accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

GreatWall Supermarket: Now the Chinese perspective

photo 5GreatWall Supermarket — an international grocer with a handful of stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic — has opened its first outlet here, right in the thick of things at 2300 Pleasant Hill Road near Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth. It’s just a stone’s throw from the Gwinnett International Farmers Market and the original Atlanta-area Super H Mart. The other two markets offer international foods from a Korean baseline perspective; GreatWall is Chinese, though a full selection of Asian and Latin ingredients are available. If you can read Chinese, take a look at the Web site.

I spent an afternoon walking around and making mental notes for future visits. Set in a former Target, it seems just as bright and clean as Super H Mart, if a bit more stark and less fancy. There are also some wild specials: $6 for a crate of mangoes and 88 cents a pound for catfish to name just a couple.

There are also a handful of carryout restaurants in the food court along the side — two Chinese places, a Korean one (that was closed when I visited), a Vietnamese pho place and a bakery. According to chatter on Yelp, you can buy fish or lobsters in the market and bring it to the restaurant called Top Chef Kitchen to have it prepared for a small price.

Here’s a quick tour of what I saw (and ate) on my visit:

photo 3

A heap of fresh rambutans in the produce aisle. I fell for this lychee-like fruit years ago in Thailand. Only lately have Hawaiian rambutans come into the market. You peel the thick, spiny skin and eat the juicy, tart/sweet flesh inside.

photo 2

Football-sized jackfruit. The little yellowy-orange slips of flesh inside are sweet, slippery and taste a bit like pear-meets-banana-meets-cheese, but the work to extract them is painstaking. I had some at a party recently, and the hostess entertained us with tales of jackfruit extraction.

photo 1

A really great fish department. I perhaps didn’t get the best snapshot to illustrate this, but there’s all kinds of whole, filleted and frozen fish. The ones with eyes look impeccably fresh.

photo 3

An impressive meat counter manned by Latino butchers and featuring any kind of offal you could want.

photo 1

A Café du Monde display so ginormous you can practically hear strains of “When the Saints Come Marching In.”

photo 4

A Cantonese barbecue counter. Mmm…I’m getting hungry.

photo 3

I decided to get lunch at the food court counter called, simply, Chinese Cuisine. For $5.99, you can choose any three of the dozens of dishes on display, served with rice and soup.

photo 2

There was everything from bitter melon, to fried chicken, whole shrimp and clams in black bean sauce. The lady behind the counter got a little irritated with me asking so many questions and kept pointing to one pan of grilled short ribs, saying, “It’s BEEF.”

photo 4

I ended up with some Chinese broccoli topped with crispy fried shallots and red peppers; soft and tasty pork/vegetable meatballs, and a fantastic stir fry of smoked tofu, pork and medium-hot green peppers. Urp, urp, urp. Good stuff.

14 comments Add your comment

jack trent

July 29th, 2010
4:23 pm

This is all a couple of blocks from the new Assi Mart.

jack trent

July 29th, 2010
4:26 pm

Why can’t our “mall” foodcourts be like the ones inside Asian supermarkets?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajcdinecritic, ajcfoodandmore. ajcfoodandmore said: GreatWall Supermarket: Now the Chinese perspective http://bit.ly/dClIb0 [...]

Michael

July 30th, 2010
1:20 am

More importantly, do they have 2-in-1 coffee? Shredded tofu strips?

Since Ranch 99 closed I’m getting desparate!

LP

July 30th, 2010
8:59 am

Are the two Chinese places comparable to anything in the Chinatown food court?

foodandloathingintampabay

July 30th, 2010
10:02 am

I had to laugh when you said the lady behind the counter was getting irritated by all the questions – that’s something that would happen to me. The ATL has such great markets. I always hit Dekalb Farmers’ when I am in the area. I have never visited a giant Chinese supermarket but it sounds like fun.

annie

July 30th, 2010
10:26 am

it’s Flushing in Georgia…it even has a bian dan (lunchbox) place! does anyone know of one maybe not so far OTP? Ranch 99 i think is closed for renovation.

Emily

July 30th, 2010
2:23 pm

Just FYI. When you link to the website, it is in Chinese.

jim

July 30th, 2010
2:50 pm

I don’t think Ranch 99 is going to re-open. Also The Atlanta Farmers Market
at Plaza Fiesta has gone out of business.

Kar

July 30th, 2010
3:25 pm

Yeah, I’m not exactly optimistic that Ranch 99 will open again.

Undoubtably, the medium sized ethnic stores are feeling squeezed. I don’t know if it’s not having the corp resources of a franchise/chain, the economy in general or the bigger chains moving in.

What bothers me though is the implication by the new store locations that only the suburbanites are interested in five kinds of chives and microwavable frozen eel dinners. Not even one’s moved outside the perimeter!

jim

July 30th, 2010
4:22 pm

Uh…you don’t consider Duluth to be outside the perimeter?

Kar

July 30th, 2010
4:36 pm

Jim, I live on Lenox so it’s easy to hit Buford Highway for Ranch 99, Mercado de Publa, Hong Kong Harbor, the Indian places on Briarcliff, etc.

But going to the Lotte or Assi places usually require the interstates/perimeter so they don’t feel like neighborhood places for me.

annie

July 30th, 2010
9:18 pm

I agree we need something inside the perimeter or at least closer to the perimeter. From NW Atlanta, Duluth is a trip requiring a cooler full of ice for the perishables in this heat. Shoot, the driver feels perishable in this heat. Ranch 99 used to be a ‘big’ chain back in the day, spawning out of LA (I think). I think these places of former glory are getting squeezed out by the insanely low prices at H-mart…

John V. Karavitis

August 1st, 2010
9:14 am

John V. Karavitis I love going into ethnic grovery stores. You get a glimpse into what people in other countries eat. It’s like a way to get into those shows on the Food Network like Anthony Boudrain’s “No Reservations” or Andrew Zimmern’s show. But if you don’t know how to cook these foreign items, you’re better off not buying them. John V. Karavitis But the thing that has impressed me the most is how it’s possible for all these foreign grocery stores/supermarkets to get set up and thrive. You’d think the “local, home grown” giants like Albertson’s or Wal-Mart would either have the supermarket biz all locked up, or that they too would foray into the foreign foods market. But who knows. Regardless, if you have a friend who shops at these places, ask him to bring you along and point things out! John V. Karavitis