Possible real fish monger at Food World- Durham, NC
Had a great experience buying very fresh fish today in Food World at the corner of Fayetteville street and Lakewood, just off of Rt 147 across from the Bulls ball park closer to NCCU. This market is quickly becoming a personal favorite. Food World is a huge market with a blend of Asian food, hispanic food and good ol' Eggos/Tide/toilet paper type goods. Tons of really interesting foods, fresh and frozen, that I have no idea what they are because I can't read the lables. The prices are great on produce and other items I find in the major groceries and the store is a treasure chest. Sure the neighborhood is shady and the place isn't spic 'n span, but it works.
On to the fish...
So, in the back corner, there is a fish guy running his own little department inside the grocery. The fish looked great. I checked the eyes, poked the flesh and gave them a sniff- all tested great. I bought some whole Black Bass which he de-scaled and cut the filets off. It tasted fantastic. He said his fish comes from Moorehead and Wilmington.
There is also a great little Tacqueria inside which I will try soon and give a report.
OK, I just got back from my first visit to Food World. Here' the skinny:
The place is basically a Korean/Mexican supermarket with a number of "generic" supermarket products mixed in. Sort of a Grand Asia Market (Cary) meets a tienda meets Food Lion, but with the focus on Korean (rather than Chinese) products.
My overall reaction if mixed. Walking in, I couldn't help hoping that this place would be Durham's answer to Grand Asia Market. It may develop into that eventually, but it's not that now. The produce was only OK--some cool greens, nice plantains, some wilting chard, reasonably fresh nopales (including some bagged that had already been trimmed--nice for those of us who can't clean nopales without getting a palmful of stickers), stuff of that nature. The selection wasn't that great and freshness was hit-and-miss. I was disappointed in not finding any bok choy.
The freezer section holds a lot more promise. Lots of exotic frozen seafood, pot stickers, ready to make udon soups, etc. The refrigerator section had a nice assortment of Korean appetizers and kim chee in jars of varying sizes. I tried a couple of the appetizers--the squid in hot sauce was very good, the seaweed salad was not.
The butcher section has some hard-to-find cuts, including pork belly. It is not in the same league as Grand Asia Market, however; you will not find duck tongues here. In fact, you'll find very little you wouldn't find at a carneceria.
The fish monger is a find, with some caveats. This afternoon only one person was working the counter, and she was caught up in a long conversation with the customer ahead of me. It was a long wait. Also, she didn't speak English very well; I was eventually able to communicate what I wanted, but it was a little frustrating. I got a whole tilapia that was very fresh at $1.69/pound, which I thought was a pretty good price. The selection wasn't broad but everything looked nice and fresh.
Finally, if you crave barrel-sized containers of kochugang and kochukaru, this is the place for you. For a fleeting moment I had a sense of what going to a Costco in Korea might be like.
Overall, I liked the place, although I don't know how often I'll visit it. I live north of the city, so Food World isn't so convenient for me. The Chinese place near Foster's Market is more convenient and carries most of the products I use frequently. The big Mexican market on Roxboro takes care of most of my exotic/variety meat needs. The fish counter is the biggest draw; that and the Korean products that the Chinese place doesn't carry.
I'm interested to hear what others' experiences have been like.
I happen to really like the taqueria and go whenever I'm in the neighborhood. They make the tortillas from scratch and they give you a lot of meat, so I usually get myself a taco de carne asada and a taco de lengua and end up with four tacos (b/c you get two tortillas for each). Their agua de jamaica is as good as my Mexican grandma used to make. The pupusas are good, but my Salvadorian friend said they're not quite authentic.
FYI, the owners are Korean but are from Argentina, so they speak fluent Spanish. They're very cool, as are the owners of the taqueria (Gabi is one of them). I only speak Spanish to them, so we bond over being Mexican and all, but I think they would be just as nice with non-hispanics. :-)