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Asian grocery stores in the SGV

ClarissaW Feb 6, 2013 03:18 PM

Doing some general research on Asian grocery stores. Which one has the best selection? And which one is the largest?

My bet is the 99 Ranch on Valley Blvd but that's just cause I hardly try the other companies.

  1. a
    AlkieGourmand Feb 20, 2013 12:14 AM

    San Gabriel Superstore and 99 Ranch. Don't bother with other places.

    9 Replies
    1. re: AlkieGourmand
      j
      Johnny L Feb 20, 2013 01:22 AM

      How can you be so dismissive of the rest? The Square and Hawaii each have their own pros that 99 Ranch doesn't offer.

      I mean last I checked you can't find Red Boat Fish Sauce at 99 Ranch.

      1. re: Johnny L
        c
        Chandavkl Feb 20, 2013 07:45 AM

        Yes, I stopped shopping at 99 Ranch years ago. The value isn't there.

        1. re: Chandavkl
          d
          dreamcast18 Feb 20, 2013 01:59 PM

          horrible butcher service at San Gabriel Superstore too.

          1. re: Chandavkl
            j
            Johnny L Feb 21, 2013 01:29 AM

            Not to mention produce quality is generally terrible, only saving grace is they sell jidori labeled chicken and snake river farms american wagyu.

            1. re: Johnny L
              b
              bulavinaka Feb 21, 2013 04:44 AM

              Which market(s) shine in the produce department? My experience has been that, while variety is broad at most, the quality is average and often appears picked over multiple times. Thanks...

              1. re: bulavinaka
                ipsedixit Feb 21, 2013 07:41 AM

                It doesn't matter, really, what market you go to.

                What matters is *when* you go to the market.

                Go on Thursday mornings. That's when most, if not all of them, get their produce shipments. They get them other times of the week as well, but Thursdays are a constant.

                1. re: bulavinaka
                  l
                  Lisa H. Feb 21, 2013 09:53 AM

                  For just general very good produce and very reasonable prices, I really like Super King in Claremont just off Indian Hill south of the 10 fwy. A large and good selection, but warning, they are "Packed" on the weekend!

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    raytamsgv Feb 21, 2013 11:11 AM

                    None of them are consistently good. You just need to know what you're looking for.

                    1. re: raytamsgv
                      liu Mar 17, 2013 04:03 PM

                      You're right, raytamsgv, BUT I never know what I am looking for until I see it!

                      We have been playing the Asian grocery store hopping game for several years, and I still don't know how best to play it. As has been pointed out, no single store is all things to all people. Asian grocery store shopping is very hit-'n-miss for us; sometimes we find very little and sometimes we find "treasures." I think this is because we focus most of our attention in the produce section, and that flows with the seasons.

                      We find quality in the produce sections to be most consistent in the Korean Galleria Market, Marukai in Gardena and Mitsuwa in Torrance. 168 Market in San Gabriel can also carry a diverse array of produce, although the quality is not as consistent as the others I have mentioned.

          2. l
            Lisa H. Feb 6, 2013 09:35 PM

            If you are looking for Japanese, than an excellent one is Marukai in West Covina on Azusa. The website is marukai.com.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lisa H.
              b
              barryc Feb 7, 2013 03:49 AM

              i prefer marukai for their fish selection, etc. but there's also mitsuwa in san gabriel on las tunas.

              is it just me or has most of the alhambra supermarkets gone strongly vietnamese in terms of demographics/selection?

            2. j
              JThur01 Feb 6, 2013 09:19 PM

              They all have their merits and all can be surprisingly varied. For example, the HK Market on San Gabriel Blvd. seems to have a tremendous amount of mainland items, several of which I've not seen anywhere else. The HK in Monterey Park is more Taiwanese and general. Hawaii, SG Superstore and Thuan Phat on Rosemead have more Vietnamese items.

              I've seen items unique to one branch or one store.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JThur01
                j
                Johnny L Feb 7, 2013 12:17 AM

                Hawaii also has a lot of Thai stuff (galangal, kaffir lime leaves, thai eggplants including sauces).

              2. c
                Chandavkl Feb 6, 2013 06:51 PM

                The Shun Fat (or whatever they call it in Vietnamese) on Rosemead Blvd. in South El Monte might be the largest for actual grocery space.

                1. liu Feb 6, 2013 06:20 PM

                  We have enjoyed most of the Asian markets in the SGV and I agree with what the posters here have said. Usually, we search for who has the best produce. Market 168 has a lot of variety and usually their prices are quite good. 99 Ranch varies greatly from store to store, but also offers a good produce selection.

                  1. blimpbinge Feb 6, 2013 05:04 PM

                    Arcadia Market and Quang Hoa are the same (same company), I think they are the worst markets in the area. Never have stuff I need and often have numerous expired items just sitting on shelves.

                    Hawaii is cheap but is ghetto

                    99 Ranch and the 168's are related, and I find the selection generally good mostly because they're usually in the center of large cities, it also means their stuff is usually well stocked. Though I really miss the vons that was on new/valley where 168 is now.

                    I don't go to sg superstore or their related shun fat markets for anything other than durian snowskin mooncakes when it's time. sg superstore may be huge, but their selection is average.

                    HK supermarkets are nice, also usually as well stocked as nearby markets, but some things are a bit pricey. HK2 in west covina sucks though. I don't go there unless i'm eating at janty noodle.

                    I think out of all the markets, I go to 168 and 99 ranch mostly because they're always well stocked and seem to have everything.

                    1. ipsedixit Feb 6, 2013 03:48 PM

                      Largest is probably San Gabriel Superstore, if you include all the swap meet type stalls.

                      Hawai'i Market might have the largest selection out of any Chinese supermarket in SGV.

                      I think selection is all probably on par between the various 99 Ranch markets, 168 Market, Hong Kong Market and Arcadia Market.

                      The Square and Shun Fat might lag a bit in overall variety, but each has things that the others don't given their Korean and Vietnamese influences, respectively.

                      Quang Hoa is also a Viet-Chinese mix but I always find the selection there a bit lacking and the way they stack and organize their shelves reminds me a bit of a poor-man's Hawaii Market.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        blimpbinge Feb 6, 2013 04:57 PM

                        Most of the markets (i think other than ranch and 168) are influenced in some way/shape/form by chinese vietnamese, by ownership, partnerships, suppliers, wholesalers, etc. So products shouldn't be too different. I think most asian markets have 95% of the same stuff, then a small percentage that caters to the nearby demographic.

                      2. d
                        dreamcast18 Feb 6, 2013 03:23 PM

                        I like the new 168 on Las Tunas.

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