This Burnaby Koreatown market dusts off COVID and soars

A question needed to be answered and it was crucial.

I love food, but am not great when it comes to hot spices and so I asked a clerk at HanNam Supermarket in Burnaby last Saturday for some help.

I was trying to pick out some gochujang sauce, but many of the labels were in Korean. Some had the English words “super hot” and I definitely didn’t want those so I imposed on this clerk for some interpretation.

I’m always wary of asking staff for help because in many English grocery stores, they usually act like it’s a huge imposition.

At HanNam, however, the staff literally leap across the room to help. The clerk spend a good three minutes going through all of the labels to try and find the “mild” gochujang. At that point, I really felt guilty for taking up his time but he said he understood and that he was partial to milder food.

The clerk finally found what I needed, smiled and went on his way.

That was amazing.

That’s the kind of experience I always have at HanNam, which is located in Burnaby’s Koreatown business district on North Road.

If you haven’t been here before, it’s a hoot. Lots of businesses straddling North Road on the Burnaby/Coquitlam border. There’s restaurants and travel agencies and, of course, HanNam – for me, the centrepiece of the area.

It’s a special time for HanNam because it’s their 17th anniversary. I didn’t realize that and was thrilled at the sale items.

The store has taken great pains to comply with COVID-19 rules, especially when it comes to limiting how many people are inside at any one time.

The man guarding the door and washing all the baskets was a jaunty fellow who chatted with me about government policies and when I thought the pandemic would end (not this year, I said).

“Lots of good prices,” he said. “It’s a special time.”

He meant the anniversary, not COVID-19.

HanNam is the kind of place that makes Burnaby such a wonderful place to live. There are these pockets of cultures that have set up in defined areas, making for a strong sense of community.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.




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