Filipinos in SoCal line up for the opening of one distinctly Pinoy supermarket

IRVINE, Calif. – From homesick college kids stocking up on beer and munchies to nanay scoring a childhood favorite in the produce section, Filipinos in Orange County’s City of Irvine lined up for the grand opening of Seafood City’s 22nd US location.

Central Orange County has one of the country’s fastest growing Asian-American populations, but despite the presence of other Asian ethnic businesses, Filipinos in Central OC had to brave Southern California traffic to satisfy cravings.

“Usually we go to Cerritos and Carson,” said Rodel Ramos, “and now we are close here.”

“Going to UC Irvine, there’s a lot of Filipino students but there’s no Filipino food around the area,” said Robert Andrade, “all of us just miss mom and dad’s cooking back home.”

While the center is surrounded by other Filipino shops, this store is unique. Each section of food tells a story highlighting the culture and origins of Filipino favorites, hoping to introduce Philippine products to one of Seafood City’s most diverse markets.

“Orange County is a very diverse county, we’re welcoming everyone,” said Tito Villegas, Seafood City’s operations manager. “If you see how we construct the store, yung feel mo it’s for everybody – it’s almost a mainstream design and layout.”

While Seafood City hopes to make its mark culturally, it’s also a chance to help grow the local economy.

The prospect of working for a Filipino company near his home has appealed to former caregiver Robert Mana.

“Masaya, because there’s a lot of Filipino,” said Mana, who is currently employed at the newly-opened Irvine store, “and I was saying it’s like you’re home. A lot of Filipino people, Filipino foods.”

Villegas said the store will start out with as many as 200 employees, and a large number will eventually become full time staff.

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  • Kuya
    3 December 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Seafood city needs to add more Philippine products because I noticed that the store has more products from China than from he Philippines.