Shopping at 99 Ranch Market

It's time to get lost in the supermarket again! This time, Adina tours through 99 Ranch Market, one of the largest Asian supermarket chains in the United States!

Released on 4/26/2018

Transcript

00:01
Oh, hello.
00:03
You know you've ordered a lot of food
00:05
when the tower of cardboard boxes
00:08
starts wobbling when you touch it.
00:10
(light playful music)
00:14
Remember that old saying about never going
00:16
food shopping when you're hungry?
00:18
Whoever thought that up has clearly never been
00:20
to 99 Ranch, a nationwide chain of Chinese
00:24
and Pan-Asian super markets that offers
00:26
plenty of reasons to chow down
00:28
right there at the store.
00:32
But rest assured, once you do start shopping,
00:35
you might not be able to stop.
00:37
It's time to get lost in the super market.
00:42
So the first thing you see when you
00:43
come into 99 Ranch is this mountain of sacks of rice.
00:48
This is clearly an indication of a population
00:52
that really needs a whole lot of rice all at once.
00:56
And that just continues when you go into
00:57
the produce section.
01:00
This is one of my favorite vegetables.
01:02
I actually first became obsessed with it
01:04
when I was in Shanghai.
01:05
It's called celtuce, or lettuce stem,
01:08
and it kind of has like a bamboo shoot like crispness.
01:12
And you shave it down, serve it lightly steamed
01:15
with a soy sauce.
01:16
It's really, really delicious.
01:18
This might look like a salad green or another
01:21
kind of stir fry green.
01:22
It's actually a kind of celery, Chinese celery.
01:27
The smell is just lik celery times ten,
01:31
and you can see like way more celery leaves
01:33
which have a lot more of the flavor in there.
01:36
Here is this tool that looks a lot like
01:39
a flogging device.
01:40
It is actually just an enormous length of green beans.
01:43
If you've ever felt like the green beans
01:45
you've been eating are just too short
01:47
and you just kind of want to twirl them around your fork,
01:50
you've got these glorious long beans right here.
01:55
I really wish I could tear into one of these
01:57
with my bare hands, but a pummelo which is like
02:00
an overgrown and extra delicious grapefruit
02:04
has a skin that's almost an inch thick
02:07
so it's kind of impenetrable without the aid
02:09
of a really big knife.
02:10
But I'm gonna grab one of these for later.
02:12
So I was almost going to leave the produce section
02:14
without talking about the mushroom situation,
02:16
and that would be really bad.
02:18
These king oyster mushrooms are one of my favorite things.
02:21
Okay, first of all, ridiculously inexpensive.
02:24
THey're like sort of super meaty, wild mushrooms
02:28
that you can slice in half and cross hatch
02:31
and rub with oil and sear,
02:33
and they're super delicious when roasted.
02:35
And the mushroom situation just keeps going over here.
02:38
So you start with your standard cremini
02:41
and white button mushrooms, but then you
02:44
get into these shiitake mushrooms that
02:48
look kind of like a little busted,
02:51
but that's actually a really, really good thing.
02:53
Actually, the cracked surface of the shiitake mushrooms
02:57
means that they're extra mature and super flavorful.
03:00
So it's definitely something to look for.
03:03
So we're gonna head over to noodle town now.
03:06
It's just an entire aisle devoted to noodles,
03:10
dumplings, rice cakes, basically everything chewy
03:14
under the sun.
03:15
If you want Vietnamese noodles, you have Vietnamese noodles.
03:18
If you want Korean fresh noodles for Korean-style
03:22
noodle soup, you've got it.
03:24
Here we have fresh ramen in the bag
03:27
with multiple kinds of seasoning packets
03:31
and oils in there.
03:32
So it's like a super high class kind of ramen situation.
03:36
And you can see the noodles here, ridiculously fresh,
03:40
like still freshly dusted in flour.
03:42
Then we get into a bit of a quirky section here.
03:47
Alongside the sausage, you have all of these
03:50
super flavorful thick cut bacons, and these are...
03:56
This one, for example, is flavored with cinnamon.
03:58
This one is szechuan spice so ma-la means numbing hot
04:05
so you've got your numbing hot bacon here.
04:07
So for bacon fanatics, I can only imagine
04:10
the taste sensation they would experience.
04:13
And then we have this candy-like assortment
04:17
of different types of pickled mustard tubers.
04:22
That's going to be like any kind of pickle,
04:24
just something really tangy and delicious
04:26
to serve with salty, savory things.
