When we arrived at Markham to visit our friends, Harry and Jennifer, in Markham, Ontario, we asked them where we could go to do some Chinese food/snacks shopping. We were surprised to find out that Markham has the North America’s Largest indoor Asian Mall, Pacific Mall. We knew that the nearby Toronto has a large number of Chinese population but didn’t expect to find the largest Asian mall here. We found out from there where it was and decided to visit and to replenish our Chinese food supply.
One thing we missed on the trip was the availability of Chinese food. Although we like to eat many different types of food, Chinese food and snacks are still among our favorites. Therefore, whenever we had a chance such as in New York Chinatown, we would restock some of our favorite Chinese snacks, things that did not require refrigeration and wouldn’t go bad easily. Luckily tofu, my favorite food, has become popular enough to appear in almost all the supermarkets. I couldn’t imagine making through this long trip without having tofu at all.
The mall reminded me of some malls in Asia but of course, although the largest in North America, it was still relatively small. We enjoyed the food court there and munched on some of small shop dishes there. They even had my favorite Tofu flower however it only came in sweet flavor not salty. The owner said when he first started out with salty flavor but business was bad until he found out Cantonese liked sweet kind so he only had sweet flavoring now. It was a welcome change from our own cooking. We also visited a Chinese snack shop there to pick up a few of our favorite snacks: dry plum, mango, tofu jerky, beef jerky, haw flakes and balls for example. However, there was a big shocking surprise.
Most of us know that Asia is known for its lack of control on copyrighted materials. Over there, one can buy a pirated DVD for less than 1 US dollar. Some software costing hundreds of dollars in US can be obtained for less than 10 dollars there. The quality varies: you get what you pay for it; it wouldn’t work at all sometimes. It is illegal but governments there usually don’t do much about it. However, here in the Pacific Mall, there were a couple of stores selling pirated DVDs in the open. I thought Canada has the same kind of tough laws on piracy but they somehow must tolerate this to allow it to operate as such. I asked Harry about it and it seemed that there were occasional crackdowns but never seriously enough to shut down the business.
We were happy with our newly acquired Chinese food and felt like the trip was just beginning again. I know for any future trips, we need to plan our route so we will visit a Chinese grocery store at least once a month to satisfy our craving for food that we grew up with.