Two years ago, Irene Liu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, learned about a tradition deeply rooted in her family’s roots. “My aunt had a baby, and my mom was ordering meals for her from this very hyperlocal service in Los Angeles,” she says. “It’s very, very traditional. I was fascinated.”
Across East Asian cultures, there are a number of delivery services catering to expectant and postpartum mothers with meals tailored to their current stage of motherhood. While similar outfits exist in the U.S., they tend to be small and primarily serve Asian immigrants. Liu got to thinking this service might have appeal far beyond the Asian community. She emailed Jennifer Jolorte Doro whom she’d been following on Instagram. Jolorte Doro, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, was working as a nutritionist and private postpartum chef.
The result is Chiyo (fka Nouri), a meal delivery company they co-founded in 2020. It now serves roughly 500 households in the New York City area with Asian fare tailored to three specific stages: fertility, prenatal and postpartum.
First trimester subscribers get meals that are easy-to-digest and often include
ginger to combat nausea, for example. The postpartum menu features dishes
like an iron-rich seaweed soup. The heat-and-eat meals, which cost from $15 to $26 depending on the subscription level and options selected, are delivered weekly by courier, packed on ice.
The postpartum option is the most popular so far, accounting for roughly 45%
of the company’s sales, says Liu, the company’s CEO. And nearly a fourth of the
sales are gift subscriptions. Kathy Chittley-Young, a lawyer in Ontario, Canada, bought a Nouri subscription for her 35-year-old daughter, a Queens film publicist who gave birth to a daughter in April.
“I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, how am I going to help care for her,’” Chittley-
Young says. “I couldn’t put warm food under her door.”
Searching for a postpartum meal service, she found Nouri in a Google search and signed up. Her daughter loves it. “She felt it gave her the boost she wouldn’t have eating other kinds of foods, like peanut butter toast,” Chittley-Young says. Chiyo (fka Nouri) will launch national delivery next month and is moving from its 300 square-foot Lower East Side kitchen to one more than 20 times that size in Kearny, New Jersey.