Asian Market


It’s a market in one of the strip malls at the corner of Dogwood and Oak Road, the side that has the Sonic and the Bank of America, and behind the old Blockbuster. It’s now one of four in a chain. Two of the others have been reviewed here previously, as Gwinnett International Farmer’s Market and Lilburn Farmer’s Market. That should give you some clues as to what they do, and what they do well. For those wanting more recent discussion,  there is an active thread on 285 Foodies discussing the chain.

Virtues here will be seen mostly by large families. The meat prices are staggeringly low. I saw good looking T bones at $4/pound, a ton of other meats in the 3 dollar per pound range, roasts in the 2/lb range. Chicken breasts are about half the price, per pound, of the local chains. A considerably larger supply of offal – organ meats, chicken feet, bony cuts, ox tails, etc, is available at Nam Dae Mun than other stores.

Meats can be incredibly inexpensive at Nam Dae Mun. There are butchers, under the "Seafood" sign, who can cut up meats for you.

There is a European section, with Swiss and Croatian chocolates and Russian pickles, and an Asian section, with a ton of useful sauces (yu xiang sauce, for example, and perhaps 10-20 different kinds of Kikkoman products). I saw plenty of Caribbean spices and condiments. There was durian and jack fruit – huge things. There were plenty of red jalapenos, sugar cane, Korean sweet potatoes (asian yams), habaneros, exotic spices. Silky and firm tofu were available for about $1.60 a container.

There is a bakery. Though pretty modest, they are selling cookies and Danish that look useful. There is a seafood section. Among other things, they have live catfish and live lobster for sale.

Nam Dae Mun Farmer’s Market
850 Dogwood Road
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(678) 580-6730

Two locations reviewed previously are:

Duluth:

3825 Shackleford Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(770)921-8288

Lilburn:

4805 Lawrenceville Highway
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770)381-0490

There is a location in Smyrna that I’ve not seen, but the address is:

2350 Spring Road
Smyrna, GA 30080
(678)309-0007

Maps to the various locations can be found here.

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Sushi Yoko is on the right as you head north on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, a tan to yellow building below the afternoon commuters. You need to exit at roughly the Tilly Mill Road exit to get to this eatery, as there are no exits immediately by this place. Inside, it has booth seating and a sushi bar, and is a little more cramped than you might expect, because this same building houses the Japanese store Tomato.

mackerel shioyaki

salmon shioyaki

tempura

tsukemono

Sushi Yoko features largely authentic fare, no teppanyaki to speak of, and has inexpensive eats, as a J place goes. Comments that it’s a good lunch spot ring true. These days a lunch single runs about 7 dollars. The shioyaki here is a good bet, tasty and fresh. They also serve a generous bowl of tsukemono.

Hall art.

But it was Tomato that we were most suprised by. My wife is in love. It fills a niche that disappeared when Books Japan closed, though it’s more a grocery and general store than truly a book store. Pretty art fills the walls as you approach both shops, and both indeed are recommended.

Sushi Yoko
7124 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard
Norcross, GA 30071
(770) 903-9348

Sushi Yoko on Urbanspoon

Tomato
7124 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard
Norcross, GA 30071
(770) 263-7838

A large pan-Asian supermarket, with a focus on Chinese goods, Great Wall is on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth, roughly opposite On the Border and the Pleasant Hill Barnes and Noble. I’ve had some trouble finding it, but I got enough hints at BuHi’s 3rd get together to find the place. The easiest approach, while heading west from I-85, is to turn right at the intersection where you normally would enter the OTB/B&N area via turning left.

The presence of Great Wall is waking up the sleepy Gwinnett Prado. A Cafe Mozart has parked itself nearby and a Korean Tofu House is beginning to take over an abandoned martial arts center. There are streamers and a big “Grand Opening” sign; but that may remain for weeks (the one by Sushi Avenue in Snellville has been up almost a year).

When you enter there are a row of eateries on the left and groceries on the right. Great Wall has generously wide aisles. There is none of this cramped elbowing you might find in other stores. We came twice on this day, once in the morning and then in the early afternoon. There were many more Asian customers in the early hours. Later was more ethnically diverse, and far more groups of people in shorts.

I liked the neat way the produce is laid out, the well written signs. You know what you’re buying, more so than other international markets. Rice is cheap here. It was nice to see a 50 pound bag of rice for 25 dollars. I thought that kind of pricing had gone away. Canned meats and fish were also exceptionally inexpensive. Beef, on the other hand, is pricier than the International Markets.

If you want the more interesting cuts of pork, such as ears, and feet, this place has offal in a bewildering array of forms. Near the meats, ladies had set up booths, tempting people with cooked samples of dumplings of various kinds.

This being a supermarket, taking pictures inside is the kind of thing that will earn you a long conversation with a market manager. I managed to get only one shot inside, that of quail eggs. But rest assured, this market is big and unique, and I suspect we’ll be hearing more, as opposed to less about it over time.

