Aug 102009

I forgot to post this yesterday, so it’s backdated accordingly.

I went on an excursion today to check out some of the Asian markets in the Raleigh-Durham area today, because I had a sudden and unexpected free afternoon pop up. I had been meaning to check them out for a while now, because there are a few things I have been looking for. Now that I have a copy of Gaku Homma’s book The Folk Art of Japanese Country Cooking (on loan), I figured it would be a good idea to scope out sources of ingredients.

I also needed some yakitori sauce.

Toyo Shokuhin

First off is my reliable store for everything Japanese, Toyo Shokuhin and Gift Shop, at 748 E Chatham Street, Suite L in Cary, NC. They have a good supply of Japanese groceries, as well as some plates, kitchen utensils, rental videos, and knick-knacks. They have my favorite rice there, a California Koshihikari called Tamaki Gold.

They don’t have tons of fresh produce, but they do have a robust sake selection. If there’s a pre-packaged food that triggers your 懐かしい switch, odds are they have it. I even found UCC American Coffee. The last time I saw that was in Okazaki. 懐かしい indeed.

Grand Asia Market

After that, I went to Grand Asia Maket, at 1253 Buck Jones Road in Cary, in South Hills Mall. It says mall, but it’s really more like a convoluted shopping center. Anyway, it’s a nice big supermarket-sized place that carries a variety of food and gifts from all over Asia. You can find Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and lots of other Asian countries’ products there.

They have a very respectable dinnerware section, and lots of fresh produce. They even have live fish, a bakery, and a restaurant. The bakery was really tempting. The store is right near the intersection of Buck Jones Road and US1/US64.

A & C Supermarket

Then I made a trip to A & C Supermarket on 3210 South Wilmington Street in Raleigh, on US 401 about a mile south of I-40 at exit 298A. It’s really big. They had a lot of cookware, too. They also have a small restaurant attached as well, and a produce section. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend there, sadly, because I was running out of time. It looks like a nice store, it’s just a bit too far away from Chapel Hill for my tastes.

Raleigh Asian Market

The final place I wound up at was Raleigh Asian Market at 3901 Capital Boulevard, suite 159 in Raleigh. All of the units in the shopping center are numbered 159, so the number is kind of useless. It’s tucked away on the Buffaloe Road side of the shopping center. It’s a small store, but it has a lot of stuff, especially what seemed to be Vietnamese stuff. (I’m pretty sure that was Vietnamese… my knowledge of Southeast Asian languages is rough.) It’s not really what I need for what I’m trying to make, but if I ever get into Southeast Asian cooking, I’ll definitely come back. The people were friendly.

Just looking at Google maps, I realize that there are at least a dozen Asian markets in the area… maybe more. And I’ve barely scratched the surface.

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