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Which is best HMart,Uwajimaya or Ranch 99?

billjriv Jan 16, 2007 11:30 PM

Which is best HMart,Uwajimaya or Ranch 99(and why)?

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  1. paulj RE: billjriv Jan 16, 2007 11:34 PM

    Ranch 99 - because I don't have to go half way across Seattle metro area to get to it :-)

    7 Replies
    1. re: paulj
      billjriv RE: paulj Jan 17, 2007 02:50 AM

      lmao Ranch99 has terrible fish though,all I ever see there is rotten fish with red eyes.Sometimes the Tilapia looks ok.They do deep fry for free which is cool.

      1. re: billjriv
        paulj RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 03:49 AM

        I've been happy with their salmon. I usually get steaks, occasionally fat rich belly strips. I haven't looked too closely at the whole fish on ice.


        1. re: paulj
          billjriv RE: paulj Jan 17, 2007 03:56 AM

          Ive seen some ok Salmon there too,most of the fish out on display rarely looks very appetizing to me but they always got lines of people there.I think some people like there fish aged somewhat.I'm not one of them.

          1. re: billjriv
            soypower RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 04:16 AM

            there are so many great places to go for fresh seafood in seattle, that i would be loathe to ever buy it from Ranch 99. There's a great fish market called Mutual Fish Company on Ranier and I remember a good chinese(?) one at the intersection of Jackson and Rainier? I think it's called Viet Hoa seafood...If the three stores mentioned in the OP are your only option for seafood, I'd go for uwajimaya.

            1. re: soypower
              billjriv RE: soypower Jan 17, 2007 04:25 AM

              Actually for most seafood I like the small oriental stores.I get the cheapest best stuff even though its frozen most places.Star Fruits here in Burien I get True Cod for $1.65 a lb.its frozen but excellent.Tilapia fillets $1.85.

              1. re: soypower
                seawaplaya RE: soypower Jan 21, 2007 05:33 AM

                I wholeheartedly agree with Mutual Fish Company's greatness for fresh fish. However, the question posed is asking for which market of the three is better? I believe it's because those three markets carry lots of Asian items.

              2. re: billjriv
                jenn RE: billjriv Jan 16, 2008 01:13 PM

                "they always got lines of people there.I think some people like there fish aged somewhat.I'm not one of them"

                Not sure what you mean by this. Most of the Asian people I know prefer picking live fish out of a tank.........

                The fish I saw at the Edmunds 99 Ranch looked fine. Didn't pay attention to the stuff in the Renton store but then there were very few people in there period.

        2. soypower RE: billjriv Jan 16, 2007 11:41 PM

          I think HMart is great if you're looking for Korean groceries, Uwajimaya is great for Japanese groceries, and Ranch 99 is good for Chinese groceries. Also, i think Uwajimaya is generally more upscale than HMart and Ranch 99 which are more bargain concious.

          1. l
            lgphil RE: billjriv Jan 16, 2007 11:41 PM

            Depends on what you are looking for.

            99 Ranch specializes in Northern Chinese.
            Uwajimaya specializes in Japanese.
            H Mart specializes in Korean.

            Depending on what you are looking for, you will be more successful at one or the other.

            In Seattle especially, the do tend to overlap, and if I had to pick one, I guess it would be 99 Ranch, but they don't carry nearly everything.

            Are you looking for anything in particular?

            1. paulj RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 01:48 AM

              South Snohomish Co has several good size Korean stores, one right across from 99, and a larger one in North Lynnwood.

              While 99 may be strongest in Chinese items, its clientele is quite diverse.


              1. s
                Sky RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 07:03 AM

                Fyi, a large, new Asian market is preparing to open at the site vacated last year by Larry's on Aurora Ave (Oak Tree Village). I believe it is a Vietnamese grocery with a companion store on Jackson in the ID.


