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Top 19 Items to Buy at 99 Ranch Supermarket

For those who are yet unfamiliar, 99 Ranch Supermarket is a well-known Asian food market chain that offers a wide variety of staple and exotic goods that are not readily available in most American food markets. Based in Buena Park, California, 99 Ranch also has 50 stores located across the United States. Located primarily in California, the chain also has locations in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Texas, and Maryland. If you are considering taking a trip, you might want to get some tips on the best items to purchase. The store offers so many unique goods that the experience can become overwhelming.

For me, 99 Ranch brings me back to my childhood.  I would tag along with my grandfather on his several hour shopping trips, seeing what “treasures” he would come home to cook with.  Below is a list of my favorite things to buy at 99 Ranch Market, influenced by my grandfather, my childhood, and my cooking experience today.  Enjoy!

99 Ranch Supermarket Herbs

If you are looking for unique herbs, look no further. Herbs are not only healthy, adding lots of vitamins and nutrients to your diet, but they can also be quite tasty. Moreover, herbs can offer benefits such as helping to improve brain function, lower blood pressure, increase mobility and agility, help with cholesterol management, and much more. Some of the top options at 99 Ranch are the following:

Thai basil is a great herb to cook with, especially in salads and curries. (Photo courtesy of iStock Photo)

  • Thai Basil: Thai Basil is widely used in Southeast Asia, and slightly different than the basil traditionally sold in most American . supermarkets.  The flavor is more licorice-like, and slightly spicy.  Think of it as a sister to the basil you are used to.

Baby Ginger — slightly different flavor than regular ginger (Photo Courtesy of Yankee Magazine)

  • Baby Ginger: 99 Ranch market is one of the only markets where you can buy this rare form of ginger.  It is slightly sweeter than regular ginger, and a great ingredient for making pickled ginger.  However, please note that it does not have as long of a shelf life as regular ginger.

Notable Vegetables

Although vegetables are important, our options are more limited in American supermarkets than it may seem. Not only are we limited due to issues with seasonal crops, but we also tend to carry only certain vegetables, many of which are more American staples than they are foods that have any true nutritional value. However, some of the top vegetables to buy from 99 Ranch are as follows:

  • Bamboo shoots: Per my Chinese grandfather’s advice: Bamboo shoots should be used as an ingredient  to add texture to something you are cooking, It goes well with shitake mushrooms and any kind of meat or chicken. In stir-fry it should be cut into slices or strips . In a stew with soy sauce, it should be used in chunks. It also can be used in soy sauce vegetarian dish with tofu, mushrooms and wheat gluten.
  • Water Chestnut: These are similar to bamboo shoots, in that you never eat them by themselves.  They are great in texture (crunchy=win!) and you will see them in some of the stir fry recipes on
  • Lotus root: There are some very popular delicacies made with this vegetable.  My favorite (more western) dish to make is actually lotus chips.

Best Tasting Fruits

While Americans certainly seem to enjoy their fair share of fruits, we are also limited to certain ones, based on where we reside. Luckily, 99 Ranch offers the following yummy fruits and more:

  • Lychee: this fruit may look a little funky, but it can add a lot of flavor to a dish.  My favorite way to eat it is by making lychee lemonade.
  • Asian Pear: Extremely juicy and sweet, asian pears are a great way to add some sweetness to any salad.

These mangos are the best– sweet, tender, and perfect for dessert, salads, and marinades. (Photo courtesy of iStock)

  • Atualfo mango: You will see multiple recipes on this blog used with this type of mango, it is one of the best fruits that you can buy; it is so delicious that you could even eat it by itself for dessert!

  • Mandarin Orange: these tangerines have a sweetness to them, that you cannot find anywhere else.  I always buy them by the dozen for my family, and we run out within only a couple days.  You can never buy too many!

  • Kumquat: These are the cutest fruit around.  They look like mini tangerines, but have a very very different flavor.  Great for salads or making marmelade.

Condiments to Consider

Although they are lesser considered by far, condiments can make or break your dining experience. Not only do they help by adding flavor but they can completely change the taste of any meal you crave. For those who have interest of being more adventurous, condiments can totally change the way you eat in amazing ways. Some of the most notable condiments 99 Ranch offers are as follows:

  • Mirin Miso: I use this often in marinades (especially with fish).  You will see this in several recipes on the blog.

Super spicy but delicious, and great for marinades (photo courtesy of world market)

  • Paste sambal oelek: Beware!  This is extremely spicy (but delicious ;))  I use this in several Vietnamese dishes, as well as a good way to add a little spice to any dish.

  • Soy sauce substitute (mushroom soy sauce): This is a staple across our family.  This has a deeper, richer, flavor than regular soy sauce. I highly recommend trying it!

Chinese Cooking Wine

  • Shaoxing wine: Think of this as a Chinese cooking wine.  Growing up, my grandfather would use this in almost every marinade he made.  It is great to use for traditional Chinese cooking all the way to more western cooking (I love using it with portobello mushrooms).

Other Things to Try

In the interest of expanding your pallet, 99 Ranch also has a number of other interesting things to try. No matter if you want fresh fish, duck, some unique snacks, or simply a new type of tea, you can find all these items and more at the 99 Ranch Supermarket. Some of the most popular are as follows:

  • Bao Bun: This is a great item to store in your freezer.  Think of it as the Chinese version of sandwich bread.  You can repurpose a protein dish (say if you made soy sauce chicken) and have the leftovers used to put into a bao bun.  It becomes a brand new, exciting dish, with very little effort.
  • Quail eggs: These are always hard to find at American supermarkets, and 99 ranch market is one of the only places where I’ve seen these.  I love them, because you can fry them, and top any Bao Bun dish with a little fried quail egg.  Delicious, healthy, and it looks perfect!
  • Egg noodles: I love using egg noodles in stir fries as well as soups.  They have some of the best selection here, and you can’t find better egg noodles anywhere else.
  • Hot and sour soup: If you want to adventure into this category, you are in the right place.  99 Ranch market has a great number of hot and sour soup bases for you to make a great soup out of.
  • Seaweed Chips: This is a staple in my kitchen.  I use it to top salads, fish, and many other dishes.  It sometimes adds that little extra crunch or texture that you need to complete a dish.
  • Barley Tea: This is a great item to either have with a meal, or at the end of a meal.  The market has a huge selection, and I always love to visit their tea section.

Overall, Asian food markets are much different from American markets. While each of them provides food for the masses, they each do so in totally different ways. On the one hand, many of the American supermarkets focus on providing options that are popular and tasty, Asian food markets provides a number of healthy alternatives that can also be tasty but occasionally, are just an acquired taste. Either way, 99 Ranch Supermarket is here to provide Americans with an authentically Asian supermarket shopping experience. This short list pales in comparison to the massive inventory they have in store for you — stay tuned for more tips in the future!