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Sep 29, 2008 08:37 AM

chinese supermarkets

Okay, so a friend told me the Super 88 in Allston already closed, so last time I didn't cycle out to there and cycled to C-Mart instead.

C-Mart is allright, but there are a lot of things they don't have that I look for... like Yimei ice cream, luobogao, the bajillion other refrigerated things Super 88 used to carry, the dizzying variety of noodles. C-Mart just seems too small to carry all the good stuff. They also seem to not carry a whole lot of S.E.asian stuff that I'm used to looking for.

Any tips on where to go for this kind of stuff? On occasion I go to Jin men in Quincy and I can happily find everything I need there, but it is really far for me (cycling there from Cambridge takes about an hour for me, and using the T means waiting for every other red line on a weekend, going to Quincy center, walking 20 minutes or cycling 10, all put together also 1 hour each way).

Any good markets in Boston/Cambridge hiding out there that I don't know about? :-/

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  1. Near the Herald on Washington Street there's Mings and the original Supper-88 (they are kitty corner from each other). It might be a complicated trip from Cambridge (red line to silver line), but it would eliminate the every other train problem you have getting to Quincy, and since Ming's carries just about everything Chinese and 88 carries most SEA ingredients, you should be able to find most items. Anyway, fwiw, when I can't get to Kam Man in Quincy and/or Battambang in Lowell, Mings combined with Super-88 is the solution for me.

    1. Did you go to the small C-Mart on Washington St, or their much bigger store closer to South Station (the other side of where Hei La Moon is)? While still not as big as Super88's biggest stores, it's a good 2x the size of the one on Washington.

      6 Replies
      1. re: kobuta

        wow, interesting. i only knew about the C-Mart in Chinatown (washington st.). i'll have to try the other one, thanks.

        1. re: kobuta

          Kobuta, thanks so much for the C-Mart tip. I had no idea the larger one existed. I went today and it was GREAT! So much fresher and cheaper produce than I can find in Beacon Hill. I got tons of stuff for $10. This location is so much better than the Washington Street location. I'm going here from now on.

          1. re: SaraASR

            hmm, i guess my experience wasn't the same. i just went to the larger C-Mart today (just now) and their eggplants were all spotted, kugua with fungus, kongxincai not kept cold (and partially browned). maybe they were just having a bad day. i went over to the C-Mart inside Chinatown right after that and they seemed allright, though :-/

            Still, though, no source of good ice creams, calcium sulfate (88 carried it, I use it to make tofu), MSG-free mushroom stock, fresh lianzi, luobogao, and some other good stuff ... missing what super 88 used to be already ......

            1. re: yuanzhoulv

              You will definitely see good and bad times for produce at most of the markets. While lifestyles have forced changes in the shopping habits of the local Chinese residents, stores have not necessarily evolved to accomodate. The reason Chinatown is a cluster of different markets is because residents would be able to run from one store to the next comparing quality and prices, and also going to specialty stores for certain things. If C-Mart doesn't have everything you want, you may want to try some of the other nearby shops to see if they have what you're looking for including Sun Sun on Oxford St, Chung Wah Hong on Beach St, and See Sun Market on Harrison Ave. These are all within a few blocks of each other and easily walkable.

              No idea if C-Mart's expansion will mean broadening their products to cater to a larger audience. Cooked food has never been offered at the C-Marts.

            2. re: kobuta

              I need to get reacquainted with Chinatown...

              C Mart 2 Supermarket
              109 Lincoln St, Boston, MA

              C Mart Supermarket
              692 Washington St, Boston, MA

            3. I don't have an answer to your ultimate question - but FYI, the Allston Super 88 is not closed - as has been discussed, their inventory is low, but we were there yesterday and they were up and running . . . .

              1. not in boston or cambridge but there are a handful of se asian markets in revere, lynn, and malden. the ones in revere are all on shirley ave and are very T accessible

                2 Replies
                1. re: galangatron

                  Isn't the Super-88 on Herald Street closed...C-mart moving in??

                  1. re: Sterndogg

                    Yes. Super-88 at the intersection of Washington and Herald is definitely closed, and C-Mart has a coming-soon banner up on the place.

                2. Kam Man in Quincy has lots of inspiration for home cooking. What about organizing a chow carpool with like-minded locals?