IRVINE, California - Filipinos in Orange County’s City of Irvine lined up for the grand opening of Seafood City’s 22nd location in the US.
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 their cravings.
"Usually we go to Cerritos and Carson, and now we are close here," said Rodel Ramos.
“Going to UC Irvine, there’s a lot of Filipino students but there’s no Filipino food around the area. All of us just miss mom and dad’s cooking back home," said Robert Andrade.
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. If you see how we construct the store, yung feel mo it’s for everybody – it’s almost a mainstream design and layout,” said Tito Villegas, Seafood City’s operations manager.
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 Filipinos. It’s like you’re home. A lot of Filipino people, Filipino foods,” said Mana, who is currently employed at the newly-opened Irvine store.
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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