                2 Replies
                1. re: Sky
                  soypower RE: Sky Jan 17, 2007 07:24 AM

                  That's exciting! I miss Larry's but that might make me forget all about it. :o)

                  1. re: Sky
                    paulj RE: Sky Feb 4, 2007 09:13 AM

                    I was told that this store still has quite a bit of the Larry's stock, including the cheese. Some of this is on sale as they make the transition.

                  2. d
                    dimsumfan RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 12:26 PM

                    Anyone care to comment on Viet Wah in comparison to these other choices?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: dimsumfan
                      billjriv RE: dimsumfan Jan 17, 2007 05:19 PM

                      Is that that place with the huge herb selection?

                      1. re: billjriv
                        dimsumfan RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 05:53 PM

                        Yes, in the front of the store (along Jackson).

                        1. re: dimsumfan
                          billjriv RE: dimsumfan Jan 17, 2007 06:05 PM

                          What else do they got?

                          1. re: billjriv
                            dimsumfan RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 06:17 PM

                            Vietnamese store that's smaller than the ones mentioned here, but with many of the same products. Some sections are "iffy," which is why I'm curious as to what other people think of the place.

                    2. billjriv RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 06:38 PM

                      oops I was thinking of An Dong in the ID.Not sure about that one.

                      1. g
                        gastros RE: billjriv Jan 17, 2007 07:06 PM

                        Uwajimaya by far gets my vote - excellent selections, fresh, good prices. I don't know what the management of this Ranch 99 Market has done (or more like isn't doing), but it is disgusting. Their meat and seafood smells horrible. They are nothing at all like the Ranch 99 Market in Phoenix. Clearly, they do not have good quality control across their franchises.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gastros
                          billjriv RE: gastros Jan 17, 2007 10:59 PM

                          I agree Ranch 99 has the all around worst fish department i've ever seen,they probably have the free deep frying service so the evidence gets cooked before it leaves the store lol.I like the idea of free deep frying though and wish more fish departments would get it.There roast duck varies every time you go there too,sometimes its so salty I thought I was gonna die from salt poisoning,well mabye not quite that bad,but close.I think HMarts produce selection is better than Uwajimaya myself and the prices I know are better by a far.Uwajimaya has some excellent looking produce but ive never been able to afford it.I like my duck and do find Uwajimaya to always be consistant on that at a good price,$7.50 for half a duck with rice and vegitables.At that price forget eating at Quest or Safeco field.

                        2. c
                          chownerd RE: billjriv Jan 18, 2007 10:50 PM

                          If you want sushi-grade fish, definitely go to Uwajimaya. One recommendation for crab-lovers: the place next door to Malay Satay Hut on 12th/Jackson has really great Dungeness for MUCH cheaper than anywhere else. We have bought from them a few of times and it has been excellent. I have gotten good mussels from Ranch 99 but I can't speak to anything else.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: chownerd
                            billjriv RE: chownerd Jan 20, 2007 01:37 AM

                            Yah Uwajimaya does have some good looking fish,so expensive though.Ill have to check about the crab id it live?

                            1. re: billjriv
                              chownerd RE: billjriv Feb 6, 2007 04:25 PM

                              Sorry for the late reply billjriv, yes the crab is alive! For the folks who mentioned Malay Satay Hut, I'm recommending the fresh seafood store NEXT to it! It's NOT Hop Thanh but a hole in the wall seafood-only joint - I have no idea of the name so I used MSH as a locator... Sad to hear it's closed though. I loved getting takeout from there.

                              1. re: chownerd
                                dimsumfan RE: chownerd Feb 7, 2007 06:27 PM

                                Malay Satay Hut is NOT closed. The wind blew down their sign, and they closed for some odd days due to other weather issues. But they seem to be back to normal now.

                            2. re: chownerd
                              Charles RE: chownerd Jan 23, 2007 05:49 AM

                              Malay Satay hut on 12th and Jackson has closed. I think the location on the Eastside is still operational.