04:28
I might just open up one of these and give them a try.
04:32
I'm gonna try this salty, spicy, shredded radish.
04:40
Very crunchy, kind of slightly zingy flavor,
04:46
and actually super addictive.
04:50
And then we get into what I can only describe
04:55
as the ball section.
04:57
Hong Kong-style pork and mushroom balls.
05:00
Beef meatballs.
05:01
Then, down here we have our fish balls.
05:04
They're equally savory and feature truly adorable fish
05:08
who are very affectionate towards each other.
05:10
So I wish I could tell you the ball section is over,
05:13
but it really isn't.
05:14
It continues over here in the frozen section.
05:17
So we've got squid nuggets, cuttlefish balls,
05:21
fish ball with roe, so super salty oceanic experience.
05:28
All usually put into soup.
05:30
But then, you round a corner and all of a sudden,
05:35
you're at an aquarium, an edible aquarium.
05:38
Two different sizes of clam here.
05:40
Sea snails, kind of clam-like, like a little chew
05:44
with your fishiness.
05:46
Or just pick a fish and go over here
05:50
to one of these gentlemen and ask them
05:52
to cook it for you right here.
05:54
They offer several fresh seafood services
06:00
from number one all the way to number six, crispy fry.
06:04
Could I get one of these golden pompanos fried
06:08
extra crispy?
06:11
Number 52.
06:14
Ten minutes til fried fish.
06:19
Now that we've tackled produce, meat, and fish,
06:22
it's time to dive into the ridiculously diverse
06:24
middle aisles of 99 Ranch, home to everything
06:28
from salty snacks and sugary sweets
06:30
to hard to find flavor packed condiments.
06:34
So just like how when we walked into the store
06:37
we were confronted with a mountain of rice,
06:40
here we have a veritable shrine to chili oil.
06:45
This really, really makes me happy
06:47
especially because you not only have your
06:49
ordinary red chili oil, but this
06:53
wonderful development called spicy chili crisp.
06:59
So that's not just chili-infused oil,
07:02
but ultra crunchy chili bits that are
07:06
super delicious to eat also.
07:09
Rice, just like anything else, is harvested in seasons,
07:12
and the rice that you get in an ordinary super market,
07:14
you don't even know how long it's been
07:17
staying in a warehouse.
07:18
But the rice you get at an Asian market
07:20
is usually far, far fresher.
07:22
We also have a lot of really amazing vinegars
07:25
that have really earthy, fermented flavors.
07:29
Rice vinegar is the most common kind,
07:31
but I'm obsessed with black vinegar
07:33
which is really, really delicious with pork dumplings.
07:37
I'm just gonna knock back a sip of this.
07:45
It has this almost raisiny sweetness to it
07:49
that, yeah, goes really, really well
07:52
with anything savory and porky.
07:57
Even better than just drinking it straight from the bottle.
08:00
And we've arrived at the pork floss section.
08:04
So this is just seasoned, dried pork
08:07
that's dehydrated and shredded into a savory powder
08:10
that you can eat in sandwiches or
08:13
folded into steamed buns or just
08:16
sprinkled on hot rice.
08:18
So the pork floss fest continues over here,
08:22
and I feel like it would be a shame to walk by
08:24
this section without actually trying it.
08:28
I'm liking this color, very caramely.
08:31
The aroma is toasty and porky.
08:35
The sound is cotton.
08:41
Mmm, it's like pork barbecue powder.
08:45
I could see making pork floss a daily habit.
08:48
Let's got check on our fish.
08:51
Number 52.
08:52
So this package is steaming hot.
08:55
It's like kind of burning my hand,
08:56
and the smell that's being emitted from it
08:58
is just crazy.
09:01
The skin has become super crispy as promised,
09:05
and the flesh inside is really tender.
09:10
So good.
09:12
Okay, this is one of my favorite and most exciting aisles.
09:15
This is the snackety-snack aisle.
09:19
Tom Yum Koong flavor.
09:21
Okay, this is intriguing to me.
09:23
Tom Yum Koong, if anyone's a fan of the spicy seafood
09:27
soup from Thailand, it's like a spicy shrimp soup,
09:33
this is all of that infused into a crispy sheet.
09:38
Okay, closing my eyes and imagining I'm
09:41
eating this bowl of soup.
09:43
It's actually very easy.
09:45
There's shrimpiness, spiciness.
