Mochi muffins, donuts, and other chewy desserts are an Asian American bakeshop staple. Through people like the couple behind Third Culture Bakery, they've also become a way to do good while eating good food.
For the owners, Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu, Third Culture is more than just a bakery serving up some of the squishiest mochi muffins and mochi donuts in the Bay Area. It's a place where they can share their story as a gay couple and as "third culture" kids, or those who grow up in two different cultures (ie. Asian and American).
"People come up to us and say how they've never had any bakery, or other place, be the space that people can share that kind of struggle," shared Butarbutar.
This also means that Third Culture works to be a leader to both the LGBTQIA and AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) communities. They've done so through actions like their safety kit program for AAPI elders, which has distributed over 22,000 kits to date in areas ranging from San Francisco to Chicago.
It also means fully owning up to actions that hurt other members of the community. Following news over the summer that their "mochi muffin" trademark was used against other local businesses, the Third Culture team officially surrendered it to the US Patent Office this past September, empowering more AAPI bakeries to be able to sell the treat and grow their own businesses.
At the heart of it all is the story of Sam and Wenter, and how they've grown from a couple serving baked goods, to partners in both business and life figuring everything out one delicious step at a time.
To hear more of their full story about the bakery and what it means to them, peep the video further up in this article.