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Romio Feature: Pop Karma (95 Orchard St)

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We make delicious popcorn from pure, top-quality ingredients. It’s that simple. Our ingredients lists are minimal since we source the best food possible from responsible, sustainable producers. It’s real. Then we pop it in New York City to our demanding specifications.

We believe that all of our actions matter. Good food means good health. Food that is sustainably grown means happy animals and a renewable environment. Kind words and kind actions inspire a beautiful day. A lifetime of beautiful days is a work of art. Live it.

This week we stopped by Jean Tsai’s Pop Karma, a popcorn specialty store located on 95 Orchard St in the Lower East Side. Having just opened for roughly two months, they’re already paving the way to healthier snacking and what better way to show that with popcorn! 

Pop Karma takes pride in its organic corn and high quality ingredients from local suppliers in NYC that are strategically implemented in their popcorn to create the many different seasonal flavors that changes every month. 

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(Thanks to Chef Stephane Lemagnen, Pop Karma is able to craft “unexpected” flavors such as Za’atar and Porcini Cheddar to reflect the Fall season) 

When I arrived at Pop Karma, I asked Jean Tsai a series of questions in regards to the Lower East Side neighborhood, the different local suppliers she collaborates with, and what we can expect from Pop Karma in the future. 

"Lower East Side to me is much more dynamic compared to the rest of the city" - Jean Tsai

Located adjacent to the Tenement Museum and south of Delancey St, Tsai enjoys the close-knit community feel of the neighborhood and the fact that she’s close to the historical Chinatown neighborhood.

"You can feel that it’s still influx right now. You can feel that it’s still changing" - Jean Tsai on LES  

When asked what were some marketing challenges she faced in the neighborhood, Tsai told me that it’s sometimes difficult to “convince people to make the trek over” from other neighborhoods. The foot traffic can also be quite mixed throughout the week. 

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Jean Tsai expresses Lower East Side as dynamic and constantly changing, but so is the delicious popcorn at Pop Karma!

What we love the most about their popcorn is the fact that Pop Karma collaborates with local suppliers and uses high quality ingredients. The Bacon Apple Bourbon Caramel, Pop Karma’s first non vegetarian flavor, uses bacon from Benton’s and Edwards Farms which can be found at the close-by Heritage Meat Shop in Essex Market. The olive oil that is used in the popcorn is also from Frank Organics, located in the Tribeca. 

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                (Bottle of Frank Organic’s olive oil sold at the store as well) (top right) 

What’s next for Pop Karma? Jean Tsai is hoping to open their online store by next week! That means you can order directly from the store and enjoy the different flavors they offer at your own convenience. 

For more info on Pop Karma and weekly updates, visit their page:

http://popkarma.com/

Follow Lower East Side on Romio! 

http://bit.ly/LESRomio

Words/Photography: Dae Choi 

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