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Dec 8, 2007 12:25 PM

Manila Oriental Market, SF

Finally I checked out this market. While its Chinese offerings aren't as extensive as 99 Ranch Daly City, it has a wide range of Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, and other Southeast Asian items. I think it's on par with Battambang in the Tenderloin for Thai goods -- both MOM and Battambang have items that the other doesn't and both have pretty much all of the brands that Kasma (whose Thai cooking course I took) recommends. Produce is pretty good, and I especially liked the half-dozen types of eggplant. The biggest plus vs. Battambang is that MOM is clean, calm, and well-organized. It's a pleasure to shop there.

Be sure to ask for bags with handles when checking out. Now that the no-plastic rule is in effect, they usually use handle-less paper bags. Bags with handles cost 10 cents, or bring your own. Parking lot had open spaces as late at 9:30 am. Open 8:30-8:30 daily.

Manila Oriental Market
4175 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

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  1. MOM is indeed clean but the seafood department, while the products are fresh, can be a zoo trying to get service. It may even take 10-15 min. for then to clean your fish after you give it to them due to the crowds. Also, on busy hours, the parking lot can have really long lines along Mission St trying to get in.

    4 Replies
    1. re: baron45

      I almost never park in the parking lot, it's too crowded and the traffic flow is bad. Parking is usually pretty easy on the side streets nearby.

      1. re: baron45

        They don't need to be particularly busy for the parking lot to get jammed up. It's just too small. Parking right on Mission St is the best bet, as the other streets are usually filled with resident's cars.

        The fish counter is less of a hassle if you make it your first stop. They give you a numbered ticket, so you can do the rest of your shopping and pick up the fish when you're done.

        Other high points: Live clams, oysters, and various unfamiliar crustaceans in self-serve aquariums; a good selection of organ meats (sadly, no duck liver), and bones for stock.

        Disappointments: They don't carry live mussels anymore; the produce is not always as good as some of the nearby Mexican places, and much of it is cello-wrapped in rather large family sized packages.

        1. re: baron45

          I'm intrigued and impressed by their fish selection -- but I'm pretty skeptical about finding fresh, local, or sustainable options. Maybe I'm wrong, but it strikes me as a wide selection of frozen fish flown in from afar. Maybe I'm just spoiled by Sun Fat.

          1. re: BernalKC

            They do have sardines and smelt which appears to be local, but yeah, everything else save maybe the squid is probably flown in.

            The pricing on the beef has definitely confused me before. I once got a ribeye that was priced cheaper than chopped chuck stew meat. Wonder if lots of their customers favor less heralded cuts (oxtail is also expensive).

            I can confirm seeing pigeons in the store munching on their bulk peanuts, which is why I stay away from buying those there. Suspect neighbors' main odor complaint is about the fish fryer, as they have posted a notice that they have suspended their fish frying service for now due to complaints. Could be the usual NIMBY crankery on some of these things though.

        2. Thanks for the report, sounds like a place I definitely want to check out. And given the options, I'll take a seafood counter/shop that is a zoo and has quick turnover over a place where I can get quicker service but can't be as sure about how long the fish has been there. Good to know to allow some time for it, though, thanks.

          1. There was a nice deal here yesterday: 8 lb bags of cara cara oranges for $4.99. The oranges are big, so you only get about 15-16 of them per bag. Thinking about going back for another if the deal is still on this week.

            Tempted to start an "SF produce deals" thread...

            3 Replies
            1. re: bigwheel042

              Are the oranges good, or are you finding them to be dried out inside?

              1. re: Dave MP

                First one I tried was decent. Not bursting with juice, but definitely not dry either. Will try a couple more to see if it's a consistent batch. The brand is Sunkist, fwiw.

              2. re: bigwheel042

                >Tempted to start an "SF produce deals" thread...
                well hopefully it will include testimonials and not just price data. from "Dave MP"'s followup, I wonder if he's been burned like I have from some Mission ultra cheap fruit deals ... for example I bought ~3 crazy cheap mangos once and I didnt know a mango could essentially be all fiber and no taste. I've bought some inedible strawberries etc.

                [ok "burned" here = "out ~$1.50"]

              3. My favorite thing at MOM is their pork butcher. The quality of the cuts is up there with Avedano's, perhaps without the locavore pedigree. Or maybe they are getting pastured hogs and just not making a fuss about it? I dunno, but the many roasts I've gotten there have all been great. The price is as good or better than factory meat from Safeway.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BernalKC

                  That is interesting about the pork. Some beef I got at MOM was really, really bad flavor/texture-wise ... revealed preference: i may not have finished it. sample size is small. It was cheaper than safeway, but this was a cut which was ok from safeway.

                2. >MOM is clean, calm, and well-organized
                  well, i think it depends what your baseline is.
                  (not familiar with Battambang)

                  maybe compared to chinatown but not compared to Kukje in daly city.

                  on one of the neighborhood internet forums, some of the neighbors ("neybors") really hate them ... truck deliveries blocking traffic, food smells, birds inside the store etc.

                  [i do see this is a post from 2007]