                              1. re: Charles
                                soypower RE: Charles Jan 23, 2007 07:49 PM

                                Yes, Malay Satay hut is still operational in Redmond/Bellevue. It's also right next to a wonderful place called Teapot Vegetarian House that does standard asian dishes using tofu and seitan instead of meat. The great thing about this place is that you still order in familiar terms - mongolian beef, orange chicken, etc. :o)

                            3. s
                              seawaplaya RE: billjriv Jan 21, 2007 05:37 AM

                              My choice in order...

                              1. Ranch 99 - very good price; lots of things! Chinese-focused but carries lots of other things, e.g., Korean, Japanese, etc.

                              2. H Mart - a great Korean market - has everything you will need to cook Korean food; I like the food court & bakery within the market.

                              3. Uwajimaya - clean but overpriced; so overpriced that I only go there when I need the stuff now!

                              1. o
                                onogrinds RE: billjriv Jan 24, 2007 09:12 AM

                                I think the place on 12th and Jackson people are referring to is Hop Thanh. I go there all the time to do my Asian grocery shopping (mostly Chinese/Vietnamese focused). It's not the cleanest place (what do you expect in the ID), but the seafood, meat and produce are all very good. I just went to their new store up in Northgate (the old Larry's) over the weekend. This new store is great! I no longer have to go to another american store to get my weekly grocery shopping done. Half the store is american products and the other half is a mix of nationalities (I saw Korean, Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian just to name some that I can remember). The prices there are very reasonable, and their produce selection is huge. I still go to Uwaji's for Sashimi, but other than that Uwaji's is way over priced.

                                1. dave_c RE: billjriv Jan 25, 2007 11:58 AM

                                  HMart? Where that located? It sounds like a neat place to check out! I tried a yahoo search and didn't find anything. Is HMart a nickname?

                                  For most of my asian food shopping, I generally go to Ranch 99 (Edmonds) due to location and prices. I do like their roast pork. Not too impressed with their steam table foods, but it's always very popular.

                                  I like Uwajimaya for their food court and when I need higher quality meats and seafoods.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: dave_c
                                    soypower RE: dave_c Jan 25, 2007 02:56 PM

                                    The store is actually called Han Ah Reum Mart, Inc. but the sign says H Mart. It's in Federal Way...H Mart 31217 Pacific Hwy S. Federal Way, WA 98003 253.528.0500

                                    1. re: soypower
                                      chefklb RE: soypower Jan 26, 2007 02:50 PM

                                      Ranch 99 on 99 North (go North on Aurora) is very clean and a lot bigger than the disgusting store in Renton...

                                  2. billjriv RE: billjriv Jan 26, 2007 06:51 PM

                                    I don't understand why Ranch 99 in Renton cant get better fish and more consistently descent tasting roast duck.Sometimes it tastes like they don't measure the salt and spices,just dump.Too salty sometimes.

                                    1. o
                                      onogrinds RE: billjriv Feb 7, 2007 12:44 PM

                                      Actually, the store I was referring to in my earlier post is HT Oaktree Market. It used to be the old Larry's Market in Northgate. 10008 Aurora Ave. North, Seattle 98133. Check it out if you're in the area, or not. It's worth a drive.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: onogrinds
                                        billjriv RE: onogrinds Feb 7, 2007 07:38 PM


                                      2. k
                                        koreanguy RE: billjriv Jan 13, 2008 03:44 PM

                                        H mart has worst serivce in my living memory.
                                        I have reviewed it in other web sites. BUt, it is generally not a very
                                        friendly palce. Go Uwajimaya.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: koreanguy
                                          HungWeiLo RE: koreanguy Jan 15, 2008 10:07 AM

                                          Why is service important in a grocery store? You pick up what you need, pay, then leave. If people saying hi to you in every aisle is important to you and you don't mind paying the 250% premium for groceries, then I guess Uwajimaya is a very friendly place to shop.

