I’m going to own up to this right from the beginning. This is written from the viewpoint of someone who admits he’s not used to a lot of things. It’s kind of a tongue in cheek review of the new Asia Food Market on Erie Boulevard. I say that because I can’t actually review it, since… well… it’s easier to just have you read what I’m going to write below, which might explain it all. Five takeaways; let’s begin.

20150712_1605451. The first thing you notice is the “scent”. That’s a nice way of putting it. I walked through the doors and… wow! I wasn’t expecting that I must admit. I knew after a few seconds that it was the smell of fish; what kind of fish I couldn’t tell you since I’m not that kind of connoisseur. After about a minute I got used to it; I think we all learn how to do that, especially if we had parents that smoked at some point.

2. Forget recognizing most things. I immediately knew I was out of my element. When I first walked through the doors I recognized half of the produce to my right. Directly in front of me were different types of Asian sauces. The only reason I know this is because some of the names I knew from Wegmans… just not a lot of them.

The thing is, since it’s an Asian market most everything you see is in some kind of Asian script. I used to speak Japanese as a child but I never learned how to read it. Thus, I couldn’t tell you if I was looking at Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, or anything else. I wouldn’t have even known what to ask for.

3. They serve food… but… Back in the mid 2000’s, I was walking around Chinatown for the first time when I saw what my mind interpreted as “dinosaurs” hanging in the windows. I figured out later that those were either chickens or ducks; I was never curious enough to get close.

Well, I had my opportunity on my visit here and… as soon as I saw whatever it was hanging by its neck I dropped my eyes and not only couldn’t look, but I couldn’t even contemplate eating anything there. That’s definitely a stupid American sensibility but I’m one of those people who won’t eat anything that looks like the animal it is. Therefore, I can’t even tell you what else they might have had on the menu.

20150712_155822What I do remember though was looking at a couple of the desserts. I remember the Hello Kitty cake, which is in the picture here, and what looks like those colorful macaroons I’ve seen on Instagram. I’ve always said I wanted to try one of those but after seeing the hanging bird… totally left my mind.

4. There are way more types of rice than what I ever knew. My original intention for going was because I wanted to buy whatever type of rice they use in Chinese restaurants to make their fried rice with. I was hoping that something would stand out and say “buy me”.

Instead, what I found was there’s at least 50 different varieties of rice, and that was just on the shelves in front of me. Goodness, my knowledge of rice is so limited! And almost all of them were in an Asian script, so I didn’t have a chance. I also didn’t want to be “that guy” who walked over to one of the folks working there and asking them the question… that not only didn’t seem proper, but I had a feeling that either I might not be understood or that I’d be given lots of different choices… then what would I have done?

Just to add this, not everything was written in some kind of Asian language, but based on what some things turned out to be I wish they were. Frankly, I’m thinking that if someone had been filming me they’d have enjoyed the facial double-takes I had with a lot of things. Such a stupid American…

5. The last thing that kind of shocked me isn’t that there were more than just Asians in there… though not lots. What shocked me was the number of Africans. I kept wondering if they knew how to read Chinese or Japanese or just recognized certain things. I’d say at least 25% of the customers that were there when I was were African.

Also, much different than Americans, I hardly heard any of them speak, even when there were more than 2 of them together. Goodness, I talk to myself whenever I’m in a store, and two or more of us together… there’s hardly any shutting us up! lol

I had no expectations going in other than I thought it might be kind of exotic. I guess that part is true. I can’t see myself going back, not even for the macaroons, unless one day I have a specific yearn for something. However, I’m thinking I might need to know what that something is first.

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