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Jan 8, 2008 06:20 PM

asian markets in RI?

looking for a QUALITY asian market in the greater providence year's resolution is to eat better and cheaper. i know they usually have cheaper produce, but do any around here have quality seafood or meats? thanks all!!!

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  1. Pardon me for being pessimistic, but I don't think "quality" Asian markets exist in Rhode Island. There are a few reasonable/passable markets, sure - I've been to Asiana on Warren, and I've heard of a couple of places in Cranston that I should take a look at. Most people I know simply drive up to Quincy or Super 88 in Allston... as for me, I make the ultimate (heh!) sacrifice of driving to Mitsuwa and H-mart in New Jersey when I need stuff for back-to-my-roots cookin'. I think that makes me certifiably nuts, though. *grin*

    2 Replies
    1. re: sukekiyo

      I guess it depends on what type of Asian market you're looking for, since Asia is a large and diverse continent. I've been totally satisfied with the quality of markets for southeast asian ingredients. i've posted about this several times before, the best asian grocery I know of is five star market. it's in providence, on dexter st a couple blocks south of cranston st. it's on your right hand side if you're driving south, and doesn't look like a substantial market, but once you get inside it's like a treasure trove.

      1. re: sukekiyo

        Snobbery, and pessimism aside, there are some great markets in RI, given that it is not NY or Boston- they are generally small, but I am sure that one of the many has what one would like. In the southern part of the state we get along on the Chinese end with the market in Westerly, next to Golden Chopsticks- they have a dense selection of fresh and canned ingredients.

      2. I just read in RI Monthly where Neath (of his former restaurant by the same name) buys his shrimp at Mekong Mkt on Broad (I think that was the name). That's good enough for me.

        4 Replies
        1. re: JaneRI

          im pretty wary of the seafood at mekong martket on broad st. i've bought shrimp there that were pretty much spoiled. I also bought blue crabs there that were grimy and had a weird after taste. I wish wish wish tehre was a good seafood market!

          as for the asian markets in providence/cranston, they mainly cater to the southeast population so you'll see a lot of produce for southeast asian cuisine that may not be familiar to the general public. You definitely wont see a lot of canned/sauces that is central to chinese cuisine and japanese/korean items are rare. Produce is super cheap though so you can save a lot of money by shopping there. My favorite are Battambang Market on Elmwood and Public St (across from Apsara) and Am Kess which is on Potter St (if you're Northbound on Elmwood, take a left at the Hess station). Their produce comes in on Thursdays so you can get the freshest stuff then. Saturdays and Sundays are a mad house so plan accordingly.

          Happy eatings!

          1. re: sprinklez

            OH my!! Glad I read that, I was going to go buy shrimp there. Yuck.

            1. re: JaneRI

              thanks all for the help...looks like i've got some exploring to do!

              1. re: icancook

                Yes, it's certainly true that we don't have anything close to the level of "supermarket" you see in the NY Metro (or that I was familiar with in Minneapolis/St. Paul) but the Asian markets around here work well enough for me as a light-enthusiast home cook.

                Asiana on Warren St in East Providence especially has worked for me for basic Korean and Japanese ingredients.

                I must admit that with the exception of some real specialty ingredients, I've never waded into the fresh produce/fish waters in these markets, and I'm not sure I'd do so without strong recommendations...

                - Garris
                Providence, RI

        2. Try Sunny Market on Reservoir Ave in Providence/Cranston line just north of rt 10. It's a large place and has a huge produce selection. Is Southeast Asian dominated.

          A decent but smaller Chinese market is Chinese-American Minimarket on Park Ave near Rolfe Square in Cranston. The owners there should be able to get what you want.

          1. I've moved out of the area about 6 months ago, but I used to really love the Laotian market (Mekong) on Rte44/Smith in Providence near the N. Prov. line. They have very carefully selected produce (tends toward south asian, rather than north asian), and while the store is not large there is a real emphasis on quality. The thing I miss the most is the home made Laotian sausage which are TDF and come in on Saturdays.

