Ada Tseng asks SoCal Costco shoppers for the best Asian products

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At this Costco in Irvine, California, the lure of low gas prices and good deals on foodstuffs lures countless shoppers. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

"I think of [Costco] as a grocery store but I also think of it as a lifestyle," says journalist Ada Tseng. She's in the demographic sweet spot for the big box chain. In 2023, Business Insider reported that the average Costco shopper was a married Asian American woman between the ages of 35 and 44. 

Tseng admits she "married into an insane Costco family" as her husband is more of a shopping and deals fanatic. The couple goes over the weekend and often makes a second stop during the week for gas. She says her spouse views the coupon book as though it's an instruction manual for a game. "It's almost like a dare to look around and get the best deals," she says. 

Because the inventory varies from store to store, they've visited many locations. The freezer section sometimes has surprising items like durian ice cream or octopus fried rice, Tseng says. Hidden treasures, like bird's nest soup and Taiwanese peanut candy, can be buried in the snack and noodle sections. 

Gearing up for Lunar New Year, Tseng decided to poll the Los Angeles Times' audience to find out, "How Asian is your Costco?" Monterey Park, Alhambra, Torrance, and Irvine are "pretty Asian," says Tseng. The LA Times poll asked,  "If your immigrant parents brought Costco products back to their families when they visited, what did they pack in the suitcases?" Curiously, Kirkland vitamins and supplements were popular products to send home.