Grand Asia Market Recs. (Cary, NC)
I enjoy going to Grand Asia Market on the rare occasion that I'm stopping in that area. I have recently had their giant steamed buns that are near the front of the counter. What other dishes or baked goods do you recommend getting at lunch or to eat on the run? Please let me know if they are spicy.
Grand Asia Market
1253 Buck Jones Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606
Ooooh! Ooooh! One of my favorite places for food, out of many! For me, Grand Asia is about as close to Chinatown type food that you can get round here (maybe East Coast Express but haven't made it over yet). But I've been staying away from their pastries because I think they're made with lard (traditionally) and loaded with calories. Here are some of my faves at the cafe counter:
* Besides the pork buns, certainly try the curry beef triangles! Awesomely good. And I love the silly pastries with chopped hot dogs/scallions on it.
* On the sweet side they usually have buns filled with cream and dusted with coconut, those are great but again, serious calories and carbs. Egg custard tarts are a classic. They also have some great baked goods, those rolls with cream swirled around are awesome but I avoid right now.
* The cafe's lunch box may be even a better deal, I think it's $7 for a boat-load of food. Love the lions head meatball, braised fish (varies). They've also got a great beef noodle soup, these long fried pastries for dim-sum and roasted duck.
Serious yumminess, serious calories, I've been avoiding Grand Asia's cafe for months now to try and stay fit but you enjoy it!
Anything from the steam table is good. There's a larger selection on weekends, though. My favorites are the ground beef with edamame, the glass noodles, and the chicken with peppers. The heat of the peppers is completely random, though. They can be anything from entirely tame to sweat-inducing in the same dish. The tofu skin knots are pretty good, too. It's hard to miss entirely unless you just don't like the dish.
From the menu I like the ja zhang mein (sp?) aka noodles with soybean and meat sauce. It can feed two if you're not starving.
If you need to eat in the car, though, the steamed buns are the easiest to handle. Pork and quail egg and BBQ pork are my favorite, but they're all good. Finish with a coconut or red bean paste bun for dessert.
I haven't tried their dim sum plate yet, although I've seen people ordering it. Can someone report back on that?
Last time I was there I was trying to put some sorta order to getting and ordering what I need. Mistakenly I went up to the counter and requested the buns and was told to go get the buns and then get back in line. I'm not sure I know where the triangles are, but I do remember seeing the Cloverleaf Hotdog pastry. I'm not sure I saw tofu skin knots either. I'm trying to remember something that didn't seem americanized. AS far as the hanging ducks, do you just order it and they chop it for you? Does anyone know if they will cook a fish or crab you pick from the back?
As far as lard goes they say it is better for you than butter and definitely better than hydrogenated oil spreads.
The tofu skin knots are like anything else on the steam table, sometimes they have it and sometimes not. As Rcokycat said, Friday's and weekends have the largest selection. Just about everything on the steam table is authentic, only the usual suspects listed in english on the menu board are americanized.
They do cut the hanging ducks for you and you can purchase just a half.
The pastry area is a separate business from the grocery store, so you pick up a tray and tongs and put things on your tray and then pay at the checkout to the left of the pastry shelves.
I don't care that much for Asian pastries as the texture, sweetness, and contents are different than what I'd expect at an American or European style bakery. For instance, one of the pastries they might have is basically a hot dog bun filled with sweet red beans.
The steamed buns, fresh tofu, and lunch counter are the same business, so you pay for things together there.
I've always ordered the steamed buns and/or tofu by standing in front of the steamers and waiting for someone to come over, but that might not work too well if they are busy.
You order from the lunch counter by picking items from the steam table or by ordering cooked to order dishes at the register. I've gotten the boxed lunch several times. They do have things like tripe and intestine in some of the dishes so you might want to ask if you're unsure about a dish. Some of the items are an acquired taste. For instance, I didn't care for the tofu knots because the consistency was chewy and a little gritty.
I last ordered a cook-to-order dish about two years ago.
When they finished making cooked to order dishes, they brought it to the glass over the steam table and called out the dish. What they called out wasn't in English.
If you don't hear them, can't understand what they are saying, or they are busy and several people have ordered the same dish, you may have to be aggressive to get your order in a timely manner.
I haven't tried the dim sum but if you're there on the weekend, the spicy fresh tofu is very good.
Typically next to the baked goods case, they'll have a stand-alone, vertical heated case. I've typically found the curry triangles in there along with baked pork buns. And I'm pretty sure all the roasted duck/pig can be ordered by weight. They'll chop it up for you to order.
The steam tray food is good, I'm having a hard time remembering what I like but I know it when I see it. There's this red braised pork that's really good, I think sliced fish ball sauteed with veggies (awesome), cellophane noodles (yum). I grew up with the stuff but don't really know the chinese or english names for the most part, sorta sad.
The lines/ordering system is sorta chaotic but that's they way it is in Chinatown too...
My favorite thing is dou hua - they may call it tofu flower soup - I can't remember. They make it both sweet and savory. It's only available on the weekends. Basically, it's soft, fresh tofu topped with either a sweet syrupy thing or with a kind of hot-sour soup-like concoction, itself not too spicy, but they ladle hot chili oil on it if you like it spicy. I'm not into the sweet version myself, so I can't vouch for that. I prefer the veggie buns to the meat buns. In the bakery (if I'm feeling slightly underweight - ha) I like the sweet bun with the sugar swirl on it - it's the custard one. Mmmm mmm. All the dishes I've ordered from the counter have been good. You just need to see what looks good.
what a great thread. it's the only place i go every week! my favorites in no particular order:
1. mango smoothie with pearls
2. big bun (steamed white bun with chinese sausage + quail egg + meat)
3. preserved duck egg + pork porridge (i'll usually add my own preserved duck egg inside)
4. curry triangle
5. fried pork dumpling (oval, egg shaped fried glutinous ball near the curry triangle)
6. pork feet/ham hocks
7. roasted duck
8. chicken + preserved salty fish fried rice
9. cold, sweet soy milk
10. egg tarts
11. walnut and date candy (by the bakery cashier)
12. beef noodle soup
13. chinese doughnut (long fried stick)
14. coconut bun/pastry
15. taro bun/pastry
16. scallion hot dog bun/pastry
thoughts? comments? recommendations?
Okay so when I went they had the following buns
Red Bean and Date
Pork and Quail Egg
Vegetable and Pork
I had 2 of the BBQ (one for my dad to try because he likes spareribs from take out and this is more or less the same in flavor to me), 1 red bean and date, 1 Vegetable. I liked all of them. I did see the Curry Beef Triangles. I don't think they make the filling was good the pastry wasn't special. There could have been more filling. I wasn't quite sure what a preserved egg pastry was and if it was meant as a savory or sweet dish. I saw something wrapped in a pyramid shaped banana leaf which I think was pork. I didn't see any pork feet ready to eat or chicken. Of course I didn't walk around to the steaming trays past the buns.