By Rick Gion
Area food fans are definitely excited about the new Asian and American Supermarket that recently opened just a few blocks west of its former location on Fargo’s Main Avenue. Just drive by the new store, and you’ll notice how full the parking lot is. Personally, I was excited enough to make a stop there on opening day.
The market’s owner has been quoted in other media saying that the store is the largest of its kind in the Dakotas. I don’t doubt it. It’s huge.
The demand is strong here, and we are hungry for more. The Fargo-Moorhead metro has a diverse population thanks to refugee resettlement and other positive cultural initiatives. The restaurant scene here is actually quite vibrant for it being the post-Covid world. Also, location shoots and on-air features by popular Food Network and Cooking Channel shows have definitely helped.
As many know, the parking situation was an issue at the former Asian and American Supermarket location, and I’m starting to think it already is at the new. As the saying goes, it’s a good problem to have.
Over the years, I’ve had many reasons to shop at the Asian and American Supermarket on Main Avenue. Heck, I’d sometimes just go there to look at the panoply of products when I was bored.
I’ve shopped at quite a few ethnic markets around the U.S. The thing that makes this one unique is that you can find so many items under one roof. Many comparable markets in larger cities cater to specific ethnic groups. At the Asian and American Supermarket in Fargo, it’s truly diverse. Not only can you find Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese food brands, you can also find items from Africa, France, India, and Mexico.
What more makes this market so great, you ask? Let’s discuss specifics.
A&A offers oodles of noodles. Fresh and dried, rice, bean, potato and wheat, you’ll find lots of noodles. They have fresh noodles for lo mein, pad see ew, pancit, ramen, and yakisoba.The dried noodles are great for japchae, pad thai, pho and many more dishes.
I love cooking some of these noodles on the outdoor flat-top griddles that are so popular around here these days. If you cook a huge platter of garlic-laden noodles at the lake, people will make sure your glass is filled with a cold beverage for the whole evening.
There’s also a lot of instant ramen offered at A&A. I like a lot of the Nongshim products such as Shin Black and Soon. There are other brands offered there, like Laksa La Mian and Nissin. There’s also the ridiculously spicy Buldak brand. My advice is to just buy a few at a time and try them out. Instant ramen is cheap and will whet the appetite. Trust me; you’ll be back for more in the near future.
Another important thing to check out is the sauce aisle. It’s truly impressive. You’ll find all sorts of chili, fish and soy sauces. It can get quite overwhelming, but stay focused and take your time.
Some of my favorites in this aisle include Thai sweet soy sauce for pad see ew and a few brands of chili crisp. There are also large tubs of gochujang in this area. Korean flavors are extremely popular right now. Kewpie mayonnaise is also something found here. And don’t forget about picking up some Thai sweet chile-garlic sauce.
Perhaps the most exciting section in the store features fresh herbs, mushrooms and vegetables. You will find fresh basil, banana blossoms, bamboo shoots, eggplants, mung bean sprouts, and various mushrooms. Some sectional favorite items of mine include baby bok choy, curry leaves, enoki mushrooms, green papayas, and little purple Indian eggplants. These eggplants are delicious when cooked in complex Indian dishes or just simply roasted.
Over the years, I’ve also found some favorite frozen products at A&A. Specifically, this includes samosas and gyoza dumplings.
I really enjoy both the paneer and potato-pea samosas. Throw some of them in the oven for 25 minutes and you have something crispy and spicy to snack on.
The frozen gyozas can be boiled, made pot sticker style or steamed. They’re quick and easy when you don’t have time to make them from scratch. A lot of restaurants use these frozen gyoza dumplings. They are quite good. I keep a large bag in my freezer at all times.
I do also need to mention that the local food scene rumor mill is telling me that a deli may be in the works in this new market. I look forward to seeing the results.
If you’re interested in ethnic food, a trip to the new Asian and American Supermarket is well worth your time. It’s a welcome addition to Fargo-Moorhead’s diverse and vibrant food scene. Just be sure to go at a time when parking might not be an issue. The place is going to be very busy for the next few months. It’s well deserved.
Editor’s note: The least busy times are 10-11am, 1-2pm, and 6-7pm. The Asian and American Supermarket is open 10am-7pm every day.
Rick Gion administers a Facebook group page called “Fargo-Moorhead Eats” that’s dedicated to the area’s great cooks and cuisine. It currently has close to 14,000 followers. Check it out, join, and feel free to post items about your local culinary adventures and home cooking.
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