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Super88 Allston Status Update

As the other Super88 thread ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/563123 ) was getting to be a bit unwieldy I decided to start a new one.

Status update, the good:

- Well they actually do seem to be staying in business, and the previous post that they are expanding the food court seems to be correct. They have essentially lopped off the front quarter of the grocery store and are already converting it into space that can probably house 2-5 more food stalls. The new layout actually makes sense. That alone is a huge plus; any additions to the already awesome food court could be interesting.

- The old configuration was a bit of a sprawl anyway. It really did waste a lot of space.

- Shelves are being restocked. E.g. they had 2-3 different sized of Sriracha, they had kimchee and some tofu products. The fruits and veg were very well stocked.

Status update the not so good:

- Their little counter with the amazing steam buns and sticky rice in lotus leaf seem to be gone for good. So sad.

- I fear that the selection of yore may be gone forever. Lots of Lee Kum Kee products, not the breadth and depth of the past. Could not find my favorite raisins, still not stocking the funky spiced vegan mock meats I really liked in the tofu section.

In summary, they are getting back up to speed. Time will tell how well stocked they get when they are fully done with the renovation.

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  1. And they HAVE been bought by C-Mart; this from the owner of Uncle Cheung's....She said they've been having a hard time getting fish heads due to the renovations!

    14 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl

      Years ago we used to sell piles of fish heads to Stop & Shop. They no longer carry them.

      1. re: Richard Hurts

        Surprisingly I saw salmon heads for sale at my local Stop & Shop this past weekend. My first time I recall ever seeing them, but I haven't really looked for them at Stop & Shop before.

        1. re: kobuta

          I see salmon heads there a lot, but I don't like to make stock from them, too stinky and oily....They'd probably work for Fish Head soup, tho...

          1. re: galleygirl

            Chopped and then steamed with ginger and black beans though - fabulous! The way my mom typically makes them (and other fish heads).

            1. re: kobuta

              Just chopped in half, or chopped in pieces?
              Just realized, I think it was Shaw's I saw they at, too, not Stop and Shop....

              1. re: galleygirl

                Depends on the size of the fish head, but usually quarters work well for salmon heads. You want to be able to get at all the little bits of meat and "good stuff", so the smaller size helps, but not so small that you get something akin to minced meat.

                Oh, and with some soy sauce and a tiny bit of oil to that.

                1. re: kobuta

                  Oh yum; I'm definitely going to try it as soon as I see some again; and on a night I'm not cooking for the Commodore, tho he did admit the stewed fish head we had in Kyoto was the best meal of our trip to Japan!

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    Sounds delish. I realize I keep missing parts of my ingredients - black bean, garlic (essentially, black bean sauce), ginger, soy sauce and a bit of oil. I wouldn't use the ready made black bean sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand or otherwise) as I find them too salty, and also too wet for this dish. If you have the dried black beans from any of the markets, they work much better and you can just sprinkle them over the cut up fish head.

                    1. re: kobuta

                      Yup, I use those, and basically the ingredients you've named, to do a steamed salmon, so applying the same ingredients to the fish head sounds delightful!

          2. re: kobuta

            I saw them at the Packard's Corner Star last night too.

        2. re: galleygirl

          If C-Mart has bought out Super 88, they must plan to leave at least the Allston store under its own brand rather than turning it into a C-Mart. There's quite a lot of new signage that features the Super 88 logo.

          1. re: Allstonian

            She said they bought the one at South Bay as well...

            1. re: galleygirl

              I haven't been to the South Bay store, since I don't have a car and live four blocks from the Allston store. I'm just reporting what I've seen in Allston.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Yes, I've seen th big new sign, too. I guess it makes sense to own two chains....

        3. I'm glad they are staying in business, but I can buy Lee Kum Kee and taste of thai at Stop and Shop. I gave in and bought my Sriracha there, too.

          I hope we see better from them come spring and summer.

          1. Regarding the steam bun counter, what about the fridge with cakes? I like the "Swiss Roll" cakes from them.

            Thanks for the update. I gave up on them, so I went to Chinatown on MLK day and stocked up at C-Mart and Ming's. Bought several jars of bamboo shoots in chili oil, low-sodium soy sauce, char siu sauce, hot sesame oil etc, which should last me for 6 months. Hopefully the new and improved Allston88 will be ready by then!

            1 Reply
            1. re: y2000k

              Dunno if the cake fridge is coming back, but the swiss roll-style cakes at Yi Soon Bakery -- a couple blocks away, near the corner of Brighton and Linden, next to Infusions Tea Spa and across the street from Jo Jo Taipei -- are both far superior and dirt cheap.

            2. The selection is not that shrunken and the aisles now are divided by country. The actual grocery space is close to what they had before, with most of the loss being the empty space they always had and the shrinking of the giant freezer bins that were at the back of the store. I'm disappointed the meat counter is just a display now, not an actual counter manned by people who don't speak any English.

              They did not have winter mushrooms today, which is almost the first time ever, and that sucked. They did have Jaffa clementines, which are sooooo good.

              6 Replies
              1. re: lergnom

                How many feet devoted to ramen noodles and how many brands? Just curious. The South Bay used to have tons of brands and loads of space. Now they offer just a few and some you can get at Stop and Shop.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Sorry. Don't eat that but I'll be there in the next few days and I'll try to look more. They don't have my favorite sour fish paste but they do have small bottles of fish sauce, of a size that fits better in the fridge, which is important when you don't pour it on everything.

                  1. re: lergnom

                    THANKS!

                    I got a real job and stopped existing on ramen decades ago but there are a few brands that 88 carried that are really excellent. Great hangover food.

                    Of course they are the ones they dont stock now.

                    I know the sour fish paste you speak of and will check Kam Man for it. Probably will go there this weekend. I don't think fish sauce needs to be refrigerated. I have 2 big bottles open and they live on the counter.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      My wife insists on putting it the fridge. It isn't necessary.

                      1. re: lergnom

                        I was in the store today. Aisle 7 is instant and dried noodles, both the plastic wrapped and the bowl kind. From Thailand, China, Taiwan, Japan & Korea. Many had no English characters. Lots of brands. I was glad to see they have dried bean curd wrapper.

                        1. re: lergnom

                          Tnx. I ended up stocking up at Kam Man.

                          I got sidetracked helping people find something when I was scouring the Thai/Viet aisle for sour fish paste.

                          Kam Man is still well stocked.

                          Will try to look closely next time.

              2. Does anyone know what's with this new perponderance of Lee Kum Kee products? Lately, I've noticed this at other Asian grocers in the area (i.e. Kam Man, Battambang, Ming's), they seem to be stocking a lot more Lee Kum Kee, and a lot less of brands like Yeo's, Liu Bi Ju, and Pearl River. Is it just my imagination?

                2 Replies
                1. re: qianning

                  Lee Kum Kee is huge. They probably give a big discount if a store buys many or most things from them. I am generally NOT a huge Lee Kum Kee fan though some of their products are fine. Classic case of big guy trying to muscle out the little guys.

                  1. re: qianning

                    I imagine it's much easier to procure Lee Kum Kee brand, since they have two offices in the US to facilitate distribution vs. having to deal with overseas offices or other middlemen to import the other brands. Even though gas and oil prices have dropped, sadly I have not noticed a considerable drop in commodities that were marked up due to increase in shipping costs over the last year or so.