grocery shopping is fun again

September 8, 2009 |  Category:   happy purchases nyc








If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile or have talked to me about it, then you know I don’t cook. This goes for most grocery shopping as well. Mark takes care of that too. But yesterday when we were staying at my parent’s house for Labor Day Weekend after our trip to Central Park, we all went grocery shopping together as a family at HMart, the Korean grocery chain (OMG, they have a website?!?). I actually do enjoy shopping at an Asian grocery store as opposed to a regular old supermarket which I find really boring – I usually just end up aimlessly wandering the aisles, not helping Mark pick out the family groceries if I do happen to go food shopping with him (I know, I know). But at HMart, there’s loads of fun stuff to look at, especially all the Engrish and funny little illustrated characters that are on almost every label and logo. Had we not been so utterly and ridiculously stuffed from our buffet lunch just prior to our shopping trip we would have tossed more stuff in our cart (no, seriously. Like we had 3 heaping plates of food each plus bubble tea and we were so full that we didn’t even eat dinner. And this was no late lunch either).

At the store, Mark got excited about cheap pork belly, the girls got excited about Hello Kitty crackers in peel-off cups, my dad was excited to find multi-pack $1 lightbulbs and I…got in trouble for taking pictures inside the store. 3 employees came after me, but after I explained that I was just taking photos of my children, they got seriously embarrassed and offered us 2 free boxes of plastic gloves to compensate for the harassment. I’m not really sure what they thought I was doing, but they did say that I had to erase all my pictures. I’m not having any of that. What’s with Asians and their suspicions about photography? Reminds me of the times my friends and I got chased out of stores in Chinatown for taking photos when I ran my webzine. I mean look at me…do I look suspicious?

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  • unha September 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    mmm. i need to go get our korean groceries..

  • Basht September 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Hello Kitty crackers!!! i’d be excited if i found those!

  • Lecia September 8, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    I once was asked not to take photos at Whole Foods…and I read another blogger describe being shouted at (!) at an upscale bakery in Chicago for taking photos. Kinda makes me pause – or at least work on my stealth skills…

  • cindy September 8, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    haha… I think they thought you were taking pictures for competitor stores? I did that when they first opened one here and got into trouble… it was the same when I was visiting Korea. They wouldn’t let me take any pictures inside grocery stores.

    But I do love perusing the aisles; there’s so much goodness that is easy to overlook!

  • Amanda September 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    haha you are so right!! What is it about asian people and photography? It’s like they think you are going to sell their souls to the enemy or something.

  • Christie September 8, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    That was my first thought, too. “Wow, they ‘let’ her take pics inside the store?” I think Asians fear people taking pics for competition sake. My friend got in trouble for taking pics inside 99 Ranch for same reason. That’s nice of them to offer you something for your troubles. Once again, great pics. Thanks for sharing.

  • kin September 8, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    the first pic of little c in the cart with all the blurred products behind is perfection.
    what are those noodles like? do they really taste like tea?

  • leslie September 8, 2009 at 11:52 pm


    And two weeks ago we were in SF’s Chinatown. . .my husband snapped a photo of my son in the store, and we were promptly scolded. No offerings of gloves, though.

  • Andrew Thornton September 9, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Sounds like someone’s trying to cover up something illegal. Good thing they didn’t break your camera! And perhaps the two free boxes of gloves were that thing that they probably wished they had when they were raising kids and therefore thought you should have what they didn’t. Maybe?

  • amanda September 9, 2009 at 1:16 am

    I noticed that Claudine and Mia have similar short hairdos. I was wondering if this was your idea or the girls? I am currently fighting with my 8 year old to cut her hair. She likes it long but I hate how it hangs in her face, gets in the food she’s eating etc…

  • Annie from Seattle September 9, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Tell me you took the gloves.

  • ChantaleP September 9, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Mmmm, reminds me to stock up too!
    btw, it’s not just asians who are camera-shy when it comes to business. It becomes a proprietary thing and like alot of the comments before me, it’s all about business and the fear of spy-shopping, competitiveness etc. Because ppl really do that!

  • Demara September 9, 2009 at 4:46 am

    I like the free advertising!! Why wouldn’t they? crazy! THX for the pix 🙂 hehe I don’t cook either. Plus when we go shopping I just sit back and watch Jeff shop…{I will toss things in that grab my eye though}…*sheepishly sigh*

  • alice @quaintliving September 9, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Ha yes, as I was scrolling down I was wondering how you got away with taking pics in an Asian grocery store : )

  • Jenna September 9, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Kin, the noodles do have a subtle tea flavor as I recall.
    Annie, yes, I took the gloves (though Mark kept trying to put them back, haha).

  • mina September 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    ooh! which h-mart is this? we go to a way too small one in woodside.

  • Lois September 10, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    That salty / sweet snack aisle was and still is my favourite spot in any Asian grocery store!

  • Jenna September 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Mina, this was in the Little Neck store. Don’t bring a camera.

  • mina September 13, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    thanks! maybe a secret spy camera, but i’m sure i’ll be too busy buying everything!

  • ray September 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I love all the orange in the photo 2nd from the bottom, from Mia’s shirt to the shelves to the guy in the background…

  • sara October 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    you can’t take photos at many stores, in general, for privacy reasons. Gap, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, etc. they all have rules against photography in stores and they will seize and delete your photos if you’re acting suspicious. Please don’t be ignorant and say what’s up with Asians. H-Mart is a KOREAN grocery store, and ASIA is a continent with many countries and different asian cultures. Many ‘Asians” that live in America are often Americans, also.

  • Jenna October 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Sara, I’m not sure I understand your comment about my comment being ignorant. Of course I know H-Mart is a Korean store. I’m Korean. And of course I know Asia is a continent with many countries. I’m Asian as well, and also American. I think you are taking my comment out of context as I wrote that I had similar experiences in Chinatown as well as this KOREAN supermarket. But as I am learning, this is not just an “Asian” thing, as my friend recently had similar experiences in France.

  • Fog and Thistle October 9, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I have a similar aversion to grocery shopping as well, and what’s worse is that I actually do the cooking in my house. It can be pretty problematic. When I worked in retail a hundred years ago, our stores policy against people taking pictures had to do with potential theft. Strange that they’d give you free gloves once you explained your were photographing your girls! Shame that the site is all in Korean, I want to score those Hello Kitty crackers for Amelia!