                                          1. re: HungWeiLo
                                            Lauren RE: HungWeiLo Jan 15, 2008 01:52 PM

                                            If I am looking for something, a store providing good service will be able to help you. A store providing great service might give you suggestions on ways to use ingredients.

                                            1. re: Lauren
                                              paulj RE: Lauren Jan 15, 2008 04:09 PM

                                              It is so much more fun to shop at a store where no one speaks your language, and you can't read the labels :) Better yet one where most of the customers appear to have been born on every continent but your own!


                                              1. re: Lauren
                                                jenn RE: Lauren Jan 16, 2008 01:14 PM

                                                but thats what a good cookbook is for. nothing like going through a store with a brand new cook book hunting for ingrediants!

                                          2. milojon RE: billjriv Jan 13, 2008 05:37 PM

                                            Uwjimaya, its the best. clean,well organized and lots of cool stuff.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: milojon
                                              allisonw RE: milojon Jan 14, 2008 11:09 AM

                                              I'm a big fan of the HT in the old Larry's space at Oak Tree.

                                              1. re: allisonw
                                                dave_c RE: allisonw Jan 16, 2008 06:35 PM

                                                I need to check that place out again. We stumbled upon that place a year ago while going to a movie. The place seemed kind of cavernous where the new market didn't have enough merchandise to fill the space.

                                                I did notice that they (HT?) had a bakery and a deli with whole roasted pork.

                                                What surprised me recently is that I tried the roasted pork and roast duck from Uwajimaya and the flavor was very good. The upside (and downside) is that the roasted pork is pork belly, but sometimes you end up with more fat than meat.

                                                1. re: allisonw
                                                  milojon RE: allisonw Jan 16, 2008 08:54 PM

                                                  never been i didn't even know larry's was gone. that was my childhood place to get bulk gummy snacks before the movies. my memories are smashed but i'll have to check it out.

                                              2. j
                                                jammin RE: billjriv Jan 14, 2008 04:24 PM

                                                overall I have to say Uwajimaya, while expensive on some packaged items, the quality is always there on fresh items which is key to me.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jammin
                                                  mics RE: jammin Jan 14, 2008 05:11 PM

                                                  i agree Uwajimaya,i also pick up my hawaiian food there.they bring in portaguee sausage from the islands,carry manipuafrom the island,and hawaii sun drinks

                                                  1. re: mics
                                                    allisonw RE: mics Jan 16, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                    HT always has tomatoes that taste like actual tomatoes, even in the winter. They are also under $2/lb right now, which is cheap for fairly tasty tomos this time of year.

                                                    I'm really fond of HT's produce in general. Oh, and the bakery.

                                                2. j
                                                  jenn RE: billjriv Jan 16, 2008 01:11 PM

                                                  I'm not sure what "HMart" is so can't comment.

                                                  Uwajimaya is definitely higher end and more Japanese focused. My shopping is more chinese food oriented so I can't always find what I want there. An example off the top of my head is pre-made wrappers for jiao tzi---I'm used to having a choice but at Uwajimaya, they only had one or two types and those were really too thin. Chinese sauces would be another example. Still, lots of tasty stuff there.

                                                  I was disappointed in the Renton 99 Ranch--quality, layout, general appearance--and the whole Great Wall mall in general. It was as though some one started making an Asian mall and then got distracted halfway through and wandered away leaving everything half done. I really have to wonder how it survives.

                                                  I was pleasantly surprised by the Edmonds 99 Ranch which I found to be very similiar to our old stomping grounds, the 99 Ranch in SanGabriel at DelMar and Valley. Large selection of all the familiar veggies and fresh noodles etc. Much smaller fish department and fewer live tanks then I am used to but I have more fish alternatives here so I'm not complaining. For fish, I like Mutual.

