Whether you're looking for paper lanterns
, a Chinese garden stool
, or beautiful handmade wrapping paper, Pearl River Mart
is the place to go. Pearl River is an Asian-import emporium in Soho, and a go-to store for designers, stylists and party planners in NYC. The vast store spans three floors, and while they thankfully have many of their most popular items online, the brick and mortar store is a treasure trove for those searching for stylish, inexpensive party and home goods.
I generally breeze through the front of the store (clothing and accessories), and head towards the center of the main floor to drool over their beautiful sheets of handmade wrapping paper (ranging from $1.75-4.99, depending on design). Their huge selection of tabletop ceramics and tea pots, also on the main floor, includes traditional Asian patterns as well as sleek white porcelain platters and dishes. And they sell porcelain Asian soup spoons in all the colors of the rainbow.
One of my favorite sections of the store is the grocery area towards the back of the main floor. I love discovering exotic new food products at Pearl River; a few of my latest finds include wasabi-flavored sesame seeds ($2.95), preserved lemongrass ($2.35) and lychee hard candies ($2.65). They have a huge selection of tea (sign up for Stylish Spoon's newsletter so you are the first to know about the upcoming post with the details of Pearl River's often-missed mezzanine Tea Bar), some of which is available online, and includes traditional green tea, jasmine green tea and more exotic varieties like brown rice tea with matcha ($4.99/10 bags) and blooming tea flower bulbs ($8.50/8 bulbs).
Venture down to Pear River's lower level for aisles and aisles of home goods and party supplies. From inexpensive stacking blonde wood stools under the staircase ($13.99 each) to bamboo skewers ($0.50-.99, depending on size) and bamboo forks ($1.00/50 pack), they have great prices on some of the items I use most for entertaining. Towards the back of the store there are colorful Chinese masks and pretty linen table runners (prices vary - the table runners and table cloths are no bargain, in my opinion). In the very back of the bottom floor is a Chinese pharmacy area where you can buy herbs, supplements and creams. Some medicinal products are recognizable (melatonin tabs and Tiger Balm), compared to the plastic packages of dried mushrooms and herbs. You can find bags of goji berries (labeled "Fruit of Wolfberry") in on the shelves in the pharmacy section for a bargain price ($12/12 oz. bag).
Take a trip up to the second floor (there's an elevator at the back of the store), where you will find a relatively new home section, with furniture, traditional Buddah sculptures, decorative ceramic vases and lacquer trays, most at relatively good prices.
While I often stop into Pearl River to stock up on supplies before a party, I love wandering around the store with nothing specific in mind, and leaving with a few surprising and useful finds. Do you have some favorite Pearl River finds? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Pearl River Mart, 477 Broadway (btwn. Grand and Broome) in Soho, NYC; (212) 431-4770; open daily 10am-7:20pm, including weekends and holidays.