Food Fight

Food Fight: Battle Asian Supermarket

Ever since KoMart -- the long-standing Korean grocery store on Gessner -- closed earlier this year, the Asian grocery scene in Spring Branch has been dominated by Super H Mart and the newer 99 Ranch Market.

They're both large national chains, and they're both based in California. Super H Mart was the first of the chains to hit Houston, opening in a refurbished Randall's on Blalock in the summer of 2008 with the kind of fanfare last seen when IKEA opened just down the freeway. A little over a year later, 99 Ranch Market opened up to just as much fanfare in the old Fiesta location right down the street. Ever since, Blalock has been home to two of the city's best Asian supermarkets -- a boon if you live on the west side, and easy enough to travel to if you don't.

Much of Houston's attention has been focused on the battle between the Kroger's on Buffalo Speedway and its new competitor, the shiny and modern Buffalo Market H-E-B just across the street. But there's a far more intriguing, if less showy, battle going on between the Asian superstores in Spring Branch.

Which one reigns supreme?

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Katharine Shilcutt