SEATTLE -- Uwajimaya, a three-unit Asian specialty grocery/gift shop here, has been courting Asian and non-Asian customers alike with special "foods weeks" during which specific ethnic fare is featured.
The most recent was "Philippine Foods Week" which occurred earlier this month and was timed to coincide with Philippines Independence Day.
Center Store grocery items featured during Philippine Foods Week included Royal Blossom Jasmine Rice, $7.99 for a 20-pound bag; Chaokoh coconut milk, 69 cents a 13.5-ounce can; Gina mango nectar, 55 cents an 8.5-ounce can; 50-count Lumpia (egg roll) wrappers, $1.79; Maynila Nata de Coco Coconut Gel, $1.29 a 12-ounce package; Knorr Sinigana Tamarind soup base, two 1.4-ounce boxes for 99 cents; Ligo hot or regular sardines in tomato sauce, 59 cents a 5.5-ounce tin; and Zida Chicharrones (fried pork skins), $1.75 a 4-ounce bag.
"In the Filipino community Philippines Independence Day is a very big holiday, so we just put the foods out that celebrate that event for them. We feature something special in the deli. We have grocery and gift items that we find for Philippines Independence Week that are imported from the Philippines," said Margaret Woo, retail advertising manager.
However, Woo said that Philippine Foods Week is one of Uwajimaya's "smaller" promotions.
"Our main event is usually for Hawaii Week, or our anniversary. During the holidays we do special events. We do special events throughout the year and usually have something every month or every other month. We try to follow all of the community events," she said.
"We try to do the Korean Food Week, Chinese New Year, and the Philippine Food Week. We bring in groups from Japan that want to show their food and have tastings in the United States. We will demonstrate Japanese food in at least one of the stores," she said.
Woo said the food weeks are not just geared towards Asian shoppers, but attract a large cross section of the community.
She explained that the store aims to draw everyone, so it promotes its events in many different kinds of publications.
"We've always had a good cross section of people. People are becoming more aware and more willing to try different foods," Woo added.
Historically the food weeks are accompanied with massive in-store tastings, but this year Uwajimaya forsook the tasting because the company was still establishing its newest store, which opened in Beaverton, Ore., in April.