[PAN-ASIAN, KOREAN] This awesome chain, with an outpost off Highway 99 in Tigard, is the Korean answer to Fred Meyer: You’ve got your cheap, portable gas grills; flip-flops; excellent Asian produce and tropical fruit selection over here and dynamite smoked, dried and very fresh fish department over there. And that? Oh, that’s the sweet, salty, spicy Asian idea of an open-air salad bar, where a pack of Korean ladies sets out for sampling a magnificent selection of kimchi and salted and stewed marine life and veggies, from squid and sea squirt to lotus root, tofu, seaweed and whiting roe in bulk containers on fold-out tables in the middle of the aisle between the deli and bakery. Right next to the sushi shop, Chinese noodle cafe, futuristic phone kiosk and puffed rice-cake machine that goes BANG! every time it spits out another crispy disc for the kids. This huge, clean, brightly lit store’s not the easiest place to get your bearings, but think of it as a foreign country—smile a lot, ask the staff for help, and bounce along as the speakers drill Asian pop tunes ever deeper into your skull.
Grocery list: Kimchi, bitter melon, marinated beef and pork, Korean squid, milk jug of cow’s blood.