People of Meatpacking: Judy Ong

BY Meatpacking BIDPUBLISHED 05.16.2024

In honor of AAPIHM we are highlighting Judy Ong, General Manager of Pearl River Mart Foods. Judy oversees retail and culinary experiences within the Pearl River Mart team. With a background in both hospitality and cuisine, Judy brings a passion for curating an eclectic selection of classic groceries alongside innovative offerings from emerging AAPI chefs and brands. Beyond its shelves and kiosks, Pearl River Mart hosts events like their upcoming Sunset Celebration, art exhibitions honoring AAPI pioneers, and free tastings. Learn more about Judy below:

MTPK: Tell us about yourself and what you do at PRM.

JO: I'm the General Manager at Pearl River Mart Foods and help curate our selection of classic grocery products and new food items from emerging AAPI chefs and brands. I'm an avid consumer of food and food media, and as an ex-chef, I can be obsessive about ingredients and cuisines.

MTPK: What inspired you to pursue your current career?

JO: Having previously worked in retail and hospitality, I find managing PRMF a beautiful confluence of the two. One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is being able to interact with customers. I find satisfaction in helping them with their grocery list but also value the conversations and experiences we can share with one another. I love that sometimes at the end of an interaction, I'll have learned something new.

MTPK: How would you describe PRM to someone who is unfamiliar, and what makes your business unique?

JO: I would describe Pearl River Mart as an iconic NYC institution and vast emporium of Asian and Asian American goods. We're truly a one stop shop for all your household and personal needs. I think our clothing and ceramic collections are so special and unique, and very few department stores carry the range and variety of products like we do. So to shop in our stores is really a one-of-a-kind retail experience.

MTPK: What are your must-haves at Pearl River Mart Foods and why?

JO: Of our in-store vendors, my top two must-have dishes are the Traditional Banh Mi from Banh Mi Daddy at Little Eats and the Tuna Kimbap from Kimbap Lab. I have both for lunch at least once a week (sometimes more!) purely because they're so delicious and I never get tired of eating them. For a sweet treat you can't go wrong with either tanghulu from Mao’s Bao or a Classic Black Milk Tea with boba from Tea & Milk. Not to mention all the specialty snacks and sauces from our grocery section! Honestly, I am spoiled for choice when it comes to food options at Pearl River Mart Foods.

Photo by Chelsea Market

MTPK: What do you love about working in The Meatpacking District?

JO: I love meeting and getting to know our customers who live locally and who have become regulars. The Meatpacking District as a whole has a really supportive community of businesses and organizations that make it a real pleasure to count Chelsea Market as our business home.

MTPK: Are there any programs that we should be aware of taking place this month and in the upcoming season at PRM?

JO: We have our upcoming Sunset Celebration on May 17 to celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month. It's going to be a fun, food-filled festival celebrating AAPI identity, entrepreneurship, art, activism, and community, and will take place in the beautiful third-floor space in Chelsea Market.

Also in Chelsea Market during the month of May is our art exhibition, "Not Your China Doll: Art Inspired by Anna May Wong," which honors Hollywood's first AAPI movie star. Accompanying that is an outdoor tabletop installation in the Meatpacking district called "Young Hollywood Was Asian: The Pioneers Who Made Motion Pictures," which features seminal yet lesser known AAPI Hollywood figures.

In Pearl River Mart Foods, we also host regular free tastings and demos on the weekends featuring our smaller brands. Check our events page online for more information.




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