            7 Replies
            1. re: qianning

              Hey there,
              Does anyone know about any markets where I might be able to find quail eggs? I tired Asiana in East Providence but they were sold out! I am preparing for a 12 course tasting menu for a group of friends and this was one of my dishes! I would have never guessed that quail eggs were so popular in lil RI! I'll take any suggestions I can get and thanx for your time!

              1. re: ericazz

                ericazz, maybe the poultry market at DePasquale Square? Antonelli's Poultry?

                1. re: ericazz

                  there were quail eggs in the chinese-american mini mart on park ave. in cranston the last time i was there. google says the phone number is (401) 467-7690 if you want to check before you go.

                  1. re: passing thru

                    There's a new chinese-american market in Rolfe Square in Cranston. I think the name is Phu Lam Market, or something like that. I'm not sure about quail eggs, but I have seen Durian there, so it's worth checking out.

                    eta: I just found their website:

                    1. re: dagwood

                      I will second the rec for Phu Lam Market. The selection is good and getting better every time we go. Co-owned by sister from Red Ginger in Johnston.

                      Red Ginger
                      560 Killingly St Ste 4, Johnston, RI 02919

                      1. re: bigboy

                        Thanks, always wondered about Phu Lam Market when passing by. I live near Red Ginger in Johnston. Any good? Always leary about cleanliness of Asian restaurants or any restaurant for that matter.

                        Red Ginger
                        560 Killingly St Ste 4, Johnston, RI 02919

                        1. re: girlwbigdogz

                          After reading this discussion, I will third Phu Lam Market. I moved to Providence two years ago and have been frequenting Asiana on Warren Ave in E. Prov. It was the only place I dared shop at for Asian goods (I had the misfortune of stepping foot in Asian Star Market on Elmwood Ave - NEVER EVER GO THERE, unless you are curious as to what the most disgusting Asian market ever looks like). A discussion with an acquaintance earlier today led me to take up my search again with renewed hope for a bigger market that I didn't have to get on the highway to get to. Which led me to this website. Which led me to Phu Lam. They are friendly. They are clean. They have EVERYTHING, from tapioca beads to rice flour. Huge bags of sushi rice, the largest selection of noodles and dried produce I have ever seen, beans by the pound, fresh produce, a small pharmacy. Oh, and quail eggs (2 years too late, I know). I struck up a conversation with one of the owners and was given delicious homemade pickles for free, as well as a gift to mark my first visit (salt and pepper shaker set shaped as two halves of a carrot - sweet irony as a bunny owner.)

              2. I've only been to 3 asian markets in ri, Asiana, Mekong Mkt (the one next to pho paradise) and Chinese American Mini mart.

                Ranking wise, best to worse:
                Chinese American Mini mart
                Mekong Mkt.

                Chinese American has at least all the canned, frozen refrigerated stuff I would buy. but they really fall short on some of the veggies that i love to eat but they have most everything else most Chinese house holds would want (granted more Hong Kong than Mainland, but they're cantonese people, so it makes sense).

                Asiana has a an okay selection for Korean stuff. But if you want to cook korean, you'd be able to with what they have. but their japanese items really fall short. Another thing, they are so expensive! Some of their prices are so ridiculous. I paid almost 6 bucks for a small thing of red pepper paste. I could have died, in NY it's half that! 8 bucks for nori. again, WHAT? But of course, i succumbed and bought it because I needed it. 16 bucks for a medium sized jar of kimchi. i bought a same size jar in NY for 7 bucks. Okay, so the 16 dollar one tasted better, but really. come on.

                Mekong Mkt. I've only been in there twice. Each time a pretty ick experience. The store smelled. They lean towards more of eastern asian items, like viet, and thai. Their meat/seafood appeared to be pretty questionable.

                2 Replies
                1. re: amatuerfoodie

                  any love for New Asian Market on broad st in providence? i have plenty! super fresh veggies and meats, quail and duck eggs, and the proprietors are very friendly and helpful. i'm quite smitten with the place.

                  1. re: amatuerfoodie

                    I'd avoid Mekong. I heard good things about it so picked up a few fish there a few months ago. I should have smelled them before purchase, because halfway home I knew I was in trouble. They were pretty much spoiled and smelled awful. Tossed them.