09:47
I'm even getting lime leaf flavor.
09:52
It's an entire soup encased in a seaweed cracker.
10:00
Snacking the aisles isn't my usual MO,
10:03
but it's impossible to resist trying
10:05
pretty much every surprising and surprisingly addictive
10:09
snack on offer especially when it features
10:12
vegetarian meat floss.
10:15
So the snack aisle continues on this end.
10:17
In addition to this delightful Hello Panda display
10:21
which I fully intend to devour later,
10:25
we have something called Snow Lovers
10:28
which appears to be crunchy corn roll
10:33
with vegetarian meat floss on the top of it and chocolate.
10:38
There's chocolate in it too.
10:40
So there seem to be a variety of legumes,
10:44
corn, mung bean, adzuki bean.
10:49
The aroma is nice and chocolatey.
10:53
Wow, this is ridiculously good.
10:56
The inside is almost like a KitKat bar,
10:58
kind of like wafery crunchiness with an
11:01
inside that's slightly softer
11:02
that, I guess, is the mixed greens.
11:04
Outside is a really nice chocolate flavor.
11:07
And then the vegetarian pork floss
11:09
is just adding this savory umami-ness.
11:13
This is really working for me.
11:15
Snow Lovers.
11:17
Pocky section here, obviously extensive.
11:20
And of course, you can find Pocky in a lot of places now,
11:22
but only in a super market like this,
11:24
you get really esoteric varieties of Pocky
11:27
that you can really blow your friends minds with
11:30
like I've never seen blonde chocolate Pocky.
11:38
It looks like the label has some sort of
11:40
puddle of caramel.
11:45
Pocky itself is caramel flavored and salty,
11:49
lightly coated in a really mild milk chocolate.
11:54
It's totally Pocky dork Pocky.
11:56
If you look at the aisle description here,
11:59
there's only one conclusion to draw.
12:01
This is just a ramen eater's paradise.
12:05
Both sides of the aisle, the entire aisle
12:08
up and down, you got your cup noodles.
12:10
You got your packet noodles.
12:12
You have exceedingly charming men
12:16
sharing the joy of exosauce shrimp egg noodles.
12:22
The opportunities for exploration are amazing.
12:30
And the package design is exquisite.
12:33
Wow, here's this dude again.
12:36
I trust this guy with my noodles.
12:39
After that whirlwind tour of the store,
12:42
I'm running on fumes and ready to sit down
12:44
to a proper dim sum feast.
12:46
Luckily, there's a steamy, dreamy dim sum buffet
12:49
right here to dive into.
12:51
Shrimp dumplings.
12:54
The true test of any dim sum.
12:56
This football sized fried meat dumpling would work.
13:00
It looks incredible.
13:02
No pre-made, pre-wrapped sandwiches in this food court.
13:06
Here, you get to watch skilled cooks
13:08
prep your lunch right before your eyes.
13:10
The only challenge: having to choose between
13:13
spicy Malaysian tofu soup, Cantonese crepe-wrapped donuts,
13:17
and crisp-skinned roast pork.
13:22
So right off the bat, it's this glutenous rice dough
13:25
with spiced barbecue pork inside.
13:30
It's like savory, saltwater taffy with pork in it.
13:34
So this is the pork belly with the rib still attached.
13:38
Dip it into this sauce here.
13:42
Smoky, sweet Chinese barbecue flavor.
13:46
I'm ready to try some soup.
13:50
Really big pieces of shrimp in this wonton.
13:55
So this is a jianbing.
13:58
It's basically a crispy donut, like a cruller,
14:03
encased in a two-layer crepe of flour
14:08
and also beaten egg with a ton of scallions
14:11
and chili sauce and cilantro.
14:18
This is the other thing I'm really excited about.
14:21
This absurdly enormous lamb burger.
14:24
The meat is actually loose, just chopped up
14:26
and flavored with cumin which is really popular
14:29
in northern China as a flavoring.
14:33
Cumin and lamb are so ridiculously good together.
14:37
I'm ready to take a cat nap in the food court
14:39
after that feast, but there's no time to lose.
14:43
I have too many new discoveries and forgotten favorites
14:46
to throw into the shopping cart and haul home.
14:49
And the first thing I'll do when I get there,
14:51
start planning my next trip to pick up
14:53
everything I missed this time around.
15:00
(bag crunching)
15:03
I'm gonna need some help with this.
15:08
(bag crunching)
15:14
I need scissors after all.