Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why I love 99 Ranch Market

My mom sent me on a routine errand to the Valley's 99 Ranch location the other day, and though I'd been before I'd forgotten about what an awesome place it is. Here's a couple of reasons why it's a pretty boss store (despite the inherent jank of it being in Van Nuys):

1. Observing the differences between what the white people buy and what the Chinese people buy
I was sent because they have really cheap oyster mushrooms, and then I consequently spent 10 minutes in the tea isle (more on that later.) I loved watching all of the equally lame as I white people buy frozen chow mein, Asian pears, other random ordinary produce, Hello Panda cookies, and sushi packages; meanwhile, the Chinese shoppers were surveying gelatinized pork blood, assorted fish meatballs, beef heart, dried and salted talapia, and other various shelf items that were hardcore enough not to bother with English translations on the package. There's nothing quite like feeling all cultured when you show up at an ethnic market, only to buy the most white-bread stuff in the store.

2. The tea isle.
Like I said, I spent a good 10 minutes just staring at all of the delicious options. Since I have a problem where I cannot enter a Thai restaurant or boba shop without ordering a Thai iced tea (hold the boba,) I knew I had to hook myself up with boxes and boxes of the stuff. But then, I wasn't sure what else to get to supplement that with. Should I go for the standard but tasty bubble/milk tea that seems easy to make but I could never get right? Should I sample any one of the seemingly hundreds of jasmine green tea options? Perhaps honey milk jasmine green tea? At the end of the day, I stuck to my Caucasian guns and bought what I knew - the milk tea. And I had some this morning, and it was bitchin'.

3. Seeing American food with Asian characters on it
I just find this weirdly amusing. Kind of like when you get something in the supermarket that has one side of the box in English and a Spanish side surprise on the other. I don't mean this like some random sauce or package that has multiple languages on it - I literally mean, like, Easy Mac with Bacon in Chinese. Or Cinnamon Toast Crunch in Chinese.

4. Almost getting killed by sweet old Asian ladies pushing their carts
They're not actually sweet, but they are old, and they don't look back or apologize when I dive out of the way and hide behind the squid and octopus tank. I love them. I want to grow up and scare children and young adults with the same reckless abandon.

5. The store itself scares and traumatizes young (white) children
I had never been to the store for the first 10-15 years of my life just because my parents never bothered taking me, but I knew all about it from my sister. She found the smell to be horrific, and to this day she likes to remember the store as some kind of open air meat market with animal carcasses hanging in the back where the meat is as if they slaughter them on-site. She has never gone back.


  1. Hahaha love this post!

    Next time you go, watch the Chinese people (namely the old ladies) pick out produce - they knock, smell, listen, sample, and rub everything. Then, if they don't like something, they literally throw it back in the bin. It's hilarious!

    P.S. Pork blood makes for a tasty soup :)