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Demographic changes, grocery shopping then & now


shootingstar
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No idea how long it's been around, but now a major Asian supermarket now in the city where I grew up. Pop. now of 2 twin cities is:  380,000 peeps. It was strongly German-Mennonite based during my childhood and teens. In a high school of 2,000 students, there approx. 15 Asian students.. 4 of them were my siblings at that time. 

At the time, we used to have to go by car, 100 km. to Toronto and only once or twice annually to get certain Chinese food ingredients.  It used to sorta puzzle me how my poor (and we really were) parents plunked down nearly $100.00 on grocery bill at 1 store in Toronto Chinatown back in early 1970's for a family of 6 kids. There would be an order of 2 plates of stir fried dishes at restaurant for family which was a treat.  In addition to some dim sum ( ordering most types my mother never made). 

**Fast forward now during covid.. I still haven't gone to the Asian supermarket for past 12 months. But will soon.  The store is taking temperature of customers.  I don't know why since it's been proven temperature, is not a reliable indicator of covid. And will be sweating/hot from cycling 22 km. with some hills.

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There is a smattering of Asian ingredients available in my LGS. Not extensive, but I can get the bare minimum. For most of the rest, an occasional trip to Wegman’s suffices...for the most part*. The rest, I get online. About the only thing I can’t get is fresh produce.

I have always been an “early-morning-get-in-and-out-before-the-idiots” shopper, but the pestilence just reinforces that...and neither of the two Asian groceries in Syracuse are open that early. Plus I now have realized I can go on a weekday before work and save time on the weekend.

 

 

*For some bizarre reason, Wegman’s doesn’t carry gochjugaru. That was one of the things I was buying at the Asian grocery until I ordered some online...and found out I like them better. My favorite Korean chili flakes....are a product of Mexico :wacko: 

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We had our first significant Asian population arrive as the Vietnamese and Laotian refugees of the late 70s and early 80s. They opened an Asian market shortly after arriving, but I didn’t develop a desire to cook more than anglicized Chinese food until a few years ago. Over the years, we have grown to 3 Asian markets. I am getting more adventurous about Asian flavors and it’s nice to have options to get authentic flavors. 

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6 minutes ago, groupw said:

We had our first significant Asian population arrive as the Vietnamese and Laotian refugees of the late 70s and early 80s. They opened an Asian market shortly after arriving, but I didn’t develop a desire to cook more than anglicized Chinese food until a few years ago. Over the years, we have grown to 3 Asian markets. I am getting more adventurous about Asian flavors and it’s nice to have options to get authentic flavors. 

Having oldest son trapped here and unable to go home to China has brought about a  lot of more authentic Chinese dishes.

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2 hours ago, F_in Ray Of Sunshine said:

e-the-idiots” shopper, but the pestilence just reinforces that...and neither of the two Asian groceries in Syracuse are open that early. Plus I now have realized I can go on a weekday before work and save time on the weekend.

I also preferred shopping in earlier hrs. of store, no matter what type of grocery store.

 

2 hours ago, groupw said:

We had our first significant Asian population arrive as the Vietnamese and Laotian refugees of the late 70s and early 80s. They opened an Asian market shortly after arriving, but I didn’t develop a desire to cook more than anglicized Chinese food until a few years ago. Over the years, we have grown to 3 Asian markets. I am getting more adventurous about Asian flavors and it’s nice to have options to get authentic flavors. 

In the childhood town, there was a sizable influx of Vietnamese refugees.  On top of all this, is a strong base of students from 2 local universities who come from all over world.  1 of them very large ..over 34,000 undergrads and probably couple thousand post-grads.  Now with covid...I suspect still there will be shoppers at the store, because faculty have made their home in this city ...which is cheaper housing than Toronto.  The childhood city has also become a high tech hub which again during covid, may not mean as much in the future for local biz.

Interestingly, another southern Ontario city where I went to university (equally as large and international in student base) that is bigger than my childhood city now...does not have such a store.  There's a local independent big one but it is a city that is demographically abit different ..and more conservative.  (I remember being frickin' bored when I went to school and living in that city. Probably has changed ...hopefully.)