                                                  The added benefit of the trip to the Edmunds 99 Ranch is you can go eat dinner at Szechwan 99 after!

                                                  If Viet Hoa is the one at the top of Jackson and Rainier, then my husband has been going there. He is satisfied.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: jenn
                                                    paulj RE: jenn Jan 16, 2008 07:20 PM

                                                    After Szechwan 99, round out your produce purchases at Star Produce. This is a Vietnamese owned (I think) open air produce stand and pan-ethnic grocery just west of 99 near Harris Ford. Produce prices are among the best in the area, though you do need to pick and choose. They carry a mix of Asian, Mexican, eastern European, Middle Eastern etc groceries. Not as comprehensive as a specialized shop in any of these areas, but still worth stop. I often stop by there on the way to Trader Joes (a block further north).

                                                    1. re: jenn
                                                      dave_c RE: jenn Jan 17, 2008 08:25 AM

                                                      Where's Szechwan 99? I can't find the place via the internet, misspelling the name maybe?


                                                      1. re: dave_c
                                                        paulj RE: dave_c Jan 17, 2008 04:21 PM

                                                        Typing 'chinese 99 lynnwood' on google gives
                                                        Szechuan 99
                                                        6124 200th St SW, Lynnwood, WA
                                                        (425) 774-9622
                                                        This on 200th less than a block east of 99 (so a bit south of the big 196 intersection). It's the next building east from a bowling alley.

                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                          HungWeiLo RE: paulj Jan 17, 2008 10:31 PM

                                                          I went there for the first time about 2 weeks ago. Wonderful food. At first, we were apprehensive because there was not a single Asian person in there other than the owners, and they were all the sweet-n-sour-chicken/broccoli-beef crowd. But when we ordered and tried the authentic Szechuan dishes, we were delighted (and the aforementioned restaurant patrons collectively stared at our food with utter horror. Hehe). Just as good as Bamboo Garden in Bellevue, but cheaper. (We spent $40 for 2, and got enough leftovers for the next 3 meals).

                                                          The only drawback is that it's a truly mom-and-pop place, so the wait for food is pretty long. It took almost an hour to get 3 dishes out to us. So don't go if you're absolutely famished. But I thought they had made up for the long wait with the good food.

                                                          1. re: HungWeiLo
                                                            jenn RE: HungWeiLo Jan 18, 2008 08:06 AM

                                                            Your experience with the wait is not necessarily typical. We did not experience a long wait for our food when we went and we ordered way more than you did. Everything was hot and tasty when it arrived.

                                                            I would agree about the other customers being a bunch of white guys ordering 50s chinese food but I didn't see anyone looking in horror. Then again, maybe they were too blown away by the amount for a party of four!

                                                    2. hannaone RE: billjriv Jan 18, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                      For Korean goods H-Mart has the largest selection.
                                                      For pre-cut bulgogi and kai bi, and fresh veggies I go to Paldo World
                                                      For tofu selections - the Lynnwood 99 Ranch

                                                      Pal-Do World
                                                      17424 Highway 99, Lynnwood, WA
                                                      (425) 742-2237

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: hannaone
                                                        paulj RE: hannaone Jan 18, 2008 07:36 PM

                                                        I've shopped at Pal-Do several times, though Boohon further south on 99 is closer. But since Ranch 99 opened (right across the street) I haven't shopped at these Korean places as much. 99 suits my eclectic tastes better.

                                                      2. b
                                                        bambesfresser RE: billjriv Feb 13, 2008 11:11 AM

                                                        lgphil said it best. It depends what you are looking for. Uwajimaya is certainly the nicest but most expensive. The target group for each store is somewhat different which makes a one-on-one comparison difficult. I would think for most people the natural choice is the one closest to their location. In Bellevue, e.g. you have Uwajimaya, Palbo, and Asian Food Center as decent size Asian grocery stores. If you live in Lynnwood then Ranch 99 or any of the Korean groceries would make sense.

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