My Favorite Asian Stores on Campus

Last year, I promised to write a blog about Asian stores on campus, and I finally decided to finish this post today. What a relief!

After spending three years here, I am 80 percent sure that I have visited every Asian grocery stores and learned their characteristics. I hope this post could help you to explore the differences between them and get whatever you want from them.

  1. Far East

This is the store I have visited most because it is close to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building (ECEB), which allows me to get some stuff before or after classes.

Contrary to the narrow aisles, the collection of groceries is wide and extensive; you can find everything you can get from an ordinary store in China, and it is even more “international” because there are products from other Asian countries, such as Vietnam and Japan. I like Far East a lot because it has everything I need for a hot pot party: sliced meat (beef, lamb or pork), vegetables, disposable chopsticks, sauces … Here, I can also buy Asian-style bread from a famous bakery in Chicago’s Chinatown. The only drawback is the limited space in the store; it is hardly possible for an average-sized person to turn around between shelves, and the store gets pretty crowded when there are more than five people inside.

(Photo taken by Mike Shen)

  1. AMKO

The owner of AMKO is Korean, so this store focuses on Korean food. Even though I don’t know about the brands and labels, I still find a lot of Japanese and Korean snack super tasty and attractive. I am particularly fond of the mocha-flavored Kit Kat bars because they are only sold in Japan, and sometimes AMKO has them available. There are also all kinds of instant noodles from Korea and Singapore, and I am on my way trying all of them. Before graduation, I wish I could write an analysis of all brands of instant noodles I can find in Champaign!


(Google Image)

  1. 710 Mart and J6 Mart

They are like mini versions of AMKO because there are mainly Korean food. However, they are more like convenience stores because you can order udon noodles, fish cakes, and baos at the counter.

These two are closer to the Quad, so I usually get ice pops or heavy bottles of juice from them. Compared with other Asian snacks, ice pops are much harder to get and store. However, with the existence of these convenience stores, we can still enjoy the coldness and sweetness from time to time.

(Photo taken by Andrea Black)

When I go to those stores, rather than saying that I am in need of some goods, I am more in need of a familiar feeling called home. Those stores not only provides exotic products, but also create a space for Asian students to reduce homesickness.


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