One of the hardest things about raising kids is that after a while the routine can get so darn, well….routine. While my kiddos are just fine with same old sandwich, the same old story, and the same old Scooby Doo rerun, I personally need to shake things up a little to keep from feeling like every day is Groundhog Day. If you can relate, you might want to think about taking a trip to a far away land….or a fun store in South Tacoma that will make you feel sort of like you’re visiting one.
I’m talking about Pal-Do World, an Asian supermarket on South Tacoma Way that truly carries a little bit of everything. You’ll find plenty of familiar staples, but also some more exotic foods like shrimp chips in the snack aisle and aloe vera plants in the produce section. I also get a kick of how you never know what’s around the corner. On our last visit, Henry was entranced by the electronic toilet seat (what is it about 5 year olds and potty talk….) which was just one aisle from the fresh seafood-some of it of the still swimming persuasion. We’ve never taken the time to eat in the food court, but I can tell you it smells Amazing! Here are some more tips from my friend, and mom-in-the-know, Kathy, who goes there often with her boys.
Saturday and Sunday are the best days to go, I think, because they have marinated bulgogi (thin sliced beef), Daeji Bulgogi (spicey marinated pork), and Dak bulgogi (marinated chicken) to purchase by the pound and then take home to cook. Also, they have an assortment of fresh banchan (traditional side dishes served with Korean meals most famous is Kimchi) available to purchase. There are usually a few areas where you can taste test the bulgogi, kimchi and korean pancakes (think costco on a much smaller scale). My kids get a kick out of the fish tanks with fresh sea urchin, fish and crab for sale. It is definitely an experience. We cannot leave there without several packages of what we call ‘korean popsicles’ I think they are actually Japanese.
The price of all this multicultural fun? Totally free, unless you can’t resist buying something (we ended up with a coconut on our trip).
Paldo World is at 9601 S.Tacoma Way, in an area I’d generally call Lakewood. Yes, parts of South Tacoma Way are really sketchy, but this isn’t that part. The store itself is in a strip mall type complex, and it’s a very clean and safe location. If this is too far for you, you might consider going to H Mart in Federal Way. Uwajimaya is also a great stop the next time you’re day tripping in Seattle. Finally, you might consider shaking up the routine simply by shopping a different section of your supermarket, whether it’s an aisle with ethnic specialties you don’t know well, or that section of the produce department full of prehistoric looking vegetables. For a real dose of inspiration, check out the series blogger Angela is doing over at The Coupon Project. She’s calling it, “Adventures in Produce,” and so far she’s tried cactus, parsnips, and banana blossoms!
Know another place to shop that’s different than the usual? Leave a comment or drop me a line!