Super 88 Allston
Visited the Super 88 Allston and was disappointed. The Dorchester store is much better. The fish section absolutely reeked of rotting fish - perhaps they don't have adequate turnover yet. There were also fewer fresh meat selections. The produce selection was skimpy. Many packages of asian herbs were mysteriously labeled "Selected Vegetable". I can figure out thai basil, coriander etc... but if I'm looking for saw tooth herb, la lot leaves, etc... it would help if someone in the store could answer basic questions. When I inquired at Customer Service and asked employees on the floor they either didn't speak English or had no idea what the herbs were called. Of course you can find all the dried, canned and bottled goods and the new location is more convenient for people travelling from the Western burbs.
We went to the new Super88 this past Saturday for the first time and had almost the exact opposite experience. The fish counter was fine, in fact it was the only time I have ever been in a Chinese grocery store that I wasn't gagging near the fish. I didn't buy any fish but I would have if I needed it. I didn't notice about the labeling on the vegetables, but what we bought (just Thai basil and Japanese eggplant from the produce aisle) was fresh enough. We did seek out an English speaking employee when we couldn't find some spices and he pointed us to it easily. Of course, he was a big black guy in a store apron, not at customer service, so he was pretty easy to spot. We were really impressed by the spaciousness, cleanliness and selection, especially of Vietnamese items. We'll definitely go back, and hope it is as nice. Without trying, we spent $37 on a lot of different stuff (almost like a Trader Joe's experience). The honey drink with basil seeds took the prize--for only 79 cents we got a bottle of the weirdest looking drink we had ever seen. Sort of like thin mucus with many many tiny floating eyeballs in it. My brave husband reports that it is a bit sweet for his taste but he liked the flavor and texture of the eyeballs, I mean basil seeds.