Let’s say you have a recipe that calls for cactus pads. Or pig tails. Or soursop. Where would you get them? The answer is one of New Jersey’s ethnically-oriented Food Bazaar Supermarkets.
“If you go down our aisles, you will see dozens and dozens of [cuisines],” says Edward Suh, vice president of Food Bazaar. “Korean, Mexican, Peruvian, Dominican, Indian, Polish, Greek, Middle Eastern, Kosher. It spans the globe. If a customer asks for something from their mother country and we don’t carry it, we will find a way to get it for them.”
The 24-store chain has stores in Elizabeth, Trenton and West New York. A Fairview store opens November 11, a North Bergen store in December.
The first Food Bazaar was opened in 1988 by the late Francis An in the New York City borough of Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the country. When An, a native Korean who had lived in Argentina, came to America, he saw a need for a large supermarket that would stock a wide range of international ingredients that local communities needed but could not easily find.
Food Bazaar stores average about 50,000 square feet. To make for one-stop shopping, each store also stocks the kind of items that regular supermarket chains carry.
“We have very established meat, seafood and other perishable departments in our stores,” Suh says. “We want to give the customer the feeling that they are visiting their local butcher.”
Meats are trimmed and fish scaled to order. “Anything you would find in a conventional market you will find, and at very competitive prices,” he says.
The company, now run by An’s son Spencer, has grown with their communities. Food Bazaar regularly donates food to service organizations in each of their locations.
“Our employees are all from different backgrounds and cultures,” Suh says. “We hire local and become part of the community. That’s how we get to understand our customers and the neighborhoods that we’re in. Our greatest resource is our employees, and they are as diverse as the items we offer and the customers we serve.”
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