Saturday, May 17, 2008

Grand Asia Market in Raleigh

A friend invited me to join him on one of his regular trips to Grand Asia Market in Raleigh at South Hills Mall today. He'd previously told me what a fantastic market it is, and he was absolutely right.

From the time you enter this large store, you are bombarded with color, colorfully packaged Asisan products of every kind--sauces, noodles, cookies, candies, fresh produce, all kinds of tofu and tempura, a bakery, teas, a huge seafood section (with lots of live fish and shellfish), frozen foods. Everything. Even a cafeteria style restaurant that had me wishing I hadn't already had lunch.

I was overwhelmed and didn't know where to begin, but fortunately my pal patiently led me up and down every aisle and every section so I could see it all. This place was beyond my culinary skills (i.e. I didn't know what many of the items were), but I ended up with a couple of packages of rice noodles, some hot sauce, a package of spicy tofu, wasabi peas, and some interesting looking cookies. Next time I might have a better plan, but today I was just taking it all in.

Some pictures I took (you can click them to make them larger):

This nice gentleman did a demonstration of a tasty treat made of strands of honey. Yes, that's strands of honey.

eels strips and squid heads

live fish

tiny fish in oil

Frankly, it all looked delicious to me, even the stuff that might seem unappealing to some, I would have no problem trying. Now if I only knew how to properly prepare some of these items.


Jack said...

I enjoy the heck out of that place. One of my favorite things to do when I'm on vacation is to visit the local stores and markets in the areas that I'm visiting. It's such a great treat for me. Going to that Grand Asian Market is kind of the opposite, though. It's like going to our local market, yet feeling like you're on vacation. Some of the packaging is too cool. And even names that get translated into English can be fun.
When my son and I used to frequent the "Oriental Supermarket" on 15-501, we used to make a point to buy something that we had no idea what it was (it was usually marked with Chinese or Korean words) each visit, and bring it home and try it. It was hit or miss, sometimes. The weird ones were the items that after tasting, you still had no idea what it was. Is it vegetable? Meat? Beancurd?

Durham Bull Pen said...

Jack: Thanks for being my tour guide on this trip. Your sense of adventure and enthusiasm for trying/learning new things and sharing what you know are some of the traits that make you such a great friend.


phil said...

Rockin! The only bad thing about Grand Asia Market is that it's a long way from where I generally live. I never visited until I was housesitting nearby, then it was paradise.

[For quantity/variety of frozen and shelf-sold Asian foods, the closest thing in Durham is Food World at the corner of Lakewood and Fayetteville, near NCCU. I can't recall who has the most fresh goods.]

As for "what you can cook from Grand Asia Market", here's a whole meal for you, with food all from there.

phil said...

Oof, I see that my recipe link got truncated. Try this, instead:

Valerie said...

Mmm. Watch the wasabi beans. This is how I lost my taste buds for several days last summer. :p

I've heard great things about Grand Asia Market, and these photos make my resolution to do so stronger!

Durham Bull Pen said...

Phil: Thanks for recipe link! Yeah, it's about a 25 minute drive to get there, but for a once in a while trip, it's not too bad.

Valerie: Oh yes, the wasabi peas can be very hot, but I'd been given a can of these and knew that I could stand them. I actually like them! Trader Joe's sells really tasty ones too.

RR said...

But does the Grand Asia Market have illegal hooch like the (not so grand) Asia Market on 15/501 did, until last Friday?!

The Herald-Sun
May 19, 2008

ABC sting nets 70 liquors, wines

DURHAM -- More than 70 bottles of liquor and wine were seized from the Asia Market, 2726 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., in a Durham County Alcoholic Beverage Control raid Friday.

An investigator made an undercover buy of non-tax-paid liquor imported from China, according to the ABC, and the owners were charged with possession for sale of non-tax-paid liquor and sale of non-tax-paid liquor.

Durham police assisted with the raid.

PS: Have y'all tried the Food World that Phil mentioned, across 147 by the DBAP? I've not been in there, since it was Winn-Dixie anyway.

PPS: Grand Asia Market is technically in Cary, not Raleigh.

NC A.L.E. said...

No, The Grand Asia Market was not on our radar. They are a law abiding establishment.

Lt. Al K. Hall
North Carolina A.L.E.
(Alcohol Law Enforcement)

Durham Bull Pen said...


Actually if you click "Store Location" on the link I provided (and you provided--same one I think), it says:

"1253 Buck Jones Road (South Hills Mall in Cary) Raleigh, NC 27606"

If you put "27606" or "South Hills Mall" in Google, it says "Raleigh."

Maybe it is in Cary, though. It all looks the same to me over there, frankly.

RR said...

Yup, while Raleigh and Cary tend to blend together, having lived in Cary for a couple of years, it's Cary when you're there at South Hills.

It may have a Raleigh mailing address, but the Cary GIS includes it within Town of Cary limits. And Cary Police respond to calls there.

Here's the intro from the main page of the Grand Asia Market site: Located in Cary, North Carolina, Grand Asia Market has been providing the community with the highest quality Asian groceries since 1997.

Of course, the Cary borders are insane. So...doesn't really matter, other than giving prospective tourists an idea of where it is.

Anonymous said...

I reccomend the Kim Che there. The fresh stuff is over near the meat section or they have jars from Queens (which are spicer) near the veggies.

The other great buy for me is a bag of mussels. $4 for twice what you get at restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Does The Grand Asian Market do anything special for the Chinese
New Year celebration?