Pan-Asian Supermarkets: 99 Ranch Market


On the list of things that suck about not living in San Francisco is the lack of easy access to a variety of ethnic markets. Since I moved to beautiful, wondrous Orange County I've been piecing together the kind of sourcing that was a no-brainer in SF. In fact, on a recent trip to SF I popped into Rainbow Grocery to stock up on many items I that I had yet to find in OC. Still, I have managed to get a system together here, thank you, farmers' market, that has been feeding my family well. However, some of the pieces that were missing from the system were Asian markets.

Unless I was making a day of it, a trip to LA wasn't a solution. Irvine turned out to be a step in the right direction when I discovered 99 Ranch Market. While it doesn't have everything I was looking for, it covers a wide enough cross-section of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai groceries that I was able to fill more than a few gaps affordably. It also has a meat counter, a fish counter with live selections, and a bakery. The selection is great too. It took me a while to decide from the variety of fish sauces, (fish parts in the bottle or extract), rice, dried mushrooms, and noodles.

It has enough of what I'd needed and it also has fun items I'd never seen that have inspired some good times in the kitchen. It's limited but they also have items not of Asian origin like the ground chicharrĂ³n I've used to coat both fried green tomatoes and fried chicken. Between 99 Ranch, my Rainbow run and the haul my wife brought back from her recent trip to China there's some good cooking times ahead for Chowbacca! SoCal. I'll still be searching for new sources, but with 99 Ranch I know that fun ingredients are not too far off.


Part of the Haul

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