H Mart is a supermarket chain specializing in Asian foods. It’s also where Michelle Zauner begins her new memoir, writing, “you’ll likely find me… sobbing near the dry goods, asking myself, Am I even Korean anymore if there’s no one left to call and ask which brand of seaweed we used to buy?” “Crying in H Mart” analyzes Zauner’s relationship with her late mother and their shared Korean heritage through meticulously described meals — like the soybean paste stew doenjang jjigae and chonggak (“ponytail” radish) kimchi —and the contexts in which they were eaten. We’ll talk with Zauner about processing her grief in both her memoir and music as the artist Japanese Breakfast, as well as her art’s evolution in anticipation of her upcoming album, Jubilee.
Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast Explores Grief, Food and Korean Heritage by ‘Crying in H Mart’
'Crying in H Mart' is a memoir by Michelle Zauner, who is also known as the musician Japanese Breakfast. (Barbora Mrazkova/Courtesy of Penguin Random House)
Michelle Zauner, author, “Crying in H Mart: A Memoir,” and also known as the musician Japanese Breakfast