I've been a pescatarian for a while now, but I have to tell you, if I find myself at an HMart food court in the future, I will chow down on the blood sausage (soondae) without a second thought.
I still think Korean food is woefully underrepresented in the US. It's so different than Chinese or Japanese cooking. If you ever have the opportunity for good Korean, go for it!
p.s. If you want to read more Korean food essays, Chang-rae Lee absolutely crushes your heart here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1995/10/16/coming-home-again
p.p.s. And if you still find yourself hankering for more, I have participated in this corner of literature, too: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/style/modern-love-podcast-kumail-nanjiani-emily-gordon-the-big-sick.html
I'm Korean American, and this hit me hard. I grew up going to H Mart and eating at the attached food court. I grew up experiencing so many of these experiences. My family also shows their love through food. Michelle Zauner's memoir just recently published, also called Crying in H Mart, and I wanted to read this essay before picking up a copy. I'm glad I did. So good!
What a joy to experience other cultures in this way. Of course I’m reading it on Mother’s Day and missing my mom as I do everyday. I’m exposed to such treasures on Readup. I’m so glad I read this!!
Wow, I loved this! Excellent insight into Korean culture and how food was an essential part of demonstrating a mother’s love for her family. I have never heard of H Mart and this author expertly guided me on a tour of this 2 story grocery store/food court where all the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of Korea - home, existed. Told with reverence, respect and deep love. Priceless!
Thank you for sharing this, Pegeen! 2 years later, I am so glad to have found this article.
And I loved reading everyone’s personal stories! Thanks for sharing yours.
Hope this gets AOTD. Well deserved after two years!
Yes! Agreed. And perfect timing now that the book is officially released and a hot seller.
Beautiful. Deep and honest. A chance for me to experience a world outside my own.
This book is on my reading list. Really grateful to read this excerpt? Pre-book inspiration?
Another excellent read for Mother’s Day weekend.
Takes me back fondly to 2016-ish when I moved to and fell in love with Korea-town in L.A. after a first scary bout of homelessness near and around Culver City. I had met one of my (as of present day) three significant lovers at a bus stop in Culver City. One of those “the whole world stopped and we knew” eye contact moments and then parted ways and later that night we would end up on the same bus ride back home (I had walked in the rain from the Friendship Buddhist center and was soaked and stepped onto the bus a bit weary when I bafflingly heard my name called and there he was again).
He and I would plan little dates in Koreatown which included H-Mart (I Loved H-Mart and it became one of two favorite Korean groceries), Mr.Pizza, a local Korean taco joint opened up by “Glenn” actor from The Walking Dead. I adored my hair salon lady just around the corner from my abode. She reminded me of my Grandmother on my Dad’s side; the Korean doppelgänger.
This read resurrects fond memories of L.A.
The writer conveys her heart, grief and Love for Mother beautifully.
I love how Koreatown is a place that brings so many significant memories for you, Dellwood. The power of place is irreplaceable (no pun intended...)
Also... this sounds bizarre, but we may have crossed paths before. Or been so close to crossing paths. A good friend of mine was (and still is) involved with the SGI Buddhist Center in LA (if that is the one you are referencing). In 2016, I was stationed in LA and would go with her to the Friendship Center occasionally. For all I know, we could have been seated in opposite ends of the large auditorium at some point. And I frequented the green Culver City buses! Your story brought me on a trip down memory lane :)
OMG Jessica This comment is Ah-mazing!
Yes, the day I visited we very well could have. I recall vividly (though I cannot recall the name of the woman guiding me around on tour) being taken on a tour of the grounds and into the auditorium. During the chanting (which was really fast for me) I recall a few chanters in a row ahead turning around and saying “Would you like us to chant slower?” And my tour guide saying “See, the Universe supports you.” I’m paraphrasing but I recall that day rather Powerfully...
...and this instant I am experiencing the Divine Illuminative Rainbow Essence dominoes of that moment spanning back to the death of my dear friend Aaron Wimmer aka “Tigger” and the pain/grief I was experiencing in Santa Fe in the wake of his overdose death. The nurse of the beautiful child in the house I was renting a room in (a single Warrior Mother and her Incredibly Gifted Daughter) was in the kitchen one morning early after days I had spent in my room in a womb of tears and sorrow. I spoke my story of loss to her and she told me to chant Nam Myogo Renge Kyo and that I would have the potential through that chant to connect with his spirit on the other side. I vividly did experience visions and messages from him which guided me to the Friendship Center and other magical Divinity in Culver City.
🆙OMG Jessica. Hugs, hugs, hugs,hugs, hugs.🆙
🧚🏽🙏🏼 So Much Love 🙏🏼🧚🏽
This All Culminates in Motivation to reach out to his family to ask permission to transcribe his poetry to share via WordPress/Here so that maybe we could set up some sort of fund in His Celebratory Spirit for any compensation accumulated.
This is Aaron Wimmer/Tigger
I’ve a Utah National Park/Moab Road Trip happening in the future in his Celebration, as well.
I still can’t believe we experienced Nam Myoho Renge Kyo around the same time. This is an incredible discovery for me... 😭😭😭 tears of joy
Like spirits somehow find each other, whether or not they realize it happening
Thank you for sharing the video of Aaron Wimmer. He exhibits such strength... there must have been such unbearable pain to lose him in this realm
Loved this piece. Food is definitely the primary love language in my family as well. Food is much more than an object of consumption, bodily nourishment, and symbol of care from others... food is one of the few ways I feel a genuine connection with my Taiwanese culture. These restaurants and supermarkets (I grew up near a 99 Ranch) are so precious and homey. I could see myself sitting right at the table with the scene of a mother plopping food onto her son's plate.
Reading this also made my stomach grumble for some tteokbokki topped with generous amounts of gochujang!