Cooking Asian or ethnic is getting much easier these days in the Twin Cities. With the ever-expanding Asian and African populations, the cities have a lot to offer in terms of gastronomic diversity.
In my blog I try to cover dishes that are not too out of the way regarding the choice of ingredients. But unavoidably I do use condiments and ingredients that are considered Asian, like fish sauce or shiitake mushrooms. In that case, you might need a separate trip. (By the way, I just learned that you can actually grow your own shiitake mushrooms!)
I don’t want to dictate which stores you should go nor do I want to give you headaches for too many choices; as a reference, I’m listing below, in order of my preference, three of my favorite Asian grocery stores. If you have other recommendations, feel free to share in the comments!
Shuang Hur (two stores: one in St. Paul (my favorite), one in Minneapolis)
This is where you are likely to see me picking a live fish to steam for dinner. It’s homey (which translates to street-style, part dainty, part messy). I presume it to be a family-run business that’s been around for decades. It’s crowded on Sundays.
Shuang Hur (Saint Paul)
654 University Avenue W
Saint Paul, MN 55104
Shuang Hur (Minneapolis)
2710 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408-1630
Sun Foods (two stores: one in St. Paul, one in Brooklyn Center)
This spacious store with high loft-like ceiling can falsely give you an idea you’re in an Asian grocery store such as Ranch 99 in California. What something even Californian Asian stores can’t beat is their fish selections. While I know some of you might have concern over sustainability, I believe the 30+ selections can alleviate your worries. Also impressive is their pan-African selection. The demographics Asian grocery stores serve here are wider than one can imagine. Be ready to get lost in the United Nations of produce. Its deli section is not to be missed.
Sun Foods (Saint Paul)
544 University Avenue
St Paul, MN 55103
Sun Foods (Brooklyn Center)
6350 Brooklyn Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN 55429-2669
United Noodles (one store in Minneapolis)
This is where I get a silkie chicken to cook a classic Cantonese Chinese medicinal soup. I think that says it all. It’s also got a huge Japanese section where you can get stuff from cosmetics to the hippiest snacks. Deli section features great Taiwanese food that you can’t find it anywhere else in the cities. It is certainly neat and clean. Great for a first-timer.
2015 E 24th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404
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