Malls & Supermarkets in America

Big impressive Asian malls are great places for renewing your family's sense of identity and helping your kids find pride and enjoyment in their ancestral cultures.

by H Y Nahm


Great Asian Malls & Supermarkets

eseda Boulevard a half mile south of the Simi Valley Freeway isn't exactly Main Street USA, but the northwestern reaches of the San Fernando Valley isn't an Asian enclave either. Yet this spring it became home to a shiny new Galleria Market, in a spacious strip mall alongside vanilla establishments like Sav-on, Bodies-in-Motion and Starbucks.

     The significance of this development will be most easily appreciated by those who have visited The Galleria in L.A. Koreatown. It's more than a market or even a supermarket. It's a ritzy indoor shopping mall anchored by a big, bright supermarket featuring -- on top of the usual offerings of a Ralph's or an Albertson's -- every item that might be fancied by Corean (Korean) Americans bingeing on ancestral culture. One and a half spacious aisles are devoted to every imaginable brand of ramen. A long colorful aisle is lined with Corean and Japanese cookies and candies. Half an aisle is given over to teas made of everything from ginseng to Corean pear. Busy produce and seafood sections display the arcane ingredients that go into uniquely Corean gourmet dishes.



Kintetsu/Miyako Mall
San Francisco, California

San Gabriel Square
San Gabriel, California

Milpitas Square
Milpitas, California

Diamond Jamboree Center
Irvine, California

Koreatown Plaza
Los Angeles, California

Hong-Kong City Mall
Houston, Texas

Super H Mart
Fairfax City, Virginia

Asian Garden Mall
Westminster, California

Koreatown Galleria
Los Angeles, California

Mitsuwa Marketplace
Edgewater, New Jersey

Japanese Village Plaza
Los Angeles, California

Uwajimaya Village
Seattle, Washington

The Galleria Market
Northridge. California

Little Tokyo Market Place
Los Angeles, California

Hong Kong Plaza
Rowland Heights, California

For comments and suggestions visit our forum on Favorite Asian Supermarkets & Malls.
     Sharing the spacious, well-lit mall are two fancy bakeries (western and traditional), several retailers and, best of all, a food court offering every dish one might find on the longest, most crowded restaurant alleys of Seoul, Pusan or Taegu.

     The opening of a Galleria market in Northridge pleased me as much as my first visit, nearly two decades ago, to the Yaohan (now Mitsuwa) Marketplace in Edgewater, New Jersey. Or my first visit to the Ranch 99 Marketplace in San Gabriel or the Koreatown Plaza when it opened a short time before the L.A. Riots. Or when I discovered the Asian Garden Mall in Westminster or Lion Plaza in San Jose.

     The mushrooming of impressive new Asian malls and supermarkets across North America has become a sociological phenomenon that is attracting notice of the mainstream media. The Super H in Northern Virginia is so big, upscale and well-stocked that its clientele is a cross-section of the local populace. Houston's Hong Kong City Mall is architecturally distinctive enough to have become a cultural destination, like the Kintetsu/Miyako Mall in San Francisco's Japantown or Uwajimaya Village in Seattle's International Quarter.

     America's truly great Asian malls and supermarkets have gone beyond mere places to buy Asian wares. They add color, excitement and cultural vibrance to their communities. They embody the special energy found wherever Asian Americans gather. Food is the ostensible attraction but the real draw is the chance to renew one's identity by casually rubbing elbows with other Asians. Another reason I love big exciting Asian malls: they're a way to show our kids and their non-Asian pals that Asian culture offers shiny modern attractions as well as old dusty ones.

“Food is the ostensible central attraction but the real draw is the chance to renew one's identity by luxuriating in the presence of other Asians.”


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