I have been meaning to post a short guide to Cranston’s Asian markets. A recent search for the ingredients for bibimbap, a Korean rice dish, has prompted me to put one together. So here’s a sampling of places to find a variety of Asian groceries in Cranston. All but Mirae are within walking distance in Rolfe Square.
This is the granddaddy of Cranston’s Asian grocery stores. Students from Providence sometimes make the trip to the market on RIPTA bus 22. Like the name implies, the market specializes in food imported from China, but it also includes tea, candy, noodles and other groceries from all over Asia. It’s often quite busy. They have a huge selection of rice, fresh produce, and an extensive freezer section. In the spring you can occasionally find fresh Moso bamboo shoots, and they stock fresh durian. Durian is that pineapple-sized, ridiculously-spiked fruit that looks like it could kill you if it hit you on the head. Chinese American Mini Market, 834 Park Ave, Cranston, Rhode Island 02910. (401) 467-7690. RIPTA Bus 22. [map]
This is a Chinese fish market next door to the Chinese Mini Market with tanks of crab, lobster and eel and fresh shrimp and shellfish. They recently moved from a location around the corner in Rolfe Square. Freedom Seafoods, 840 Park Ave Cranston, RI 02910. (401) 418-0101. RIPTA Bus 22.
Opening just a year ago, Phu Lam market is a relative newcomer to Rolfe Square. The name suggests a Vietnamese focus, but like the Chinese American Mini Market, Phu Lam offers a wide array of groceries from various Asian countries. Their produce section is larger than the other markets, and they also offer some prepared foods including bubble tea. The owners are very nice and are eager to help you locate you ingredients. Phu Lam Market, 72 Rolfe Street, Cranston, Rhode Island 02910. (401) 865-6699 RIPTA Bus 22. [map]
Mirae, the smallest of the stores, specializes in Korean and Japanese groceries. This is the place to go if you’re looking for gochujang, a type of fermented chili paste, or gosari, royal fern fiddleheads, essential ingredients in bibimbap. The market has a broad range of products, including a a wide selection of frozen fish. They are also very helpful. Mirae Market, 602 Reservoir Avenue, Cranston, RI 02910. (401) 941-9419. RIPTA Bus 21. [map]
A great place to try bibimbap is Ichiban, the Korean-owned Japanese and Korean restaurant at 46 Gansett Avenue in Cranston. If you go, you absolutely need to try their kimchi pancake.[where: 02910]
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