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.