Lifestyle · Personal

🌸 Chinatown Grocery Mini-haul 🌸

Hello everyone! Today’s post is going to be a little bit different from my normal content. I really want to get into the habit of posting more often, and that will sometimes mean more lifestyle posts like this one. Please let me know if you like or dislike this kind of post, and I will take it into consideration!

So, as some of you may know, I live in the diverse city of Boston. Yesterday, one of my roommates came home after going grocery shopping in Chinatown, and some of the things she brought back really interested me. Since I grew up in a small town, but have been interested in Asian culture for about a decade now, I was thrilled to find that the “Asian Food” section of the Bostonian grocery store I frequent has a much larger selection than any other grocer that  I had been to in my lifetime. But there were still some things that I wasn’t able to find in my local store, and had considered ordering online. So when my roommate came back, and I saw that she had a good assortment of Japanese food as well, I decided that I’d take a trip into Chinatown to check out the supermarkets myself.

Also, I had been feeling very sick and weak for the previous week, and consequently hadn’t gone out much. I thought it would be nice for me to go out on my own, since I normally only leave the house with the company of another person, or people. The weather was uncharacteristically nice for a New England winter, with the temperature being just under 60°F. While walking to the subway station, I was filled with anticipation and joy for Spring’s upcoming arrival.

With that being said, I decided to go to the two grocery stores that my roommate recommended to me. I had some ideas of what I wanted to buy, but I thought I’d only buy two or three things. I was wrong!

The stores I went to were called C-mart (or G-Mart) and Jia Ho Supermarket. She had told me that C-Mart had more of a selection, but that Jia Ho was cheaper. I actually disagree – I think that it depends on what you are looking for. Some things at C-Mart were cheaper than at Jia Ho, but also vice-versa. It really just depends on the specific item. C-Mart / G-Mart is a bit confusing, because all of my friends, and online sources including Yelp and Google Maps, refer to it as C-Mart. But on the signs outside the store, and on my receipt, it says G-Mart. It’s also located underneath a parking garage, which is a bit odd. It is technically not inside of the Chinatown district, but very close to the main entrance to Chinatown. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the nearest subway station.

Jia Ho Supermarket is deep within Chinatown; about a 10 or 15-minute walk from C-Mart. It’s on a bit of an intimidating-looking street, and the entrance I went through is kind of scary. Also, the isles are incredibly small.

In both shops, I felt very out of place at first. Naturally, almost all of the customers, and all of the workers are of Asian descent. This was to be expected, but I was not expecting all of the stares I got from both the workers and the other customers. Eventually, I saw some  other non-Asian customers, but even they looked at me like I was out of place. I tried to ask one woman where she found her shopping basket, because I didn’t see any when I entered, and she ignored me. (In the end, I found the baskets.) But beyond all of that, I found a lot of things I wanted and had to limit myself. I will definitely be returning to both of these shops.

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Here was the produce, all of which I bought at C-Mart. From left to right is a daikon radish, a pouch of five cloves of garlic, and a bundle of scallions. All of these things were extremely inexpensive in comparison to other grocers I frequent – with the exception of the daikon radish, which I have never seen in person before.

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Here are the more traditional Japanese foods I bought. On the left is a plastic jar of umeboshi, or pickled plums, and on the right is a jar of furikake, which is rice seasoning. The flavor I got is egg and seaweed. I actually tried some with my dinner when I got home, and I really dislike it. I didn’t realize when I bought it that it also contains bonito (fish) flakes. I think next time I will try a different flavor and make sure it doesn’t contain fish.

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The drink / drink additives I bought.

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On the left is a bottled black tea latte which I have had before and love, from Itoen. It was about 1/2 the price at C-mart than it was at the stores I have bought it from before. On the right is a popular aloe drink. I bought it because a lot of my friends love it, and I hadn’t had a chance to try it yet.

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Then, there is this bag of black tapioca pearls for bubble tea. I didn’t realize this before seeing them in the store, but they actually come dehydrated and un-sweetened, and you have to boil them and add sugar to them before using them!

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They look really unappetizing when uncooked, but I’m sure they’ll be great when cooked. I bought these at C-Mart, but when I went to Jia Ho, I found the same brand in a colorful, pastel variety! If only I had waited!

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Snack heaven! C-mart was having a sale on Midi Pocky if you bought two, so of course I took the opportunity. I tried a pouch of the chocolate Midi Pocky earlier, and I was shocked at how much chocolate surrounds the biscuit stick! Much more than on regular Pocky. The Pokémon cookies and cream Pocky I found at Jia Ho, and I bought because I have no self control. They also had Hello Kitty and Thomas the Train varieties, and boxes with different emotions of Pikachu.

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I am actually quite suspicious of this variety. It claims to be custard flavored. But with such a lovely princess on the packaging, how could another princess such as myself resist? They also had a box design with a prince.

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These were an impulse buy at Jia Ho, because they were so inexpensive! They are “macaron rusks”. Based on the picture and the name, I assume that they are just the two halves of a macaron, with no filling. I’ll make some frosting myself and put them together to be proper macarons when I eat them, though.

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And finally, this is what I call the “Sparking Joy” portion of my purchase. I call it such because I really didn’t need either of these things, but they were so inexpensive and it made me very happy to get them. First is a small saucer/bowl that looks like my kitty, Ichi. It also came in larger bowls, cups, and plates of varying sizes, but I decided to get the smallest size, for when I give her wet food or treats. Then to the right is a stainless steel knife with a super cute sheath. Although I really didn’t need another knife, it was just too adorable for me to resist. White is my favorite color, and the sweet heart-shaped cutouts on the sheath bring me so much joy.

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The knife itself has a little crown embossed into it, too. This knife fits my personality perfectly.

 

There is the entirety of my miniature haul from today. Everything I bought totaled to just under $30. Very inexpensive! I highly recommend checking these shops out if you are in Boston. Keep in mind though that the stores themselves tend to be packed and somewhat messy – which is probably why they can afford to sell things so cheaply!

I hope this sort of lifestyle post was interesting to you, and I hope to write again soon. ♥

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2 thoughts on “🌸 Chinatown Grocery Mini-haul 🌸

  1. First time reader here, thanks for this whimsical blog.
    What great items. I particularly love the cat! It looks so similar to your own.
    I’ve also seen those Pocky princess boxes before. When you put them side by side it looks like the Prince is inviting the Princess to dance. They’re so lovely. I had to laugh though, when I read about the bonito flakes in the rice seasoning. The taste can really take you by surprise the first few times.
    I suspect I wouldn’t be able to find anything as cheap in my own town as what you’ve bought here. Perhaps I should test the theory… *jabot stroking*

    1. So, I went to the shops with the full intention of buying $30 worth of Japanese goods but there were only Yan Yans, Hello Panda and other Japanese foods made outside of Japan. AU$4 later. I am still surprised the limited amount of Japanese goods in my backwater town.

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