It takes me a long time to go grocery shopping because I always find interesting things to check out—things that are not on my shopping list. I'm easily distracted by exotic fruits or kitchen gadgets or new granola-bar flavors: “Ooh, look at that!” So I could spend quite a while in Lee’s Oriental Foods. I’ve seen a few of the items before, but many of them were either new to me or were things that you’re probably not going to find at Wegmans, like red-bean ice cream or frozen taro bars.
The first thing you see as you walk into Lee’s Oriental is the small produce section. Most of the food in the store is packaged (cans, boxes, bags, etc.), but the produce area offers a small variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and Korean pears.
Lee’s has an almost overwhelming number of things for purchase, from a 25-pound bag of rice to a small box of Japanese Botan rice candy. The store has frozen foods, like dumplings and lumpia wrappers; canned items, like water chestnuts; salty and sweet snacks, like Yan Yan (a Japanese product) or prawn crackers; all sorts of tea and bottled drinks; basic ingredients, like sesame oil, barley, and soybeans; and some housewares that include plates and rice cookers.
Next to the checkout counter are handwritten and printed signs in Chinese, Korean, and English. Sushi rollers needed. Call Wayne, one read. Another advertised a restaurant for sale on South Clinton. The woman who rang up my purchases was friendly, and the prices are reasonable; I got everything in the photo above for about $12. (A sign tells customers about a $15 credit-card charge minimum, but the policy must not be too strict, because I paid with my Mastercard.) Even if you don't have something specific in mind to buy, Lee's is worth a trip.
TIP: Try something yummy from Meiji, like the Hello Panda (little chocolate-filled cookies) in my photo above. They're a lot like Koala's March, which you can find at Wegmans. (Typically, all the sweet food in the photo was for me; the salty snacks were for my husband. The tea is to share.)
NEARBY: Tons, since Lee's is in Henrietta, land of big-box stores. But it shares a plaza with Lori's, the Ravioli Shop, and other local businesses.