Walking into Asian Seafood Market at 2833 28th St. in Boulder is like entering Little Asia. Packaged foods, spices and drinks from Japan to Thailand to India–and places in between–are in ample supply here.
The entryway cooler contains intriguing canned and bottled drinks like chrysanthemum tea and grass jelly drink as well as other keep-cold items. Freezer cases are stocked with prepared Asian goodies–meatballs for pho, for example–and seafood such as squid, milkfish and golden pompano. The store also contains bins and boxes of exotic produce like turmeric root and pummelo, an Asian grapefruit. (Fresh produce is delivered every Wednesday.) There’s even a section of cookware varying from large slotted metal spoons for deep-frying to delicate china tea sets.
Most of the space, however, is filled with packaged items such as spices and teas, jars of spicy pickles and chili sauces, and cans of various vegetables and seafood items. One side of a whole aisle is devoted to noodles–sweet potato vermicelli, anyone?–and rice wrappers; gigantic bags of rice are piled in a 5-foot-high mound at the front of the store. Not an inch is wasted here!
The ambience of the market is akin to a shop in New Delhi or New York’s Chinatown: Narrow aisles (by American standards) between tall shelves crowded with stock and a slightly disheveled look in some sections. The air temperature and lighting are mellow compared to the chilly sterility of a typical American supermarket.
Asian Seafood Market is organized into sections by culture: Indian, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Phillipine and Vietnamese. Some food items, such as soy sauce, chili sauce, rice and rice products, overlap cuisines. Those particular products, therefore, are available in a wide variety of brands, types and container sizes.
An interesting quirk of the store is the wide selection of yerba mate from South America, which can be found in the Argentine section. When asked, the owner Maria Nguyen, who is originally from Vietnam, said she had multiple requests for mate and other products from Argentina, so she decided to stock them.
With an extensive array of food choices and friendly, helpful staff, Asian Seafood Market is a delight for those looking for hard-to-find Asian food items or an authentic Asian shopping experience.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10-7; Sunday, 10:30-6:30
Phone: (303) 541-9377
Next: Interview with Maria Nguyen, Asian Seafood Market owner