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Feb 1, 2013 08:26 AM

MKE - Has anyone been to Asian International Market?

I noticed an ad on Chow for a place in Milwaukee called Asian International Market that is located at 34th and National. I had never previously heard of it but their website makes it look good. Has anyone been there and if so what is your opinion of the place? Usually if I go to an Asian market it will be Pacific but this option would be closer to home.

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  1. Yes. I have been there. It was several years ago. If you are used to stopping at Pacific you may be disappointed in the market on National. It is not nearly as big nor is the selection comparable to Pacific.

    I didn't find it to be all that clean of a store relatively speaking. And I shop at Viet Hoa without flinching, though I stick with bottled and packaged products there.

    However on the off chance that they have what you are looking for then it is worth investigating.

    FWIW my stops for Asian groceries are Viet Hoa, Pacific, Chu Hai on Appleton on the north side and the Thai Asian Mart on Silver Spring in Menomonee Falls. There is also a place on south 27th near St. Lukes but the name escapes me at the moment.

    1. A real "foodie" friend who professionally writes on all things food recommended them to me and said to get some of their mango salad. I have not been there myself.

      Chu Hai was disappointing to me the last time I went, but as mentioned by MilwaukeeNate, the Thai Asian mart in the strip mall on Silver Spring by Lily is a good small store. The owner is wonderful. Just don't be there in the crowds when the truck comes in to restock.

      I have been buying produce, etc. at the Hmong Mall on 76th and Mill. And, of course Rhino Foods on Hampton.

      1. Since I had lunch at 4th Base yesterday, I decided to drive down National to have a look.

        Nate says it has been several years since he has been there, and while he would note improvements, it is much as he says.

        While it is definitely no Pacific Produce, it is a nice size for a neighborhood Asian store, and my first impression walking in the door was that it was remarkably clean. It was also well lit with aisles wider than seen in many neighborhood groceries.

        There is a fair amount of produce and it all appeared to be quite fresh, but a lot of it was not labeled or even priced, which is a major sticking point for me personally. There was no fresh meat or fish or seafood at all, although the frozen selection was OK. There is a deli, but it only serves papaya salad, sticky rice, and one or two other dishes [at least that's all I saw on their sign].

        Overall, prices seemed to be comparable for the most part, although I did notice that the price of Cafe Du Monde was about $1.50 a can higher than at Asian markets in my own neighborhood.

        In short, it's a fine place to have around if you live within walking distance. But if you need to get in your car anyway, it's still worth the drive to Pacific.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fydeaux

          One of my big regrets is that H-mart gave up on their rumored move to Milwaukee. They apparently were looking at the space Cermak took, and I haven't heard anything since about them looking again.

        2. MilwaukeeNate - Thanks for the info and welcome to the board. I hope to hear more from you.

          Exvaxman - I have not ventured into any of those stores so I will be sure to check them out. Probably will not be going for produce soon though. You would not believe the incredible deal I just got on produce. A whole truck load for pennies on the dollar.

          Fydeaux - Thanks for taking the time out to stop in and provide a full report. It sounds like the "deli" is quite lean. Did they at least have Banh Mi? That is one of the reasons why I like Pacific.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Fowler

            Much to my dismay, I did not see banh mi. I wish I could remember what the other few items I saw posted were, but I'm afraid I cant. Regardless, I probably would have remembered if banh mi were listed.

            This from their website:
            "Fresh, homemade Asian food is available from our deli every day of the week. We offer salads, soups, sauces, spring rolls, noodle and rice dishes, and other delicious specialties you may never have tried before. Our menu is constantly changing, but our famous papaya salad is always available, and made fresh to order!"

            So maybe they have them on occasion.

            1. re: Fowler

              If you go to the Hmong mall - there is no sign.
              76th and mill, next to the CVS. Directly across from a great pastrami, Spartan Gyro. Mention how much you hate Ditka if the owner is there and get a discount (sorta kidding, just do it).

              The mall goes back far, also serves lunch. Make sure you go to the back section. The frozen food in one area is awesome.
              As a (*ahem*) AARP member due to my wife but not ready for the discounts myself, I have been harassed by a male teenager or two, but never by any one else. In fact one female teenager ripped her boyfriend a new one and asked if she could help me. The lunch counter is awesome in the far back for quick snacks.

              Rhino, they were the first and still the best for everything but produce. I once went there because my son (4 at the time) was sick and wanted one of the frozen treats from there. I went in and just got that, the nice girl on the check out asked why only one item (she knew me) and when she heard why I was there refused payment. Great hot food as well. Do not go there Sunday after church - very crowded.

              1. re: exvaxman

                >>>Mention how much you hate Ditka if the owner is there and get a discount <<<

                Excellent idea! Usually when I go into a new place I mention how much I hated Mandarich and how we could have had Sanders instead. Automatic 15% discount.

                1. re: Fowler

                  The owner's father was a good friend of Walter Peyton, as was the owner. His Ditka stories are, well, we all know what a (censored) "da coach" is. While Walter has a humanitarian award named after him. I am trying to get a real author to spend time with him. And seriously, try the gyro burger and the pastrami there.