What Asian families do for fun

I kept my last full day free for my parents before going back to New York. While my mom is always happy that I do this, it always tends to be a point of contention with her and my dad, as they can rarely agree on what we should do together. My dad is a total homebody and hermit; if he could stay at home all day, every day, he’d likely do it. He has zero desire to explore the world or even socialize with anyone. My mom, on the other hand, would prefer to split time between home and the outside world. I honestly believe that if my mom had ended up with someone just a level higher in terms of adventurous spirit, she’d likely have traveled and seen more of this country and world, but nothing we can do about that now.

My mom usually will suggest going to Japantown or the conservatory of flowers; my dad will usually scoff at this idea with his usual grunts and sounds, indicating his clear displeasure. This time, though, my mom suggested we go check out the newest Asian grocery store that’s opened in the city that everyone has been either lining up for or trying to get into: HMart off of Alemany Blvd. It’s not only a large HMart that feels like it’s in the suburbs, but it also has a mini food hall component that has a good handful of tasty Korean dining options. My dad was interested and immediately said we should go to check it out and have lunch. I agreed. I mean, why not? I love supermarkets, especially Asian ones, and if there’s a food hall to add to that, that seemed good to me. This is what Asian families do, right — they get excited about new Asian supermarkets. This is exploration for them… and us.

So we went and ate in the food hall, and the food was quite good. My mom had Korean bulgogi fajitas. My dad had a generously portioned pork katsu, while I got a kimchi and seafood pasta that was extremely rich and satisfying; I could barely get through half of it before asking for a box. Then, we perused the HMart, and I noticed the sales on items that you’d never, ever see in New York. In fact, I do not believe I have ever seen ANYTHING on sale at any HMart in New York. The entrance had a huge display of massive seedless watermelons, which I noticed every family seemed to grab one of — $2.99 each — how could you beat that? It was almost reminiscent of what I saw at Patel Brothers about a year ago in New Jersey. The store strategically placed all the mango trays that were on sale right by the entrance, so as each family entered with their cart, PLOP! In went a tray of mangoes.

All I have to say is, while I enjoy watermelon, watermelon’s got nothing on mangoes. I’ll go with the Indian families vs. the Korean families on this one.

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