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I visited the Lotte Asian store today for some rice cooking wine that Wegmans didn’t have. Wegmans did have Gochujang. A chili paste, not a powder like gochugaru. I’m making some pork tomorrow and the meat is marinating tonight. 

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32 minutes ago, Old No. 7 said:

I visited the Lotte Asian store today for some rice cooking wine that Wegmans didn’t have. Wegmans did have Gochujang. A chili paste, not a powder like gochugaru. I’m making some pork tomorrow and the meat is marinating tonight. 

Yummers. Gotta see the photo of the dish.

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There is a large Korean-American community in my county that grew up around the huge Fort Meade Army Base and the relatives of GI Brides.  1/12 of the students at the high school where I taught were Korean or Korean American.

There's also a significant Chinese population.  My virtuosa piano teacher, the late Frances Cheng Koors, was a child piano prodigy who escaped Red China and became head of the Piano Dept. at the world-class Peabody Institute.

Frances lived about 1/2 hour from me in the same county and pointed out several Asian supermarkets and 7-11-sized grocery stores.

Unfortunately, the one super-sized Asian supermarket went out of business several years ago. I was a fantastic place to shop for unusual veggies as well as Chinese, Japanese, and other noodles.

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In the 50’s through early 80’s my parents used to make a trip to Chinatown in Downtown LA, a 45 mile one way drive.  They would stock up on seasonings my mom couldn’t find in regular grocery stores.  In the 60’s a couple of Dutch Import stores opened and they did carry some Indonesian products but the trios ro LA were still necessary.  By the  early 1990’s my mom was getting everything she needed at the Vietnamese markets that started popping up in SoCal.

I literally have dozens of Asian markets within a 10 mile radius of me now.

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2 hours ago, MickinMD said:

There is a large Korean-American community in my county that grew up around the huge Fort Meade Army Base and the relatives of GI Brides.  1/12 of the students at the high school where I taught were Korean or Korean American.

There's also a significant Chinese population.  My virtuosa piano teacher, the late Frances Cheng Koors, was a child piano prodigy who escaped Red China and became head of the Piano Dept. at the world-class Peabody Institute.

Frances lived about 1/2 hour from me in the same county and pointed out several Asian supermarkets and 7-11-sized grocery stores.

Unfortunately, the one super-sized Asian supermarket went out of business several years ago. I was a fantastic place to shop for unusual veggies as well as Chinese, Japanese, and other noodles.

Until I moved to Toronto, I didn't know anything like a large Korean-CAnadian community.   In VAncovuer, I didn't learn of how large that community until working with a Korean-Canadian engineer. Even in highly multicultural huge Canadian cities, and even being an ethnic myself, it's not so obvious to even grasp the breadth and extent of the some of the communities.

There are lots of biz in those big cities and great opportunities to shop. One just has to pay attention to signage and looking around instead of just whizzing by car.

For instance in Toronto, there is a decent sized Tibetan/Nepalanese community.  

2 hours ago, ChrisL said:

In the 50’s through early 80’s my parents used to make a trip to Chinatown in Downtown LA, a 45 mile one way drive.  They would stock up on seasonings my mom couldn’t find in regular grocery stores.  In the 60’s a couple of Dutch Import stores opened and they did carry some Indonesian products but the trios ro LA were still necessary.  By the  early 1990’s my mom was getting everything she needed at the Vietnamese markets that started popping up in SoCal.

I literally have dozens of Asian markets within a 10 mile radius of me now.

I wouldn't know where to get Indonesian ingredients except for the national Asian supermarket where I go to...alot of Filipinos shop there also.  I can tell by certain pastries and some of the jarred sauces on the shelf originally intended for Filipinos.

One community that has shrunken in Vancouver....is the Japanese-CAnadian community...alot of foreign students from Japan but not alot immigrate to Canada.  There is a Japanese grocery supermarket that we like going to, since they make fresh sushi and sashimi packs daily at good prices, for wider range of Japanese teas (but still not the same as going to Japan), salmon roe, tuna loin, certain noodles.  I enjoy shopping there. VAncouver and coastal B.C., used to have the highest population of Japanese-Canadians until WWII /interracial marriage which can change things. But not totally in terms of food choices.

There alot of things haven't still figured out yet:  the wide range of different misos,  kimchi (different types), etc.

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