The San Gabriel Superstore is part of a chain of Chinese Vietnamese grocery stores. But unlike some of the other locations, the San Gabriel store features stalls with merchants selling everything from clothing to CDs to make-up to jewelery.
I prefer the east entrance. The north entrance facing Valley Boulevard is where the coach buses pick up and drop off passengers headed to San Jose and San Francisco.
This entrance is directly across from the Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church.
This lady is outside the store every time I'm there. Can anyone guess what she's making? I'll get to her later in the post.
Past the Boba Corner, you'll find Vua Kho Bo (New Jerky Mfg., Inc.) and Yum Cha Cafe, where I buy freshly steamed shrimp cheong fun (Chinese rice noodle rolls), dim sum to-go items, and barbecued pork or duck.
You can see the various stalls to the left and right. I'm headed straight ahead to the main grocery store.
I tend to start on the right side of the store and work my way left. So on the far right of the store is the rice aisle. Well, just some of it, there's another row of bags of rice on the right of this row.
Various fruit. Quick. Can you see the jackfruit in the picture?
Various Western and Asian vegetables.
Fresh rice noodle aisle. Fresh delivery each day around 11 a.m. so if you show up shortly after that, you can buy the freshest batch by just lightly touching to see which ones are still warm. There's everything from ho fun (Chinese rice noodle sheets) to banh hoi (Vietnamese steamed rice vermicelli noodles). To the left on the wooden shelf are sweet dumplings. To the far right are more sweets and breads.
Galangal, chili peppers, herbs, banana blossoms, pickled bamboo, pre-shredded papaya, pickled mustard greens, seaweed, and mushrooms. And if you don't like peeling garlic, there's packages of pre-peeled garlic too.
Fresh soy products - soy milk (with or without sugar), fresh soft tofu with sugar syrup, blocks of tofu, and fried tofu. For the freshest soy milk, make sure you get a bottle that's still warm to the touch.
The fresh meat aisle with all the usual cuts of meat along with pork belly and pork blood cubes.
While the store largely sells Chinese and Vietnamese products, this aisle has some Malaysian and Indonesian items such as belacan, candlenuts, palm sugar, and spice mixtures.
And you've seen the fish sauce and soy sauce aisle before.
Dried rice noodle aisle. The egg noodles are on the opposite side.
Live seafood. There's also a large selection of frozen seafood as well as fish on ice and fish pastes.
The pots and woks aisle, where I bought my second (technically third) wok.
Clay pots and steamers.
Tableware and big steamers.
Fresh egg noodles and ramen noodles, kimchi, and fresh buns and other breads.
Fresh wontons, more fresh egg noodles, and packaged tofu.
And that's my usual circuit around the store before heading to the cash register. The prices are reasonable, the produce is fresh, and the store itself is well-lit and clean. So after trying a few other stores in the area, I've settled on here.
Now, after exiting the store, remember that lady making something from earlier? I decided to buy some sweets and filmed her making little cakes. It was a hot day and there's a small fire underneath that huge griddle. I ordered half a dozen of the little cakes - two cream, two coconut, and two green (mung) bean. At first she's just pouring out the batter and scooping out filling.
The she expertly flips one over the other. I don't know how she was able to tell which was which but she did.
Anyone know what these little cakes are called? She didn't tell me. I just call them "wagon wheel cakes" since that's sort of what they look like. 60 cents apiece, or buy 10 get one free.
Are these Chinese or Japanese? Who invented it first? I remember coming across a Japanese version of these at Mitsuri Cafe in Little Tokyo, which you can see on Henry Chan's Food Videos.
Pour, pour, pour, fill, fill, fill, flip, flip, flip.
They all looked alike to me. But I got exactly what I asked for - two cream, two coconut, two green bean. There's also red bean but I didn't order that. Red bean makes your body "hot" and it was already a hot day.
The cream is a lovely custard and my favorite.
The coconut was made of flakes and tasted a bit dry to me.
I also bought 17 cans of Yeo's brand soy milk at 49 cents apiece. Special promotion that weekend for their 30th anniversary. Spend $8 in Yeo's products, get a case of soy milk worth $30 for free.
So I got a box of 24 of these bottles of soy milk for free!
Cousin Q's older brother was in town that weekend with his girlfriend and her sister, Salah Jonger, so we stopped by to see if they were still holding the promotion. Score! A case of 12 1-liter bottles for free for each of us. This time I bought cans of chrysanthemum tea instead.
Sorry! The promotion is over, but the store still has plenty of other stuff.
Other store posts:
Oriental Food Value Supermarket - Portland - Oregon
Wing Hop Fung - Monterey Park
San Gabriel Superstore
1635 San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
1 year ago today, Mangoes with Sticky Rice - Vietnamese-Style.