I’ve written fairly often about Hong Kong Market here, but while I’ve mentioned other places where one can find things from abroad, I haven’t written in much detail about one of my favorites: Golden City Asian Market.
Like a lot of markets catering to folks born in other parts of the world, Golden City doesn’t specialize in the food of a single country. You’ll find ingredients essential to the cooking of countries as diverse as Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
It’s not as big as Hong Kong Market, and as a result the selection of produce, seafood and meat is not always as broad. That said, if you’re looking for live seafood, including several varieties of crab, you won’t do better.
One of the things that sold me on the place was the small freezer case that sits in front of the seafood department, and in which there are cellophane-wrapped trays of paper-thin sliced beef, pork and lamb. These cuts are designed to be cooked quickly, in broth, as in a hot pot or similar dish. When you don’t over-cook, the result is meltingly tender, and I’m not sure there’s anything better for the price.
Where Golden City shines is in the “dry goods” section. Sauces, herbs, spice mixtures, preserved vegetables of all kinds and dozens of different noodles, fresh and dried, plain and with seasoning. On a recent trip I found a small jar of “CRISP GARLIC CHILI,” for which I developed a taste when given some by a friend who lived in Japan; a good-quality “Ponzu” sauce for my wife; a 12 pack of plain ramen noodles for soups or stir-fries; some sweet preserved radish imported from Taiwan and a couple of different packages of noodle soup from Sichuan that I discovered, only after I got home, have no cooking instructions in English. They did have the ingredient list in English, and they are a) really heavy for “instant” noodle packages, b) featured pretty sophisticated graphic design, which I (wrongly) associate with quality products and c) contain things I love: peanut sauce, Sichuan peppercorn, chili paste and preserved things.
There’s also a pretty extensive selection of frozen products, from desserts to vegan substitutes for meat and seafood, all the way through to prepared dishes from all over Asia and the Indian subcontinent. (I highly recommend checking out frozen Paratha – the two or three brands I’ve tried have been consistently good when cooked quickly on a cast-iron griddle or other heavy pan on high heat.)
There is also a small area where you can get a few prepared items like fresh rice-paper rolls or banh mi sandwiches; on weekends there’s a wider selection, including roast pig/duck from time to time. If you need some sort of cooking implement that hails from Asia, this is your place. I’d go to Hong Kong Market for a wok, but otherwise, the selection at Golden City is equal to or better than anyplace else in town.
I was under the impression, before I began writing this piece, that the place had a website, but I’ll be damned if I can find it at the moment. In my (admittedly brief) search, though, I did come across some online reviews at places like Yelp, and it seemed like the major complaint was that the staff – and particularly the women – were not helpful.
I’ve never found that to be the case. That’s probably because I am so charming and universally beloved, or possibly because I have long been convinced that everyone is laughing at me behind my back and no longer care. Or it could be because the people who experienced “rude” service were the sort of people who believe that yelling, very slowly, is the best way to make oneself understood by non-native speakers of English.
I’d rather not speculate. My experience has been positive; sometimes there’s a language barrier, but when I’ve asked questions about some ingredient or another I wasn’t familiar with, I was generally answered enthusiastically, if not always intelligibly.
Golden City Asian Market is located at 2712 North Arnoult Road, in Metairie. It’s actually adjacent to the Louisiana Restaurant Association building, and a couple of blocks away from the Metairie Whole Foods. You can call 780-8588 to ask questions, but were I you, I’d just go.
I’m curious as to whether I’m missing any really good markets along the lines of Golden City. The ones I patronize on a fairly regular basis are, not including Hong Kong Market and Golden City, the Ideal Mart on Broad Street, the International Market on Barron Street near Clearview, Norma’s Sweet Shop on Bienville Street, the Korean market on Transcontinental at Veterans, and the Japanese-centric Asian Gourmet Market on Williams Boulevard near the interstate.
There are a few other places I’ve visited once or twice, but I’m convinced there are others I’m missing. So help me out in the comments, if you can. You will not receive a cash prize for your assistance, but you will get my gratitude, which is worth approximately 4,223,003.09 Venezuelan Bolívares, or $0.000023 U.S.
I’m probably good for at least three comments. I can’t promise to compensate anyone beyond that point.