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Where to shop for Chinese Ingredients

I have just begun cooking Chinese and I need a good market. I live on the Westside but am willing to shop in SGV, Any recomendations?

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  1. 99 Ranch Van Nuys, cor Sepulveda and Victory, is closer than going to SGV

    1 Reply
    1. Well, Chinatown's almost on the way to the SGV and would cut the drive by quite a bit. Alternatively you could head north on the 405 to Van Nuys for the 99 Ranch Market, Victory and Sepulveda.

      Edit: How 'bout that, 3 votes for 99 in 5 minutes.

      1. 99 Ranch in Van Nuys - that's four now... Sam Woo and Pho So 1 bookend that 99 Ranch - both are decent to very good depending what we've ordered in the past. Eat first so you won't overshop - particularly on your first few trips to 99 Ranch - the selection of foods is overwhelming if you're a newbie - you will literally want to grab so much. Once you're on the 405 from the Westside, it should be no more than 10-15 minutes as long as traffic is decent.

        Another 99 Ranch that we shop at if we're in the South Bay is the one on Artesia just before the street turns into the 91 Freeway. It's smaller, not as well-stocked and has a definite aroma of wet market at times, but this one will do in a pinch, and is a few doors away from El Rocoto as well. This store is further from the Westside - about 25 minutes.

        The Chinatown store takes about about 30 minutes if traffic is normal. But I would suggest driving the extra 10-15 minutes out to SGV instead if you're considering this store from the Westside...

        1. If you do venture out to the SGV for Chinese groceries, my favorite source is 168 Market.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/379901

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          168 Market
          1421 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA

          7 Replies
          1. re: sel

            We tend to be creatures of habit when it comes to shopping for groceries in SGV - it's just easier for us since we know the layout, etc. What do you find that attracts you to 168? We're always open for exploratory missions as well...

            1. re: bulavinaka

              The best selection of exotic seafood is at Hawai'i Supermarket.

              Best selection of dried goods and canned foods is at the San Gabriel Superstore.

              99 is a good compromise location, esp. for non-Chinese speakers. More clerks that speak English, cleaner stores and more easily navigable aisles.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                I'd say check the link to the older thread in my post for details but 168 is newer, cleaner, fresher (produce/meat/seafood & fish) and better stocked than most of the others. They have the best selection of fresh, locally made noodles and more commercial, large size packages than most other places. I still shop at Hawaii, Rosemead and Shun Fat (least favorite) but 168 is numero uno in my book!
                Also 101 Noodle Express is across the street for lunch, then grocery shopping at 168 and a drive to Fosselman's for dessert before driving home!

                1. re: sel

                  Hey! That's one of my favorite weekend itineraries!

                  Beef roll at 101, buy grass jelly drinks at 168, then lychee ice cream at Fosselman's - what an afternoon!

                2. re: bulavinaka

                  Thanks, Ipse and sel - will jot these down for our next visit...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    Are the really no places at all near the Westside to buy chinese groceries? Not a single one?!

                    I do know of a few Japanese groceries such as Mitsuwa, and the places on Sawtelle, but I don't know any places for chinese groceries whatsoever in the Westside.

                    1. re: agarose2000

                      While it may be hard to prove a negative, there area really no places on the Westside, not one. Closest option is the 99 Ranch Market in Gardena. Also some Chinese ingredients can be found at the Thai markets in Thai town.

              2. I like to go to both the Hawaii Supermarket and the Ranch 99 in San Gabriel Square, both on the corner of Valley and Del Mar. If I don't find what I want in one, the other is just across the street and will most likely have it. Generally I find Hawaii better for more exotic or unusual stuff, and Ranch 99 better for packaged, canned and bottled stuff. I do prefer the meat and fowl at Ranch 99.

                1. The 99 Ranch in Van Nuys is OK, but compared to the SGV outposts it's just a shanda.

                  Me, I love me some Hawai'i Supermarket across from the Great Mall of China on Valley and Del Mar. GREAT seafood.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    "The 99 Ranch in Van Nuys is OK, but compared to the SGV outposts it's just a shanda."

                    Ya, it may be shanda-esk. But an oasis in the desert. If they ever closed, where else would valley peeps go?

                    1. re: WheresTheGrub

                      To HK Market, Bangluck Market, New King Seafood, or the Korean Galleria on Reseda Blvd.

                      The VN 99 Ranch is OK. It is, as you say, an oasis, particularly for Westsiders whose Asian markets are limited to Japanese (Marukai, Mitsuwa). The produce is only slightly worse than its SGV counterparts, and the selection of tinned and bottled ingredients is actually not bad at all. The fish and meat counter, however, smell significantly worse than the newer 99 Ranch markets, and that puts me off bigtime.

                  2. For bulk items, try Canton Seafood around 700 Alameda ( a bit south of Olvera St.) Kind of a Chinese Costco with no membership reqs.