New York Magazine

Duck Feet, Gochujang, and a Pint of Häagen-Dazs

The new supermarket is a mirror of immigrant New York.

IN A TIME WHEN traditional supermarkets are on the wane, massive so-called ethnic stores like the Asian-focused H Mart and the eclectic Food Bazaar are on a tear, opening new branches around the city and the country (often in the vacant shells of defunct grocery stores). These aren’t the small specialty shops to which cooks would make a crosstown pilgrimage for a handful of kaffir-lime leaves to complete a curry recipe, but one-stop shops that locals depend on to fulfill every need, from paper towels to bamboo steamers to breakfast cereal and even pajama bottoms. They’re largely clustered in outer-borough immigrant enclaves, where space is more abundant, rents are cheaper, and families can park and load up cars, and they signal neighborhood demographic shifts as much as the changing dietary preferences of today’s New Yorkers.

What they have in common is a pragmatic desire to appeal to not only immigrants but everyone by stocking their shelves with an all-inclusive mix of imports and familiar domestic products. Still, each of these mega-marts has its particular strengths. Here, we take a close look at some of the shelves that best represent them.


Kroger Meets Kalustyan’s

LOCATION VISITED: 42-02 Northern Blvd., Long Island City

ORIGIN STORY: Founded in 1988 as Bogopa (Korean for “yearning for you,” and now the parent-company name) by Francis An, a Korean-born immigrant who arrived in New York via Argentina. When he couldn’t find the Latino and Korean ingredients he needed, he opened his first store, in Corona.

BRANCHES: 24 in the tristate area,

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