating the team on what went into the product was important as Dang pivoted towards emphasizing the importance of the cultural background and inspiration.
Vincent is owning Dang’s distinct heritage and completely a rebranded that highlighted the Brand’s unique story and Thai heritage. He is using this as an opportunity to talk to different retailer partners about ways to celebrate more diverse holidays like Lunar New Year and share the Asian American story. As an Asian-American and CEO of an Asian-American snack company, Vincent believes it is his responsibility to honor and celebrate his heritage and speak out against racial discrimination. Through LinkedIn, Instagram and various news publication it is common to see him calling out for more support, allies, and understanding across racial boundaries.
Moving forward Vincent and the Dang team will continue to elevate the Asian diet through their snacks and innovation, catering to both the group that loves the products simply because they taste great and are made with natural, healthier ingredients and the group that eats Dang as a reminder of a treat they had when they were younger during Chinese New Year or the Thai chips they had while they traveled in Bangkok and could never find again.
Thank you so much Dang for sharing their story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
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