Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Green Shoots in My Community

 

I live near Little Asia in Mesa. This commercial community has been flourishing, revitalizing a portion of a run-down part of town. The latest good sign is the opening of an H Mart. This is a Korean-American supermarket chain with everything from inexpensive to luxury items. The store opened as Arizona started recovering from the governor’s knee on disfavored businesses’ necks. The parking lot is full, every day. This entrepreneurial audacity is worth celebrating this Independence Day weekend.

H Mart entry sign You can see the lettering on the entry all the way across the parking lot. In huge block letters, this company set out its policy, before any state or local official edict:

NO MASK

NO ENTRY

As you pass the entry checkpoint, you find an employee whose entire job is entry sanitation, wiping down carts, and politely directing your attention to the hand sanitizer dispenser and the free food handler gloves you might want to wear. Inside everything is clean and well presented.

The produce section sets the tone, with Western, Korean, and other Asian fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Back in the fresh meat section they even have saltwater tanks for fresh live lobster and fish. The overall experience is captured in their motto:

A Korean tradition made in America

Of course, you get what you pay for, yet fruit and vegetables from this region are as cheap or cheaper than established grocery chain prices. Bulk bags of rice come in cheaper than a dollar a pound. In short, a household on any budget could eat well shopping in this new store.

This matters to Mesa, to Arizona, and to America as these are all new jobs. The employees reflect our community from behind their company issue masks. That is, this is not an ethnically cliquish place. The full parking lot and the shopping experience reinforce the national jobs report for June. This vibrant new business has filled a space left vacant for over a decade, since a large retailer threw in the towel. Americans are refusing to lay down and quit. That is worth celebrating this Independence Day weekend.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. philo Member

    Clifford A. Brown: This entrepreneurial audacity is worth celebrating this Independence Day weekend.

    I thought the proper term these days was caucasity.

    • #1
    • July 3, 2020, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Let us know if you are ever in the Seattle area and we will take you to Uwajimaya. 

    • #2
    • July 3, 2020, at 1:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Randy Webster Member

    I want to try a durrian.

    • #3
    • July 3, 2020, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Nohaaj Coolidge

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink. 

    • #4
    • July 3, 2020, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Randy Webster Member

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    • #5
    • July 3, 2020, at 9:38 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    We purchased a packet of a durian-flavored asian buns, but it was blended with that bean paste used so often in that region, and which I intensely dislike. So while I’ve technically had durian, I still cannot tell you what it actually tastes like.

    • #6
    • July 4, 2020, at 1:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  7. Randy Webster Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    We purchased a packet of a durian-flavored asian buns, but it was blended with that bean paste used so often in that region, and which I intensely dislike. So while I’ve technically had durian, I still cannot tell you what it actually tastes like.

    Back when I was playing WoW, one of my more or less constant companions was a Singaporean. She really liked durrians, and told me about it whenever she and her husband bought some. She never mentioned the smell. That I got from Patrick O’Brian.

    • #7
    • July 4, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    H-Mart’s European arm, Oseyo, is great. (Especially because I used to shop at an H-Mart in MA, so I knew what I was getting here, although they are vastly smaller than the US ones). The banchan section is killer in both. They have stores in most major English cities, and I seem to be in there every week or two to buy gochujang, bibim men, or sliced Korean beef, although I rely more on one of my city’s bigger Chinese shops because they have a greater pan-Asian selection and I speak a little Chinese.

    • #8
    • July 4, 2020, at 1:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. Giulietta Coolidge

    Thanks for posting this. This is news worth celebrating, not only because of the enterprising spirit required to manage a business and its positive contribution to the community, but it contradicts the profoundly negative media narrative that white privilege is the heel crushing “people of color” trying to get ahead.

    • #9
    • July 4, 2020, at 1:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    Sometimes small, local (especially Southeast) Asian markets will sell sections, or even the whole fruit, in the freezer section. It’s also common dried or as the flavoring agent in a candy. The smell is no joke, which is why they have to be kept frozen, otherwise the entire store would reek of it. It’s a running joke with my Taiwanese friend, because I once bought a mixed bag of Vietnamese candies and my dad ate all the durian ones before I warned him that I had had to spit mine out, for her to bring back as many durian flavored things as possible for him to eat. I’m far from a picky eater, but both in candy and raw form it tasted entirely like the smell (rotting corpses marinating in the gym socks of high school football players) to me, which was horrific and unpalatable. 

    • #10
    • July 4, 2020, at 1:55 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    We purchased a packet of a durian-flavored asian buns, but it was blended with that bean paste used so often in that region, and which I intensely dislike. So while I’ve technically had durian, I still cannot tell you what it actually tastes like.

    Out of curiosity, was it mung or red bean? There’s a place in Boston that makes wicked good red bean and lotus (with thousand year egg) moon cakes, and it’s always my first stop once I get off the plane. 

    • #11
    • July 4, 2020, at 1:56 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    We purchased a packet of a durian-flavored asian buns, but it was blended with that bean paste used so often in that region, and which I intensely dislike. So while I’ve technically had durian, I still cannot tell you what it actually tastes like.

    Out of curiosity, was it mung or red bean? There’s a place in Boston that makes wicked good red bean and lotus (with thousand year egg) moon cakes, and it’s always my first stop once I get off the plane.

    Cannot say. I have had both and disliked both.

    • #12
    • July 4, 2020, at 2:00 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    We purchased a packet of a durian-flavored asian buns, but it was blended with that bean paste used so often in that region, and which I intensely dislike. So while I’ve technically had durian, I still cannot tell you what it actually tastes like.

    Out of curiosity, was it mung or red bean? There’s a place in Boston that makes wicked good red bean and lotus (with thousand year egg) moon cakes, and it’s always my first stop once I get off the plane.

    Cannot say. I have had both and disliked both.

    Oh, I’m sorry. I’m a huge fan of adzuki/red bean paste in desserts, but most western people don’t seem to share the sentiment. I guess it’s a bit like the love of slimy food and ‘odd’ textures that Fuchsia Dunlop talks about with regards to Sichuan food, some recipes just don’t translate well across cultures. 

    • #13
    • July 4, 2020, at 2:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Randy Webster Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I want to try a durrian.

    They stink.

    I’ve heard. But I’ve also heard that they taste wonderful.

    We purchased a packet of a durian-flavored asian buns, but it was blended with that bean paste used so often in that region, and which I intensely dislike. So while I’ve technically had durian, I still cannot tell you what it actually tastes like.

    Out of curiosity, was it mung or red bean? There’s a place in Boston that makes wicked good red bean and lotus (with thousand year egg) moon cakes, and it’s always my first stop once I get off the plane.

    Cannot say. I have had both and disliked both.

    Oh, I’m sorry. I’m a huge fan of adzuki/red bean paste in desserts, but most western people don’t seem to share the sentiment. I guess it’s a bit like the love of slimy food and ‘odd’ textures that Fuchsia Dunlop talks about with regards to Sichuan food, some recipes just don’t translate well across cultures.

    I’m against live bats.

    • #14
    • July 4, 2020, at 2:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes