On Saturday it was a sunny nice day so I ran out to do some shopping to stock up on fruits and vegetables. One of my most favorite places to go is the Grand Mart on Muddy Branch Road in Gaithersburg. (I nicknamed it the Chino/Latino market.) To me, this store is very special- it's like a food museum where I wander the aisles and wonder about what I am seeing. They have the most amazing produce section, with many kinds of mushrooms, greens, onions, peppers, eggplants, bananas, oranges, potatoes, things and kinds you have never seen before- a plethora of produce and fish and meat and hot sauces and soy sauces and rices, etc., the likes of which most Americans never have seen or have the opportunity to try in most grocery stores. And all at Great Low Prices! Cauliflower-99cents a head, an amazingly delicious Basa fish from VietNam-$2.99/lb. Latino juices, spices, tortillas, cheeses, an array of taste tempting Indian breads, spices, and so many things that I can't even list the categories. Even Lebanese Labne! Anyway, I stocked up and came out of the store, and it was pouring rain. There was a lady outside the store on it's site selling floor fans, flavored iced teas, glass leftover containers, and discounted porcelain dishes, and we began to chat about the unexpected rains. I decided to wait a bit to run to my car, hoping the rains would let up a little..which they did. Meanwhile though, the lady selling stuff outside offered me some containers of the iced teas..she said- for you, for free. That was so sweet, but I didn't accept cause I wasn't really thirsty, plus I had iced coffee waiting for me in my van. Not so significant an event, until Sunday. When I began to see a trend......
On Sunday, Paul and I went out to do a little shopping for some other things, actually wedding presents, when we decided to check out another Asian Market - Kam Sam Supermarket on 300 N. Washington St. in Rockville- just off Rt. 355 and on to N. Washington, and down about a block on the right. (There is also another store at 4316 Markham St. in Annandale, VA.) This store is also quite interesting, and we found the things we were looking for..good selection of foods, but also a good selection of Asian plates and dishes. Much smaller than Grand Mart, but the prices and selections of items were quite good. When we were checking out, the clerks were so nice and cheerful and friendly to us that they gave us for free, the items below. Maybe it doesn't hurt that Paul speaks some decent Mandarin, and I know a little too..I can maybe speak like a Chinese baby. They were quite generous, friendly and kind. We used to live in Taiwan, Okinawa and Singapore. It reminded me of why we loved living in Asia- such kind generous and friendly people.
Maxim's, the Asian market on Rt. 355 that has been there for many years..to compare and shop a bit more- almost across the street from the last store. We found the prices on almost all that we compared were a bit higher here than for Kam Sam, but they also do have good selections. Also, not so grand and big scale with selections like at Grand Mart. Again, so friendly, generous, they gave us for free these interesting drinks of grass jelly at checkout. I think all these folks are encouraging us to continue shopping at their supermarkets. Fine with me - I love their prices and marvelous choices of interesting foods. (I've never drank grass jelly drink- I'll let you know on how that turns out. Any opinions are welcome on this.)
So folks, if you haven't taken the plunge to wander into some of MoCo's fine ethnic grocery markets, please do - you won't be sorry. Most of these stores are open daily, every day, 8 am - 8 pm. You will feel quite welcome there. We certainly did. Thank you Grand Mart, Kam Sam and Maxim's for being Special, and for making us feel that way.
And tonight I made a real nice and healthy dinner of rice, broccoli, chicken, and eggplants- 3 stirfry dishes.