It’s been a while since I’ve posted a look at a market in the Twin Cities metro—I think the last one was this look at the El Burrito Mercado market in St. Paul. Today I have a look at another St. Paul market and another that’s Mexican restaurant-adjacent. Well, the Ha Tien Supermarket on Suburban Ave. is not physically connected to the flagship Los Ocampo restaurant and nor is it right next to it, but it is close by. And so since we needed to re-up on some crucial groceries available only at Asian market, after our lunch at Los Ocampo a couple of weeks ago, we drove half a mile or so on Suburban to Ha Tien.
This was, in fact, our first visit to this massive location of Ha Tien. I believe it opened about six years ago. Our usual St. Paul outings keep us closer to University Ave (where the original, much smaller Ha Tien is located). And so if we need whole fish or bean sprouts or king oyster mushrooms or the like we usually end up at Shuang Hur or Dragon Star—or if it’s Korean stuff we are in need of we drop in at Kim’s or stop at Hana Market in Bloomington on the way home. But we were impressed enough with this super-sized Ha Tien to start plotting more reasons to be in its vicinity.
The market is slanted more in the direction of Vietnamese and Hmong ingredients (not a surprise given local demographics). Nonetheless, as at the also-cavernous Dragon Star, there’s a lot here for people from elsewhere in East Asia as well—and you can even find Mexican spices etc. I took pictures fairly quickly as we moved through—we needed to get what we needed and get back home—and so I didn’t explore fully but I don’t think I saw South Asian ingredients (Dragon Star has a separate section). But I don’t hold that against them. I prefer to go to Indian stores for my Indian shopping anyway and Ha Tien certainly has everything else we need—it has a large Korean selection, for example. And it has a very attractive-looking hot deli plus a bakery. And, of course, it has a large selection of fish, seafood, meats and produce that you will never see at mainstream grocery stores.
The market is large, bright and the aisles are wide. There were a lot of people shopping but we never felt crowded and the feel as a whole was a lot mellower than at, for example, Shuang Hur. And the massive parking lot makes life easier on that front too.
If you haven’t been yet, launch the massive slideshow below to get a sense of why you should go. And if you shop there often, do drop a line in the comments to recommend particular things they carry that are not found elsewhere or not as good elsewhere. I’m particularly curious to know about the food offerings in the deli.
Are there other major immigrant markets in the Twin Cities metro that I have missed? I’m sure there must be. Do write in as well if you have recommendations of other places I should cover. I do know about the big Indian markets in north Minneapolis—it’s just that I no longer have need to schlep up there now that there are so many more than adequate Indian stores in the south metro. But at some point I will post a look at Pooja etc. But if there are other notable East Asian or Hispanic or African markets that are worth a look I’d love to know which they are.
This store used to be a Byerly’s supermarket. In my opinion, the Ha Tien folks took the opportunity to take their selection (and prices) a little upscale when they moved in. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I’m just a little amused that the offerings moved upscale with the fixtures and decor.
They’ve done a lot of work in setting up that deli. Everything I’ve had there (admittedly not many items; primarily the prepared meats) has been as good as I remember from their original location (which now goes by Little Saigon Super Market; don’t know if Ha Tien is still involved [owner, landlord, or such]).
I don’t know why it tickles me so much to see Hispanic and Asian businesses take over these more old-school Minnesotan spaces but it does. I mean, it’s a natural phenomenon and completely unsurprising but I do also like the metaphor.
When I look at your posts labeled “Market” I do not see United Noodle. Unideli, yes, but not UN. There are two locations now; the original in south Minneapolis and an odd satellite market in Woodbury just off 94. Either or both would be an interesting review (or maybe review UN Junior in comparison to a UN review that’s missing a Market tag).
Have you been to Double Dragon on Rice and Maryland in St. Paul? Also a super-market, maybe the size of Shuang Hur. I don’t know if there is any relationship to Dragon Star. I also don’t know if there’s a specific “hook” to the store, the way there is with Dragon Star (huge!), Kim’s (Korean), United Noodle, phil (Filipino), etc., so I don’t know as it’s a destination for someone coming from your area. But maybe being a completist calls for a look?
Back when I started doing these looks at markets I consciously didn’t do one on United Noodle as it doesn’t really need any attention from the Twin Cities area people who I think mostly read my blog. Also, we barely shop there anymore—I can’t remember the last time we were there. Coastal Seafoods’ St. Paul location took away one of our biggest reasons for going. But I should get around to it at some point.
And no, have not been to Double Dragon—thanks for that!
My favorite things at Ha Tien are the BBQ pork banh mi and the sausage sticky rice in the deli. Most things in the deli are good. The cut up/packaged duck can be hit or miss. The turnovers in the bakery, especially the coconut one, are very good as are their baguettes.
What’s your take on United Noodle? Asian grocery for Caucasian customers?
Do you know The big on Maryland east of 35e?
My favorite market is Double Dragon *specifically* for the deli. They make a cold fungus salad that is absolutely delightful. Also one of my favorite papaya salads in the cities.
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