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Sep 10, 2011 06:41 AM

Asian grocery or supermarkets in Boston area?

I am a recent transplant to the Boston area from the San Francisco Bay area. I just unpacked my beloved hot pot, but have no idea where to buy any of the delicious ingredients it requires. Does anyone have any recommendations for an Asian supermarket? (For any other ex-Bay Area-ers something along the lines of 99 Ranch would be a dream!). I live in Fort Point, so something actually in Chinatown would be really convenient, but I'm willing to drive and fill up the freezer if that is what it takes!

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  1. There is a good sized C Mart at 109 Lincoln St. near South Station. In addition there are many markets in Chinatown which is a short walk from Fort Point. Chinatown is not that big a exploratory walk around it will help you find what you are looking for.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Fort Point

      The newest C Mart also on the same street as Ming's (below) on Washington St is bigger and nicer, though the South Station store certainly has good options too).

      While there is some cross-over to Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Malay, Korean and Japanese items in the stores mentioned here, the primary focus of the Chhinatown stores is for Chinese cooking. If you want a greater breadth in selection, you need to hit some of the smaller specialty stores that cater to those ethnicities.

      Within Chinatown are several C-Marts, Sun Sun on Oxford St, Chung Wah Hong on Beach, to See Sun Market on Harrison Ave. For a larger supermarket experience with a focus on Chinese groceries and some international is Kam Man in Quincy or the bigger Hong Kong Market at the South Bay Center (off Andrew Sq station on the red line).

      In Cambridge you have Lotte Market, a small store focused on Korean and some Japanese, on Mass Ave. There's supposed to be a new Japanese market on Mass Ave in Porter Square called Miso, but I haven't visited yet. There are also an Indian market in Central Square too whose name is escaping me. These are all readily T accessible.

      In Union Square is Reliable Market with more Korean and Japanese goods - this one not so T accessible, but connects via bus, and has a good selection of products.

      1. re: kobuta

        Great list, kobuta! I forgot about Reliable Market - I was in there a couple of months ago & was able to get some sesame oil at a great price - also fermented black bean paste (without other stuff added to it, which I don't like). I usually buy the fermented beans by themselves, but haven't been able to find them in the stores I've been going to recently, so this was great find for me.

        I forgot about the store over at the South Bay Center - it's been years since I've been there. Haven't been to Kam Man or the Burlington H-Mart yet, but hope to visit both when I can.

        1. re: threedogs

          Hey threedogs---where in Reliable did you find the plain fermented black bean paste and what did the label look like? I've looked for it there and couldn't find it. Sometimes the labels have no English translations so it can be hard to tell. On one visit I wound up buying a spicy black bean paste which was OK but not what my recipe called for. I guess I could just ask the owners.

          1. re: bella_sarda

            It's way over in the section where they have fish - so, coming in through the front door, you would go left & then walk through to the other section, as far as you can go. The shelf is facing that farthest wall on the left (I remember going past the bags of rice).

            The one I bought (there were several) is by Wang (fortunately I still have some - lots - left). It's a short, wide jar, 1.1 lbs & only cost $3.19 when I bought it! Awesome stuff - makes me way too lazy to even buy the plain fermented beans now, lol.

            By putting on two pairs of my reading glasses (lol) I could make out the teeny print & saw that they have a website ( but I couldn't find it there. Instead, I found this photo to help you:

            I think they had other brands of fermented black bean paste there. Was just the luck of the draw, basically.

            1. re: threedogs

              thanks, threedogs. this is incredibly helpful! you've gone above and beyond the call of duty. I'll be sure to find it next time I'm at Reliable Market.

        2. re: kobuta

          The Indian market you referred to in Central Square, Cambridge is Shalimar India Food & Spices ( at 571 Mass Ave; in the back of which is the restaurant Dosa Factory.

          1. re: owades

            I find their prices (for what I was looking for, at least) are higher than the Waltham India Market on Moody St. (in Waltham, of course). Of course, the one in Waltham is much bigger - there's the food court downstairs, too, although I haven't eaten there (yet).

            I purchased a 10lb bag of whole wheat flour for chapati, which I used to make the best sandwich bread I've made in a long time. Very good quality. They also have a butcher in back - I've only purchased boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but they were great (think they were $2.19 lb, or close to that).

            They have fruits & veggies, but I really prefer the amazing quality of Russo's - or Arax market here in Watertown, for that.

            Waltham India Market
            393 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453

            1. re: threedogs

              There is a small Japanese grocery store on the last block on newbury st.(close to mass ave.), called Cherry Blossoms i think. The markups on the items are quite high so it's a kinda a last resort / shoppers who don't have time in that area.

