Stocked with huge metal shelving and a whirring band of rogue forklift drivers, this Avondale spot feels a bit like a Korean Costco. The Midwest's largest importer and wholesaler of Asian specialty foods and sundries, it supplies local supermarkets, restaurants and retail outlets, in addition to conducting a thriving retail trade.
This is the place to stock up on sticky medium-grain rice, gojuchang or Korean red chili paste, fishbowl-sized glass jars of funky smelling kim chi and bushels of bok choy and cilantro to cook up your own bibimbap. The meat counter features fresh sashimi-style cuts of tuna and whitefish, cross-cut short ribs or kalbi and marinated rib eye or thin-cut sirloin bulgogi.
Vegetarians will appreciate the cheap non-genetically modified tofu, while sweets lovers will dig on the selection of Asian gummy candies, various flavors of Pocky and odd sodas like carbonated cider, which tastes more like a sulfurous spring than a fermented fruity liquid.
The real secret though is the mini-restaurant in the back serving up soul-satisfying bibimbap, steaming honeycomb and beef soup and crispy scallion pancakes at incredibly low prices.
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant