Getting Lost in Hong Kong Supermarket
A few weekends ago, after grabbing dim sum with friends in the neighborhood, I stopped by Hong Kong Supermarket on Hester and Elizabeth Streets on my way home. My friends decided to tag along and were immediately spellbound by the crowded supermarket aisles abuzz with weekend shoppers. Apparently, HK Supermarket is one of the best kept secrets in Chinatown.
The store, which sells everything from rice noodles and frozen dumplings to Darlie toothpaste and mahjong sets, belongs to a chain of supermarkets based in Southern California (holla!) that imports goods from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. If you’re searching for an “Asian specialty food,” chances are HK will have it.
Over the last year or so the store has expanded its produce section and is well-stocked with Chinese mainstays like bok choy, lotus root, bean sprouts, ginger root, Chinese broccoli, and crunchy Asian pears.
The upstairs includes a wet market (don’t be surprised if you turn to see a terrarium full of live toads staring back at you), canned goods, Chinese spices and sauces, bottled drinks, and frozen foods. Downstairs you’ll find noodles, tea, snacks, sweets, cooking utensils and kitchen appliances. In addition to a trove of Asian ingredients, there are several aisles devoted to American products, such as Chef Boyardee, corn flakes, hot dogs, and good ol’ fashioned Wonder Bread.
What’s in my shopping bag? A combination of East and West.
- Japanese curry sauce (medium spicy)
- Pomelos or grapefruits
- Indomie (Indonesian instant ramen)
- Almond tofu mix
- Oscar Mayer bologna
- Thai tea bags
- Strawberry Pocky
- 1% Milk
Once I had filled my shopping basket with enough food for the week ahead, I headed over to the drink aisle where my friends were still giddily debating over which flavor of Japanese soda to buy (the kind that’s sealed with a marble for extra fizziness). When we left the store with our purchases happily in tow, I could sense that there would be many more trips to HK Supermarket in my friends’ futures.Hong Kong Supermarket 157 Hester Street (at the corner of Elizabeth Street)