Xiao Chi Jie: From Pop-Up To Raising $21 Million Funding In Chinese Street Food

Xiao Chi Jie (XCJ) was launched in Bellevue, Washington, by husband and wife Caleb Wang and Jennifer Liao, two Chinese-American entrepreneurs. They started as a pop-up restaurant in San Francisco and has since expanded to a brick-and-mortar location in Oakland.

Xiao Chi Jie, which means “street food avenue,” is a tribute to the vibrant street food culture of China where Jen and Caleb both have roots. The couple created their brand as a way to honor their heritage and share the flavors of their childhood with a wider audience.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, XCJ pivoted to becoming a direct-to-consumer brand, with an online sales campaign, and built a frozen supply chain, leading to its products being shipped to customers across the US. They were able to sell more than 20 million soup dumplings since the start of the pandemic.

The company continues developing new products, including frozen noodle kits, and rebranding its business, reflecting its expansion beyond Seattle and the broadening of its product range.

XCJ was able to secure a $10 million series A funding from Imaginary Ventures, which invests in trendy CPG and retail brands, as well as Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu, Goldhouse Ventures, Hyphen Capital, and a group of consumer and retail entrepreneurs.

Jen and Caleb are committed to using high-quality ingredients, and they work closely with local farmers and purveyors to source the freshest produce, meats, and seafood. They are also dedicated to sustainability and eco-conscious practices, such as using compostable packaging for their products.

With XCJ, Jen and Caleb hope to inspire people to explore and appreciate the diversity of Chinese cuisine and to embrace the constantly evolving nature of their culture.