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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hong Kong Supermarket

I took a trip to Chinatown yesterday and took a look at the remains of the oldest Hong Kong Supermarket in New York City. Hong Kong Supermarket is an Asian supermarket chain which has several stores located on the East Coast. As I recall, Hong Kong Supermarket on Pike Street and East Broadway, opened in Manhattan's Chinatown during the late 1980's. This, I believe, was the first Hong Kong Supermarket in the Tri-State region and started when the original landlord in the location had originally intended to open an Asian-type mall, with sectioned off stalls. Somehow, that never happened and the owners of HK Supermarket leased the entire lot. It was there for so many years until a huge fire, several weeks ago, destroyed the supermarket, in addition to an adjacent building.

Hong Kong Supermarket was always a landmark to me because it was the first time a bonafide supermarket selling Asian items was opened, other than the conventional mom and pop type stores in Chinatown. As the Asian community grew, branches were opened in Brooklyn, Queens and in New Jersey. Other Asian supermarkets followed and now the "Asian supermarket" is seen as institutions in their neighborhoods and communities. It always amused me how the Fire Department always flashed their lights and double-parked their firetrucks in front of HK Supermarket while making their food runs. Somehow, the fire department saw HK Supermarket to be on par with Pathmark, the local giant in the surrounding neighborhood.

As of now, the status of HK Supermarket is unknown. I'm sure those of us who are fans of Asian supermarkets and their low prices, are eager to see it return, hopefully bigger and better. The original was always tight and it would be nice to see a two or even a three-story supermarket take its place. For the record, my last ever purchase at this HK Supermarket was frozen green onion pie, the kind that is savory and speckled with scallions and onions. I hope I can shop there again!

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