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An Oregon Indie Musician Wrote an Emotional “New Yorker” Essay About H Mart, Which Will Open its First Portland Location Soon

Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner, who grew up in Eugene, wrote an ode to the Korean supermarket chain and her mom, who recently died of cancer.

This week, Oregon-born indie musician Michelle Zauner, a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast, penned an emotional ode to the Korean supermarket chain H Mart in The New Yorker. 

In the essay titled "Crying in H Mart," Zauner, who grew up in Eugene, writes about how the Korean grocery mecca stirs up memories of her mother, who was Korean and recently died of cancer. The essay also mentions plenty of delicious Korean food, like chewy, spicy tteokbokki and and gooey jajangmyeon. It is an essay that will tug on your heart strings and leave you very, very hungry—and serves as an excellent preview for when Portland finally gets its own H Mart this fall.

Zauner currently lives in Philadelphia, where she fronts the band Little Big League. But in 2013, she returned to Eugene when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. While taking care of her mom, Zauner created Japanese Breakfast, a dreamy solo project that has gained national acclaim.

Zauner's essay talks about how wandering the aisles of H Mart has become emotional after her mother's death, even more so than remembering what it was like to sleep in hospitals and watch her mom's hair fall out. Zauner writes about H Mart like it's a refuge:

Portland is getting an H Mart later this year. The supermarket chain signed a lease on Zupan's former Southeast Belmont location last year, and is set to open sometime this fall. Currently, you have to drive all the way out to the chain's Beaverton location if you need tteok or a vat of kimchi.

Read Zauner's full essay here.

Related: We Visited All the Korean Restaurants in Walking Distance From the Beaverton Transit Center. Here Are the Best.