              Cherry Blossom
              80 Union St, Ashland, MA 01721

              1. re: nasilemak

                Cherry Mart, actually.

                Along similar lines, there's also Japan Village Mart in Brookline Village (200 Washington Street.)

      2. I like Ming's, which is on Washington Street, just south of where it crosses the Pike. Right on the silver line, but you can drive there too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dave MP

          Is Ming's the store on the same street as the former Super 88? I am terrible with noticing names (a lifelong bad habit that does not go well with an aging mind, lol).

          1. re: threedogs

            yes washington street, just over the pike from chinatown proper

        2. There is Hong Kong supermarket in Allston, right where Commonwealth and Brighton Ave fork. (It still has the signage of the predecessor market, Super 88.) Some nice food stalls in the front of the store -- ramen, bebimbap, etc.

          The biggest asian supermarket around is H-Mart, in Burlington.

          3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

          6 Replies
          1. re: czarp

            When you make the trip to HMart you should also make a stop at Russo's which offers great selection of asian fruits and veggies.

            1. re: Bellachefa

              ditto on Russo's. I've seen Asian produce there that I've never seen at other Asian marts before (and I've grown up around tons of them ... I'm an ex-Bay-Area person, too).

              however for something like Ranch 99, H-Mart is similar in terms of cleanliness but has mostly Korean groceries for obvious reasons. Ming's and Kam Man both take the cake in variety of Chinese groceries, IMO.

              but do not expect to find anything to be truly like Ranch 99 here. as an aside, I don't know if you chuckled at the "Super 88" name the way I did ...

              3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

              1. re: tammyh

                what asian produce have you seen at russo's that you haven't seen at any asian markets?

                1. re: galangatron

                  things like kaffir lime leaves, raw/unprocessed bamboo shoots, lemon basil, sweet asian basil, etc. generally things I'd love to use someday, but wouldn't know how to use unless I come across a recipe calling for it.

                  grocers in the dot/quincy area may have these things for all I know--I'm usually north of the River.

                  1. re: tammyh

                    you can find all those things at the vietnamese markets in dorchester and the cambodian markets in revere and lowell. the only exception is kaffir lime leaves. they aren't available all the time but they do have them on occasion

                    1. re: galangatron

                      I used to find kaffir lime leaves (actually purchased some there, then didn't know what to do with them, lol - ended up moving shortly afterward & had no time to research) at one of the markets in Lynn - near Mitteheap. I don't live in the area now, but it's the one w/a side door, and lots of veggies. Used to like getting a bahn mi now & then there, too - when I timed it right, before they ran out.

                      Now I'm closer to Russo's, which I love - but I'll take the T in town (Chinatown) for my asian veggies. The one near South Station has bags marked down, too. Sometimes I hit it right & can get something that's not too far gone for a good price there.

          2. Thanks guys for your quick replies. I think I will spend my first weekend as a Bostonian exploring these. I will let you know what I find.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lieber78

              a visit back with your thoughts would seem appropriate considering you posted once and replied once. would love to know your thoughts on what you have found from the many recomendations.

            2. I've never been to San Francisco (sad to say) but I have a feeling you won't find anything here quite the same. It all depends if you have a car, or say, intend to get something like a Zipcar for transportation: as mentioned, the C-Mart in Burlington is the newest of all of them - I haven't been there, but do a search here & you'll find many threads on it.

              I seldom do my shopping by car these days, so the one I prefer, (haven't been there in awhile, though) is the former Super 88 market, now also a C-Mart, right outside of Chinatown. I just discovered that the Silver Line (which is actually a bus) goes right by it, so I intend to start shopping there now.

              I thought the address was Essex St., but I did a search on Yelp and they give the address as 50 Herald St. Someone correct this if it's wrong, please!

              The last time I went there I was impressed with the cleanliness & huge selection. The C Mart near South Station is convenient to me (referred to as "C-Mart 2" on Yelp), because I can walk over there from the Downtown Crossing subway station in a few minutes, but the selection is much smaller than the other one. Their parking lot, if driving, is larger than most around Boston, but at busy times it gets difficult to find a space.

              Personally, I would not recommend the grocery store in Allston (formerly Super 88 - still has that sign out front) for groceries - they have a food court that has some great food - especially the Bahn Mi at Pho Viet), but the grocery store is a sad shadow of it's former self. This is the Hong Kong Supermarket mentioned...

              2 Replies
              1. re: threedogs

                Quick clarification to threedogs' post.

                H Mart is the one in Burlington, not CMart. CMart has a number of branches in Chinatown.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  Thank you, beetlebug!! Old-timer's fogs my brain, lol.