Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Super Grand in Laurel

With the new Super Grand in Laurel, Howard County is now bracketed by Korean markets -- a source for fish, vegetables, and Asian or Hispanic groceries.

Super Grand is part of the Virginia-based Grand Mart chain that offers a similar lineup as Lotte in Ellicott City or the H Mart in Catonsville.  As I wrote about "My Favorite Place For Food," these Korean markets offer quality and selection that make them fun for anyone who loves food, and the Super Grand opened in October to offer those benefits for people in Columbia and south.

Right inside the door, Super Grand offers fresh, low-priced fruits and vegetables that run from traditional American items like cukes and peppers through Asian and Latin American specialities.  Pomelos.  Asian pears.  Thai peppers.  Lemongrass.  Tomatillos.  Baby bok choys.  A half-dozen Asian greens.  Fresh jack fruit.  The exotic selection makes this a great place to carry your ethnic cookbook.  Pick a recipe once something catches your eye.  The reasonable prices let you experiment, and the quality makes Korean markets worthwhile even if you only buy items that Safeway normally stocks.  I bought chard last weekend that was twice as large and way fresher than I had seen anywhere outside My Organic Market.

As you circle the other aisles, you will see a great fish section with live and whole offerings on top of the normal fillets and steaks.  You'll see Asian groceries like rice, noodles, sauces, and desserts.  You'll also see Hispanic groceries from fresh tortillas and Salvadoran cheeses to Goya canned goods to an entire aisle of El Chilar brand spices and dried peppers.  (They even have Zambo's plantain chips and a display of Mexican candies.)   On the weekend, Super Grand offers tastings of Asian spice mixtures and stirfry sauces.  They weren't my favorites, but they could make nice fast dinners. 

The Super Grand difference is that it offers more Mexican goods and several aisles of American products -- Herr's potato chips, Nabisco cookies, Pop Secret popcorn, laundry detergent, napkins.  At Lotte and H Mart, those are often a single aisle, and they don't carry all the national brands.  (Update: Super Grand even carries Jamaican, African and Indian products.)  The Laurel store is about the same size, so it must offer fewer Asian products.  Certainly, the vegetable section is smaller than the H Mart, but my first visit found everything that I wanted.

Thanks to Sheri for telling me about the Super Grand in a comment to an earlier post.

If you want to read more about Asian grocery stores, start with my posts about "My Favorite Place For Food" and "Ten Easy Pick-ups."  Those will tell you what kinds of items you should expect to find at the Grand Mart.  On a first trip, I definitely suggest that you look for produce, for some fish, for frozen dumplings, and for the seaweed wrappers mentioned in the "Ten Easy Pick-ups."

In the back, Super Grand does have a selection of prepared food, and last weekend, they were offering samples of beef, chicken and pork cooked with some bottled sauces.  To my eye (because I didn't try anything), Lotte still has the best set-up to try some Korean panchan and marinated meats for a quick cook-at-home dinner.  H Mart has improved its selection, but the Super Grand still seems aimed at Korean shoppers who know exactly what they're buying.

Super Grand
13600 Laurel Bowie Road (Rte 197)
Laurel, MD 20708

NEAR: This is on Rte 197 about a half-mile south of Rte 198.  It's right off the BW Parkway, so it's an easy drive from I-95 or U.S. 1 via Rte 198.


Anonymous said...

Have you checked out the Fresh Market in Glen Burnie yet? It's right off of 100, probably about 15 minutes from Columbia without traffic.

HowChow said...

Do you have an address? I have never been there. Google lists a Fresh Market north of Baltimore, but I don't see one in Glen Burnie. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's Fresh World International Supermarket:7927 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie

Anonymous said...

Does Super Grand carry Xylitol Sweetener? I love the store. Was to pleased to see Fresh Tumeric there too.

HowChow said...

Anonymous -- I don't know about Xylitol. I'm sure they'll tell you if you call them.

betsy said...

Yes, that's the one! I'm super-excited about the produce, and also the variety of tofu. And the prices! As you said, worth a trip even if you just buy 'normal American' staples. (Grapes for 99 cents a pound!) Like the PanAm Mercado (about a mile away on rt 1) the Grand has stuff that makes shopping entertaining for me and my little boy.

Anonymous said...

Super Grand mart is a dirty store and they sell fish and meat that's old and smelly, and when I went back to exchange the meat they told me that I couldn't exchange it with or without a receipt. So my advice to you don't shop at super grand in Laurel, Md

Anonymous said...

Super grand is dirty,their fruits are not always fresh.when I go in there the fruit looks old.the store always stinks really bad I will not be food from anywhere that smells rotten.I only go in there for the container of argo starch