Amazing, the Korean Shopping Scene in San Diego has evolved quite a bit since the Asian Market Chronicles Series started. We got a new Korean Market in H-Mart, and Zion Market has now expanded to one of the largest Korean Markets in America. More amazingly, this series is still alive and kicking!
Zion Market in San Diego moved to its new location in Clairemont Mesa, and I had the opportunity to visit the grocery store on its opening day. Below are some of my capricious observations:
No Grand Opening? • Although they have had their Grand opening ceremony on the 29th of June, there wasn’t any clear advertisement about the store expanding to a new location, no solid date for when the new store would open, and no immediate weekend celebration (not even a single balloon?!) It left lots of people uninformed for a long time.
No Zion Bakery? • Yes, Zion Market now has a Paris Baguette. However, H-Mart already has one. Sure, Paris Baguette is sexier with its steel grey and blue sign, beret-wearing employees, and stylish banners with nonsense writing, but Zion Bakery was humble and unassuming. And it had some items which were either better than or not even served by Paris Baguette, such as almond cookies, Korean scones, carrot cake, etc.
More Parking Spaces! • No more shaking fists, cold stares, getting a free lesson on Korean street obscenities, and the frustration of making the same loop over and over again.
More Aisle Space! • Zion Market in San Diego could perhaps be the largest Korean Grocery Store in America! No more lady folks poking my lower back and sides to make me move…
A Separate Seafood Section! • The most jarring experience of going to the old Zion Market was enduring the fishy odor from the seafood aisle across from the Korean Snack Section. But not anymore, the fish section is far away from all the regular food. Yay!
More Check-out Counters! o No more having to stand awkwardly for 10 minutes while doing slight rhythmic knee bends to the songs playing on the speakers and pretending to check my cellphone. Double yay!
Empty department stores! o What will occupy the remaining area of the store? A boba shop? Noraebang? A clothing store? It appears we will find out as the days pass.
Orange & Green Colored Shopping Carts! • How charming is it to think you are pushing a carrot cart around the store.
Ultimately, I would say this was a neat change for the good and a nice rejuvenation to the tired, chaotic and cramped Korean grocery scene. Here’s to hoping more KMART and SEARS stores turn into Korean Markets.
About the Author: Fateh is an engineer by day, dreamer by night and cultural sojourner on weekends. He will be providing his unique commentary on all things Korean.