Twice a year I travel out to the Los Angeles area to visit family, and each time my trip is not complete without a visit the the Koreatown Galleria Market in Northridge, California. I have visited China Town, Little Tokyo, and Korea Town in the Greater Los Angeles area and so far I have yet to find a store with a selection as great as that of the Koreatown Galleria Market.
The Koreatown Galleria Market may look like just another grocery store from the outside, but once you step inside you can see that it is like a miniature shopping mall instead of just a supermarket. It’s located in a plaza with a Starbucks, and a few other shops so it’s hard to miss if you are looking for it. At the front of the store when you enter there are multiple specialty shops separated from the grocery area by a row of cash register lanes.
One of the most obvious places at the front of the store is a tiny food court that serves lunch and dinner specialties to those who can’t wait until they get home in order to eat. You can smell the food cooking as soon as you dinner and it’s often a hard choice whether you want to eat there first, so as not to be hungry while shopping or to wait until you’ve done your shopping.
The front part of the store also offers two bakeries to its visitors. Tous Les Jours is a fancier bakery, offering beautiful sweet treats while the other bakery is more utilitarian in nature. Both bakeries are a little steep with prices, but their products are well-crafted and delicious. My favorite item are the red bean buns which have the perfect balance of sweetness and texture.
Other shops in the Galleria’s front shopping area include a video store, housewares shop, and tiny toy store. All of the shops in the front of the store should be treated as separate establishments and I recommend visiting them on the way out since you have to pay for items at the individual shop where you found them. This way you won’t have to take bags into the grocery store with you.
The grocery store itself has a multitude of hard-to-find items as well as traditional Korean fare such as Kimchi. there is a produce section, frozen food freezers, fish and meat counter, and a general grocery section. The general grocery section has an entire aisle of snack food items and this is usually where I end up spending the bulk of my money.
For the snack food junkie there are candies, cookies, chips, and everything in between. The galleria carries multiple flavors of Pocky (one of my personal favorites) as well as their less sweet counterpart, Pretz. They also have multiple flavors of Kasugaii Super Juicy Fruit Gummies which really do taste just like whatever fruit they are meant to represent. I also recommend the Tako octopus-flavored chips for snackers with a more adventurous palette.
Prices at the Galleria Market are sometimes higher than similar markets, but their immense selection makes up for that somewhat. The staff also does not speak English as a general rule, so if you need help finding a particular item and you don’t speak Korean, you may run into some difficulties when asking for help.
If you live in the Northridge/Los Angeles area or are going out that way to visit and you are looking for a great Asian market, then I definitely recommend giving the Galleria Market a visit. The snack aisle alone makes the store worth a trip and the great bakeries are just the icing on the cake. Just remember to bring a little extra money since prices seem to be a little bit higher than average.