We found the Grand Asia Market by mistake. (Seriously, isn’t that how all the best places are found?) Now, this market is one of our favorite stops when we go to Raleigh.
Trae plays hockey on a local team and had heard that Five Hole Sports off Buck Jones Road in Raleigh was the best place to get skates sharpened. Five Hole happens to be near an outdated-looking shopping complex, and in that complex, we found the Grand Asia Market. Since the town we live doesn’t have an Asian Market, we decided to check it out.
Walking inside is overwhelming to the senses. Most of the signs and announcements on the loud speaker are in Chinese. The product labels are a mixture of Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese. A lot of times, I find myself using my phone to Google what the ingredients are in a particular product.
In the back of the market, live crabs and fish reside, just like in a traditional Asian market. We have never bought any of the fish, but I have been extremely tempted by the pork belly that is in the butcher’s corner of the market.
Trae and I usually set a limit of around 20 to 30 dollars to buy things we have never seen or tried before. We love going up and down the aisles, seeing what new items have come in. I have now created an entire Pinterest board with Asian-inspired recipes so I have an excuse to buy baking ingredients.
The candy aisle is my favorite; the packages just pop with color and feel more like an exhibit at the MOMA rather than a grocery aisle in Raleigh, NC.
Since the market has become a regular Raleigh stop for us, we do have a couple of favorite items that we can’t resist, like the Prince of Peace Vietnamese Coffee, Ramune Flavored Gummy Candy, or plum flavored mochi. We also make sure we go to Grand Asia Market hungry because the market is home to a wonderful bakery and restaurant. The best part? The prices are amazing! I always have to get a pork and vegetable steam dumpling. These bigger than my fist dumplings cost around 3 bucks, and I am obsessed with them. Pair a dumpling with bubble tea and I am one happy Carrie. (Okay, maybe add one of those tiny pineapple square cakes at the bakery to that order.)
Pro tip: if you want a steamed dumpling, stand in front of the steaming baskets. If you go through the food line for the dumping, the cashier will just send you to stand in front of the baskets. Also, you pay for bakery items and food items separately. You can’t grab a slice of something yummy and then get in the food line hoping to pay for it all together. The bakery is the place where you get bubble tea as well. I would really recommend The Three Brothers Milk Tea. It has a hefty price of 5 to 7 dollars, but it is super yummy.
While your first trip to the Grand Asia Market might be overwhelming, don’t let that dissuade you from returning to the market. Once you get used to the hustle of the atmosphere and get the hang of ordering food, the market is truly like taking a vacation to another country without the hefty airplane ticket price.