It’s like the older I get, the more I cling on to my roots. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve moved away from my family in Markham, Canada (Greater Toronto Area – which I am sure you all know lies a huge mix of cultures, especial Asian cultures). Since moving to Portland, Texas two weeks ago, I have visited seven Asian grocery stores. Three of them are in Corpus Christi, and four are in San Antonio.
In comparison to Markham’s Asian grocery stores, the selection in South Texas is very disappointing; however, because I was well-aware that I was going to be unable to get a lot of Asian Products down here, I was actually a little enlightened and even a little impressed I was able to get some items here.
Items I was on the Hunt for
Of course, there are Asian products I needed such as sesame oil, fish sauce, ramen (plain), udon noodles – but these dry goods are usually always available at any Asian grocery store. Produce and meat was the problem. I was looking for:
- A-choy/taiwanese lettuce – my favorite green!
- Other asian greens such as bok choy and yu choy
- FuZhou fish balls (pork inside fish/surimi)
- Chinese bbq meat such as peking duck, roast pork or “siu yuk”, and my favorite, bbq pork or char siu
The Stores I Visited
1. Hong Kong Asian Super Market (Corpus Christi)
I was able to find a good variety of Asian produce including bitter melon, leek, long bean, Chinese egg plan, yu choy, etc. Hong Kong Asian Super Market had a surprising variety of produce, and I was impressed.
And then I found it – A CHOY! I was extremely happy to find this, even though it wasn’t the freshest looking.
There is even fish laid out on ice and crab/lobster in water, just like in Markham!
I like the selection at Hong Kong Asian Super Market a lot. Though I did not find FuZhou fish balls, this was my first time visiting this particular Asian grocery store, and I was more impressed than I expected.
2. Asian Market (Corpus Christi)
This is the first Asian grocery store that I had ever been to during my visits down here. They carry a good amount of dry goods as did most of the shops I went to. They didn’t have A-Choy (sold out?), but they did have some other greens that were of good quality. I bought some Yu Choy there which was pretty fresh. Again, no FuZhou fish balls were found.
The store itself is pretty tight and small, but don’t let that fool you – there is still a wide selection of products.
3. Miso Market (Corpus Christi)
I don’t have too much to say about Miso Market since I’m not exposed to Korean/Japanese as much as Chinese products. I do love (and cook some) Korean and Japanese food/cuisines though. I don’t recall there being much fresh produce, if at all. Mainly, I went in there to continue to look for those FuZhou fish balls but did not find any. There’s a good variety of Korean/Japanese products ranging from different noodles, to sauces, to snacks.
4. Hung Phong Oriental Market (San Antonio)
A huge variety of Asian products – to be honest, I didn’t get a chance to go through everything since I was in a hurry. They have a lot of products in stock, and their store is larger than the ones in Corpus Christi. The problem is that the products are not displayed in a pleasing manner – they were all in its (original?) boxes with the top cut off.
The workers were similar to ones who worked in Markham – not exactly friendly. The cashier did say thank you after our purchase. Coming from Markham, I know not to take it personally and that’s how some people are.
I recommend coming here if you have a time in your hands, or if you’re looking for something specific that is not as popular (such as certain products to make Asian soups like my parents would).
5. Korean Market (San Antonio)
All I remember is that it had a decent selection of products. I would stop by again if I was in that area, or if I needed something in particular. Again, I was in a rush.
6. Minnano Japanese Grocery (San Antonio)
I didn’t have much time here since they were closing in ten minutes, but this shop has more snacks, knick knacks, and beauty products more than anything, compared to the other Asian shops I had been to.
Some of the beauty products they have are face/sheet masks, foot masks (baby foot peeling mask), kitchenware, and even beauty and make up including Heroine Make products!
Overall, this shop is great as it has more than just groceries.
7. Tim’s Oriental & Seafood Market (San Antonio)
Tim’s Oriental and Seafood Market is, by far, my favorite Asian grocery shop. They have a ton of products, and the store itself is pretty large. It has all the dry goods all the other Asian stores has, and more.
A good variety of produce, meats and frozen items, and even Chinese BBQ!!
Peking duck, bbq pork, and roast pork!! This is very exciting to me, as I didn’t think I would ever find anything like this in South Texas. As you can see, their shipment will begin to arrive on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays – which means if you want fresh meat and produce, go on Wednesday.
Guess what I also was able to buy?
Yes – Fuzhou fish balls. These are a brand called Jane-Jane, which are different than the “Wang Zhong Wan” from Toronto, Ontario.
Unfortunately, these ones were not as good. The flavor is not the same, and the pork on the inside reminded me of dumpling filling, rather than the meatball texture that the “Wang Zhong Wan” has. Still, they are tastier than plain fish balls!
These will do for now, but my hunt for more FuZhou fish balls continues.