Exploring Another Ethnicity; Visiting Middle Eastern Grocery Store

1916 words - 8 pages

For this project I was planning to visit some kind of international or ethnic event such a festival or foreign holiday celebration. However, after spending couple hours of searching on google, unfortunately I was not able to find any kind of international activities around Denver area that were scheduled for the end of March. Trip to the any kind of church did not sound very entertaining and inspiring to me. I am not atheist and do believe that there is some kind of superstitious force or god out there, but all the church visits and religious rituals or services bore me to death. So, I decided that church trip would not be such a good idea. Since my last choice for this project was visiting ...view middle of the document...

So, I parked next door in the lot which appeared to belong to some kind of Korean church. When I walked into the parking lot of a store I observed two women with annoying high-pitched voices yelling at each other in the foreign language and gesticulating fiercely. Both of them appeared Arabic and both wore hijabs. Sure enough, as I assumed earlier they both got in car accident. It appears that one of them was backing out from her parking spot and hit another while she was entering the lot, so somebody didn’t yield to somebody. Oh well, “welcome to the jungle” I thought to myself and proceeded to the store.
Majority of the small ethnic stores which I had visited before had strong distinctive smell inside of them; Asian stores usually have strong smell of fish inside, Hispanic stores smell of raw meat, Indian stores have strong smell of spices dominantly curry. Also, majority of those type stores not always very clean. However, when I walked in to “Arash” I was surprised of cleanliness of the store, and lack of any kind of strong smell distinctive to the small foreign stores, only mild aroma of spices and fresh vegetables. Store was full of customers; majority of them had Middle Eastern face features and darker skin tone, a lot of women wore hijabs, but there were also few people with lighter skin and European facial features, so I didn’t feel like outsider. I even ran in to couple guys that appeared to be either Tajiks or Uzbeks, since they were talking on some type of Central Asian language, had Asian facial features and also were using some Russian curse words in their conversation. All employees appeared to be Middle Eastern but spoke English maybe with a somewhat heavy accent but still understandable to me.
So, I got myself a shopping cart and moved to the isles. I was really surprised by produce department, all fruits and vegetables appeared to be very fresh, but prices were much lower in comparison to stores like “Sprouts” and “King Soopers”. Produce department provided varieties off common fruits and vegetables, and a lot of stuff that I having hard time finding in the American supermarkets, like fresh dill and tarragon. I grabbed some eggplants, tomatoes couple healthy bunches of dill and tarragon and moved on to the next department, which consisted mostly of canned goods. There were some weird stuff like pickled sour grapes, strange looking pickled mushrooms, pickled eggplants, and variety of canned fish – sardines, cod livers, and to my surprise Latvian smoked sprats. Sprats are variety of small herring that always were considered as delicacy in Soviet Union, they were hard to find in the stores, but always were presented at any holiday feast, such as New Year table, or Birthday dinner table etc. I could not resist and purchased couple cans to experience that forgotten taste from my childhood again.
Next isle was full of different teas, honeys and sweet treats. I purchased couple things from this department that I never tasted or...

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