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Aug 17, 2006 02:34 AM

[MSP] Sprawling Hmong Market in St. Paul?

So, in an article called "The Worldwide Way" about the Hmong (and other ethnic) influence on University Avenue, today's Pioneer Press mentions a "sprawling market" near the Capitol on Como Avenue.

This seemed very chow-promising to me, so I got in my car and puttered up and down Como, Rice, and Dale Streets where they intersect University in search of a sprawling market. Sadly, I couldn't find a "sprawling market" of the kind I was envisioning. I did see "Dragon Star Oriental Foods" on Minnehaha at Como. I wish I had stopped in but, it wasn't "on Como" and I was on a mission for the holy-grail of sprawling markets. I plan to stop by next time, but, in the mean time:

Anyone know what sprawling market they might be talking about? Could it be Dragon Star Oriental Foods? I'm not even sure it's Hmong, although, I do see some folks raving about it in Josh Resnick's University Avenue thread from about three years ago...

Has it stood up to the test of time?

How's Shuang Hur, at 654 University Aveon University up the road from Foodsmart?


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  1. I'm only familiar with Shuang Hur on Nicollet. Same company?

    3 Replies
    1. re: dotMac

      I don't know the answer to that. I googled, I looked it up in the phone book. The two Shuang Hur's never seem to get mentioned at the same time. Maybe I'll just have to stop in (or phone in) and ask.


      1. re: dotMac

        Oh, I forgot to mention, I stopped at Shuang Hur on University--according to this article, it is affiliated with the one on University.

        It does have the tanks with the live tilapia and a fairly robust meat counter, but it doesn't seem to have the barbeque pork, chicken and duck that I keep hearing is so fabulous at the MPLS location. According to the link above, it has barbeque on weekends, but I didn't see it. I could have asked for it, I suppose, but was more on a reconnaisance mission to see what the place was about than in a purchasing mood.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          In my post above, I meant to say the Shuang Hur on University is affiliated with the Shuang Hur in Minneapolis...

          My typo above makes it sound like the one on University is affiliated with itself, which is just silly.


      2. I stopped there for the first time last Monday. It is on the North side of Como, just West of Marion.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mel Carne

          Mel, where did you stop? At Dragon Star? What did you buy there? Was it good? Dish! Dish! Dish out the details! :)


        2. Foodsmart on University is a Hmong grocery store with a really good cafeteria/foodline. Whatever I've had from the steam table has been good, although the employees speak very little English. If you're lucky (like I was on one visit) one of the other customers will act as translate for you.

          1. Yes. You have to look closely when you are on Como near Marion. You have to go into this partially hidden driveway going North. There you'll see it. I only drove through and around one day. It looks very interesting and I plan to explore when I have more time. The Pioneer Press wrote an article a few weeks about a really good restaurant somewhere there. I did not see it. But there's definitely a market.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shoo bee doo

              Interesting! Okay, I'm going to have to go look harder and maybe take a map with me this time. You wouldn't happen to have a link to the PP article would you? Or remember the name or type of cuisine they were reviewing? After reading your post, I searched their website a bit but couldn't find anything in the last couple of months that sounded to me like it was in that area.


            2. I went there today - not having read this post - and it was very cool. The "food court" is in the complex on the left as you first enter the market. There is a good deal of fried fish, sausage and pork. One couple was eating what looked like deep fried goldfish and tilapia was also on offer. The larb looked promising, and was studded with chopped green bird chilies. There was a stand at one end selling all manner of "bubble teas", including one filled with gummi bears. The food at the "Thai Thai Daily" was heavy on curries and smelled wonderful.

              The food on offer in the market is essentially the same as at many of the stalls in the farmers markets in Minneapolis and on University in St. Paul - many kinds of peppers, bitter balls, onions, herbs, okra/ladies fingers, and so forth. White peaches were a big hit with many shoppers, but expensive at $5 for four fruits, Small "burro" bananas looked tempting. The scallions were long and thin and exquisite. Ginger was a good buy - healthy and about $2/lb. as was galanga.

              If you look at the back of one of the buildings marked "General Merchandise", you can find good deals on strainers (plastic and metal), flowered plastic dishes and some cooking tools. Saturday is a good day to go if you don't speak Hmong or Thai, as many of the children of the owners are working and are happy to tell you what is what.