shopping


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.

Tofu Shop in Pacific MallThe mall reminded me of some malls in Asia but of course, although the largest in North America, it was still relatively small. Egg food shopWe 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.

Which one of the following has the most visitors per year? Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, or Mall of America? The answer is Mall of America and it is not even a close race. It has more visitors per year than the other 4 combined!

We are not into shopping. The 1st time I heard of Mall of America was when they built a Great Mall in the Bay Area and said that it rivaled Mall of America in size. Since then I have also heard that it was popular and attracted millions of visitors a year. Therefore we decided to visit it when we were at our friend, Steve’s house in Big Lake, MN.

The mall was big and crowded. Mall of AmericaI think it was well-designed with an indoor amusement park in the middle and 4 levels of shops on the outer perimeters. I liked the design because it allowed me to cut across the middle to get to the other side of the mall quickly. The idea of putting an amusement park in the middle was the stroke of a genius. Truckin’ at MOAWith Minnesota being one of the coldest places in USA, the mall provides a winter haven for the region. It was far better than the Great Mall both in designs and in the quality of shops.

We spent a couple of hours there, bought a pair of sandals for Kadia as she grew out of the old pair, Kadia got behind a kids-size 18-wheeler, and played at LEGO store there. I can easily see people spending a whole day there, having fun and spending money but it was not for us: it was too crowded and, although there were some unique shops, it was still just a shopping mall disguised as an attraction place. Well, they did a good job as we got suckered into it. 🙂
Kadia with Lego