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Food: Feasting at Super G Mart
Honey Buns, Hong Kong Bakery, and Korean Restaurant
I am one of these folks. Meeting someone who loves and appreciates the spice/fish sauce/Fabulouso scented destination is an exciting indicator of a potential kindred spirit. It’s one of my favorite day-off adventures.
I started eating a lot of food from Asia because I had excellent access to it . In Buffalo, I lived within a mile of four international markets, an international cafeteria/food hall, and multiple Pho, Burmese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants. These immigrant-owned spots were cornerstones of my working-class neighborhood. They shaped the culture of food exploration available to me in my early twenties. I developed a deep appreciation for the delicious, complex flavors that were satisfying to my adventurous palette, and I loved learning how to re-create my favorite dishes with Asian supermarket finds that were kind to my 20-something wallet.
The influence on my cooking style can’t be overstated. It’s a love that’s only gotten stronger with time.
Super G Mart Charlotte
7323 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28227
9 AM to 9 PM, Seven Days a Week
(Individual food stalls have their own hours)
Finding go-to Asian supermarkets made me begin to feel at home in Charlotte, and Super G Mart is a top-tier choice. With the opening of a new location in Pineville, I decided to visit. Surely, it’s important to do some research before I check out the new food court, right? Right.
Let’s start with the basics. There are three food stalls within the store: Honey Buns, Hong Kong Bakery, and Korean Restaurant. Korean Restuarant is closed Mondays and Hong Kong Bakery is closed Tuesdays, but you can catch Honey Buns seven days a week between 10:30 am and 8:30 pm. All have hours pretty close to this and I would recommend going anytime between 11 am and 7 pm.
I am too familiar with the udon (12.99) and bibimbap (13.99) and other generally excellent offerings at Korean Restaurant and I would recommend checking them out. On this visit, however, I focused on Honey Buns and Hong Kong Bakery to get some dishes and baked goods I wasn’t as familiar with - though I am always craving sticky rice in lotus leaves.
I got to try a wide variety of treats for a great price. I spent a total of about $25 at each stall and was able to acquire a feast large enough to provide lunch for a friend and me and a bounty of baked goods to bring home and share with my partner for a week. Here are my recommendations if you want to do the same. After all, who can resist some delicious eats after strolling aisles filled with spices, dumplings, seaweed, noodles, a rainbow of instant ramen, and a produce section with swoon-worthy baby bok choy and enoki? Not me, clearly.
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I started at Honey Buns and my order was as follows:
I caught up with a friend and recharged myself with the above lunch after a solid hour of serious shopping. We enjoyed the bouncy, fluffy dough of the bun. I usually go with pork or meat options for bun (aka bao) but wanted to branch out into veggie options and was delighted by the sweet egg custard filling and the savory veg and noodle stuffing of the crescent-shaped veggie bun.
The Taiwan noodle soup lured me in with the promise of pickled veggies, beef, bok choy, and noodles, and delivered a super flavorful, beef-forward broth rich in umami goodness, countered by a sight bit of sourness and acid from the pickled veggies. Slurping the chewy rice noodles, I knew I had made a great choice.
The sweet rice dim sum was everything I crave in this dish with mushroom and shrimp flavors coming through prominently and a light floral scent from the lotus leaf. Pro-tip: If you search the frozen aisles, you can usually find a version of this that is mass-produced, but a really good option for at-home cravings. Top with a fried egg and Sriracha for a quick snack.
The shrimp scallop dumplings offered up more textures to get hooked on with a chewy rice paper-style wrapping.
Hong Kong Bakery
While my food was being prepared, I popped next door for some take-home treats from Hong Kong Bakery. They offer cakes and cookies and macrons that look familiar and delicious, but I went with:
The buns with garlic and hot dog were the winners here and were enjoyed with breakfast and earned me some nice relationship brownie points. The taro was good for a sweet option that was a bit earthy. I think the egg tart and Pork Sung were a bit out of my comfort zone, but we were glad to have explored new options just the same. The almond cookie was a bit like biscotti in texture and paired nicely with some hot tea.
Everything was best fresh, and because I overdid it, not everything was enjoyed at its best, but I will be adding the bakery to my future trips to Super G.
The electric green honeydew tea with dark boba is a sweet treat that is a nice contrast with the saltier flavors of the meal. Sweet tea drinkers: I humbly suggest checking this option for alternate drinks I think you’ll love. Ditto on Thai tea.
The unexpected side effect of this whole trip was that I left inspired to use grocery halls to their full potential. For the last few weeks, I’ve also been trying to create the flavors and dishes I crave by making things like cold soba noodles, seaweed salad, and miso soup at home. Plus, I’ve had plenty of great ramen and dumplings ready to go for days I don’t feel like cooking.
I’m excited to check out the new cafeteria at the Pineville location when it opens in spring 2023 and I’ll be ready to share more insight when I do.