Go try one of these places if value is your goal. You won't be disappointed!
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99 Ranch Market is a chain of Asian Supermarkets. They are located all over the Los Angeles Basin, San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas and Atlanta. They are a complete, one-stop shopping experience for Asian families and others wanting to get super fresh produce, live seafood and the best in Asian groceries. A bakery is a part of each store that makes some tremendously beautiful, artful cakes and special Asian baked items. And, as a part of that total offering is a hot deli section located within each store. A store opened just a scant 5 minutes from our house last year. Were enjoying it, immensely!
This hot deli section is divided into 3 different operations. One is a buffet line with hot, finished Chinese items. Then there is a fresh roasted meats, fowl and other protein items already cooked. There is also a hot Noodle Bar that operates as part of this Roasted Meats/fowl section. The third section is a basic offering of Dim Sum and other specialty items such as sushi and Chinese Tamales (sticky rice with goodies inside wrapped in Ti Leaves). There is a section off to the side with tables and chairs for eating there or you can take it out. They provide plastic utensils and disposable chopsticks and soup spoons for your use. Condiments such as Sriracha Sauce (Asian hot chili sauce), hot chili oil (for the dim sum items), soy sauce, vinegar and catsup are available at the register.
The buffet is an incredible bargain. It is super simple no rocket science here! They provide a square, compartmentalized, approximately 10 x 10 square, Styrofoam box that you see in every restaurant for take out-orders and diners left-overs. You simply go through the buffet offerings and fill your box as full as you can get it with the items you like or want. The lid does not even have to close! The items will vary in each store on any given day.
There were 22 items offered the other day at our local Dublin, CA. store. They included Peking Style Pork Chops, Fried Chicken Wings, Sweet & Sour Pork, Beef w/Broccoli, Sautee Tofu, Braised Tofu with vegetables, Dry Sautee Green Beans w/Black Beans, Dry Fry Salt & Pepper Shrimp w/shells on, etc. And, there are always four starches offered: Singapore Cellophane Noodles, Chow Fun, Chow Mein and Fried Rice. Fill that sucker to your hearts content! The total price for this glut of food is a mere $6.49! If you stack it right, you can get over 3 lbs. of cooked food for that tiny price. And, the last month they have been giving away a free can of cola with every sale.
To show you what a bargain this is, the first time we went through, my wife was not very hungry so she did not fill her box, completely. The lady at the cash register at the end of the line instructed her to go back and get some more because she did not have enough!!!!
So, the message is very clear take as much as you can possibly get into the box, eat what you want, there, and take the rest home. With care and planning, it is possible to make three meals out of one box!
This buffet food is very good. It is always fresh, hot and prepared with care using really fresh and quality ingredients. The various sauces, the hallmark of Chinese food, were excellent not just salty or too greasy. Whoever is doing the cooking is a real cook or chef. The food is rotated regularly to keep it fresh. Nothing seems to have sat out for hours. And, they are always busy even during the odd times like late-morning or mid-afternoon.
The Roasted Meats/Fowl and Noodle section is a hoot. The sides of roast pig, roast pork, Char Siu (Chinese Sweet BBQ Pork), roast duck, roast chicken, etc. are all hanging vertically in a glass partition with heat lamps above to keep them warm. Customers can select specific parts, pieces or portions of any of the items for sale. Its interesting to watch Chinese mothers force the employee to select the most choice pieces or cuts. It reminds me of my mother when I was a kid when she took me shopping. Asians have a mania for fresh!
The noodle bar has all the various kinds of won ton and noodles available. I love their Roast Duck Won Ton Noodles. The broth is rich and full-flavored and there are plenty of bite-sized pieces of really good Roast Duck. The won ton dumplings were plump, tender and full of pieces of shrimp and chopped pork. They have a Beef Stew Noodles that has an excellent savory sauce. The Char Siu, Shrimp or Roast Pork Won Ton or Noodles are also excellent choices. A big bowl of Won Ton or Noodles or combination of both with a protein choice run $6.50 to $7.50.
The won ton and noodles are so good that I have given up making it at home. The time, work and cost of doing at home is just not a good value when you can get it for so inexpensively and quickly and close to home!
I often buy half or 3/4 pound of Char Siu for cooking dishes at home or for just making sandwiches. It is excellent good flavor, nice char on the outside, tender and the flavor has penetrated all the way through the meat. The Roast Duck (whole duck $9.99; half a duck $6.99) is also outstandingly good tender and not too much fat under the skin and skillfully roasted for that beautiful, mahogany-colored skin!
The Dim Sum/Specialty section is my least favorite. They offer chicken, pork and BBQ pork buns, both steamed or baked. They have the traditional potstickers, Har Gow, Siu Mai, Fun Gor, Fried Sesame Balls and Shrimp Balls. These are in small servings and varies in price from $.65 to $1.25 per small serving. The idea is to choose various items in order to make up a meal.
This section is my least favorite. Dim Sum is a specialty and the quality/taste/texture is highly prized and it is just OK, here. For a real dim sum luncheon, we prefer to go to a sit-down place a few more miles away for a better and more complete experience. This is the only part of the operation that I would not recommend to others.
99 Ranch Market is an outstanding addition to our neighborhood! Previously, we had to drive over 30 minutes to Oakland Chinatown. Now, just 5 minutes away, we have most of what we need or want for cooking and eating Asian meals.
I urge you to try one if there is one near you!
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Kid Friendliness: Yes
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Go through the buffet line and eat what you want, there, and take the rest home for future meals. Try the excellent won ton noodles.
Best Suited For: Kids and Families