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May 1, 2002 01:27 PM

Hempstead Chinese Supermarket Update

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We've talked about this here before, but I just wanted to let folks know that the wonderful and enormous V&T Supermarket in Hemptead has now opened up at least part of the attached food court. Very nice-looking sushi that I didn't try, some decent looking steam-table Chinese dishes, and LOVELY ROAST MEATS. I bought a pound of roast pork for $5 and half a roast duck for $6. They were both delectable.

I've only been to V&T on weekdays, but it never seems terribly crowded. Please Long Island chowhounds, patronize this place lest we lose it. I mean: fresh fish, LIVE fish, black chickens, durian (this means you, Wendy Leonard), every Asian condiment you could dream of, Chinese housewares, Asian greens. And everything is labeled in English!

V&T Supermarket
12 North Franklin Street

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    Wendy Leonard

    I had a durian from there last night!

    I second your plea for people to patronize this place. I was just thinking about how moribund the Long Island section of this board is, probably because of the dearth of good restaurants--okay, we all know about House of Dosas by now--but there are more and increasingly interesting sources to buy foodstuffs. We should all post about those places and patronize them. (Posts from me about Stuff n'Bagels on Long Beach Road, and Compare Foods in Freeport coming soon!)

    I haven't tried the roast meats yet but I will now.

    The sushi is excellent basic sushi at an unbeatable price. The sushi chef is friendly too. This is how I satisfy my kids seemingly insatiable appetite for raw fish without breaking the bank. They sell inexpensively pieces of the same salmon they use to make their sushi--and the chef will slice it thinly for you too. The grilled eel is also good.

    Buy unripe coconuts by the case, put them in the fridge and serve them to your guests when they want a cool drink. Bring them to parties! This has been a real crowd pleaser. My husband has been lugging cases to his classes (think tropical countries) and serving them to his students!

    Experiment with soy sauces. Daunted by the dozens of bottles and unable to read Chinese, I simply chose the most expensive ($3.79). Great woody undertones. We will never buy Kikkoman Lite again!

    The yellow elongated mangoes are good.

    Try adding one of the several kinds of fresh miso and tofu (both sold in the refrigerator case in the front)to Trader Joe's packaged instant miso soup.

    Buy green papaya and try to make somtam, or simply experiment with adding shredded papaya to your salads--think spicy lime dressings.

    Buy quail eggs for a fraction of the price you would pay in a Manhattan supermarket. Boil them gently and serve them to your kids (the little shells are beautiful) or make fancy appetizers.

    Think kids' party favors. I bought plastic Chinese spoons for literally cents apiece to use in sand pails.

    Try a new noodle every week.

    I still have no idea what about 80% of the stuff here is. When you find something good, post about it!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Wendy Leonard

      Hi! I also want to put my two cents in here. I've been an avid reader of Chowhound for almost a year now but have never posted a message. I've been to the Arepa Lady, to Sripraphai several times and most recently the Goulash place in Danbury.Up to now I've been content to be an observer. But the Hempstead Supermarket situation makes me crazy. It typifies for me what's wrong with Long Island. Here is a store that I know I've been dying for and if things don't change pretty soon will probably go under. I've been there during the week and on a weekend (Just this last Saturday).It's invariably pretty empty. It is amazingly complete in terms of Asian products. All the things I have to go to Flushing for I can, for the moment, get there. As of now I really can't see the white community or the local Hempstead community keeping this store going.Where is the Asian community's support for this kind of store? The only explanation I can think of is that there are no real resturants to go with the shopping and therefore they still head for Flushing. Nonetheless this store needs to be supported!
      The Chinese takeout is somewhat weird in that they are trying to be all things to all people.Thus they have Gen. Tso's chicken and stir fried porkbelly. They have lo mein and Lion's head. The other problem is that all the hot food is steam table fare. Nevertheless it beats any Chinese takeout I know of. If it's not better than Fortune Wheel it's at least more diverse and interesting. And the fresh greens section of the produce! I buy a different one each week and experiment! There must be at least 8-10 different varieties of bok choy type greens. And the prices are great too! You can tell I'm getting excited.
      To sum up: This store needs support! Chowhounds have to step up here! We have no right to complain about the lack of diversity and interesting food opportunities on Long Island if we let this jewel slip through our fingers.
      Thanks for letting me rant and rave,
      Mel Tobias

      1. re: Mel Tobias
        Wendy Leonard

        Welcome! Enjoyed your post--maybe it will stimulate other undercover chowhounds to come out and support V&T. I feel exactly the same.

        Hope to see many more posts from you!

        1. re: Wendy Leonard

          Just returned to my office with lunch from the take-out counter at V & T Market: a huge portion of fried shrimp/prawns head-on, in the shell, not battered but traditional salt-stir fried with a few green chilis. The shrimp were full of flavor, albeit cold, and the $4.95 price was a steal (there must have been 25 - 30 large shrimp in an order). The roast duck looked good and will be my next purchase ($ 6.50 for 1/2 duck). The steam table items are of less interest, at least to me. As prior posts have said, make sure to patronize this underutilized "find" in Hempstead!

          1. re: ForkinMouth

            Was at the V&T market this weekend and it was pretty quiet. Having this market sure beats driving on the LIE to Flushing. Over the last few weeks have also tried many of the fresh vegetables- having the long Japanese eggplants for dinner tonight. The butchers are very accomodating and the prepared pork meats are very good.

            I have never seen an adverisement for this store. Maybe they do in the oriental papers. Sure hope the market makes it!!!

    2. V&T Supermarket is very close to my home. I usually pick a fish from the tank but often I buy fish on display. The fish from the tank is, of course, a good pick (although the fish have little space to move around). The fish on display, you have to be careful. My wife taught me how to pick out the best fish by looking at the eyes and checking under the gills (which should be pink to a light red). Many times the fish was not fresh.

      The vegetables and fruit are not always fresh. The lunch special is a great deal. I had it a few times and the roast pork and duck are very good as well. I will have to try the sushi.

      The grocery portion (asian) has many things that we need and it is better than going to Flushing. The grocery section that is not asian is a little more expensive than a regular supermarket (Pathmark, Stop-n-Shop, etc.) Overall it is a good place to get asian groceries, fish and meat.

      I am going to try a few new places that I discovered on Google- New York Mart in Douglaston and H Mart in New Hyde Park. I will let you know how it turns out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Glenn Havens

        I just found this great find from my friends over the summer and I try to go as much as possible. We are all big cooks. I know my friends go very often. It is a little creepy at first but when you see all the finds -- it is amazing!! THey aslo love the carribean store near by so we go to both places.