Great Wall Supermarket
2300 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite B6
Duluth GA 30096
(678)-957-0558

Mitsuwa Marketplace is a very large Japanese grocery, with five locations across the USA, and so well stocked that my mother-in-law’s friends in New York City know of the place. This grocery is pretty close to where Cupertino and San Jose meet, so much so that when I asked where it was, my brother-in-law said Cupertino. We stopped, in part because my brother-in-law was lusting to shop there, in part to just check the place out.

There are two restaurants, one bakery and a small shop that sells Japanese pickles inside the store. Compared to the setup of a Korean superstore, the produce and meat sections are relatively small. What the meat section does focus on is highly graded beef. The overwhelming majority of the meat offered is prime or Wagyu beef ( Wagyu most often in the form of American Kobe). The lowest grade I could find offered was “certified Angus“, which minimally is better choice or prime. A considerable portion of the meat was already cut for use as shabu-shabu.

Certified Angus or better, Mitsuwa largely sells very high grade beef.

The restaurants were Ramen shops. As is almost universal in the Bay area, the prices were much cheaper than anything Japanese in Atlanta and they all had display cases to advertise their food. From reading various newspaper articles posted in Mitsuwa bulletin boards, the food was pretty well received in the area.

They had alcohols the like of which I had never seen before, some distilled from fermented buckwheat, others from other grains. A couple minutes in Mitsuwa will dispell any notion that Japanese alcohols begin with beer and end with sake.  There are prepared foods, whole bento for those on the go and the bakery, nice as it was, was stripped during the Thanksgiving holidays.

In terms of size, as large as this store was, it could have fit entirely in the produce section of one of the larger Korean marts in Atlanta. The use of space in this store is very efficient, not wasted. The majority of space is reserved for items not requiring refrigeration.

Mitsuwa Marketplace
675 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129-2052
(408) 255-6699

The Super H Mart near Brands Mart on Peachtree Industrial, that is. It has about 7 restaurants ands bakeries inside, all in a row, and for a Super H Mart, is remarkably lightly used. You can walk through the meat sections and not be crushed. I’d have eaten there but I had BuHi’s get together to go to. But a note: if you need your Asian goods on the way, and you pass Peachtree Industrial, this place is available now.

When the sign for Assi Supermercado first appeared on Pleasant Hill, my daughter and I drove into the lot to check it out. Nothing was open at the time and my first impression was that it was going to be a large Hispanic store targeted to the Spanish audience. Fast forward to now, and Chloe Morris has reviewed both Assi and two of the restaurants in Assi’s substantial food court (here and here). Rather than being a specifically Spanish store, it’s a classic international market, in the mold of Super H and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. By the time I read Chloe’s blog, my wife was running late through Atlanta and my mother-in-law needed groceries to cook. It was a no brainer, then, to take my mother-in-law to the newest international market in Atlanta.

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There are two bakeries within Assi, including this one.

It is large. It contains foods, a couple bakeries (Mozart being one of them), several restaurants in the food court, and not just restaurants, but interesting restaurants. The store itself is maybe half to 70% of the size of Super H Mart, so the items that can be found in Assi isn’t as exhaustive as BHFM, but there is enough produce to make it a very useful stop. My mother-in-law completed her shopping there, getting everything from produce to inari-zushi wrappers to nori for home made sushi.

We also ate there, but I’ll cover that in a separate post.

Verdict: If you have any soul at all, and you’re living in the area, you must check it out. Simply must.

Assi International Supermercado
1630 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096

Update: On the blog Mama Sophie’s Soul Kitchen, there is a detailed comparison of Assi and H-Mart.

I’m following my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law through Super H Mart, so that my mother-in-law can get the things she needs to make sushi. I’ve brought my camera along, so that I can record anything interesting. My mother-in-law, at 85, insists on pushing the grocery cart. The most polite to her as she pushes are Asian (largely Korean) men, ages 25 and up. Children take her for granted and women are mostly aggressive to one another in the store.

There are always things to see in Super H; it’s a bewildering flood of images and products. Some things make sense, and simultaneously seem out of place, such as instant pho.

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I thought the point of pho was to be fresh. Then there is freeze-dried honey.

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Freeze dried honey? But Super H is always full of eye candy, such as these octopus tentacles.

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Or these Korean noodles, which are so good, they say, that slurping is allowed.

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Finally, dragon fruit, which, as it turns out, are native to Central America actually and are the fruit of a cactus. Just, in the Americas, the natives prefer the sour fruit, but in Asia, they like the sweet ones. This is akin to the difference between what mangos they eat on Guam and in the States. On Guam, mangos are consumed while they are green. They slice the mango, and eat it with salt and some hot pepper. I’ve seen my wife stop busses just to rush a merchant with a cart full of green mangos a mile from our destination, and happily walk the rest of the way with a bag full of green mangos.

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Dragon fruit, or pitaya

Mangos. See any green ones?

Mangos. See any green ones?

Super H Mart
2550 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096-4122
(678) 543-4000