New Asian market has huge, exotic variety

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Metro Detroit shoppers will now have a one-stop destination for all their Asian food needs from Pocky to dried anchovies, plus ramen, mochi, sake, and soy sauce galore.

The 168 Asian Mart in Madison Heights, one of the largest of its kind in Michigan, will hold a grand opening Tuesday at 32939 John R just south of 14 mile. Asian food fans will know this to be the same plaza in which the Fuji Japanese Buffet is located.

The 38,000-square-foot store has aisles of hard-to-find pantry items from Japan, China and elsewhere. Rice is sold in giant sacks, and 168 Asian Mart has entire sections dedicated to tea and varieties of soy sauce. The fish department is stocked with frozen and live exotic animals you won’t find at Meijer (cuttlefish, stingray) and some that you will (tilapia, crabs). There’s also a butcher, and a bakery is on the way.

There’s plenty of foods found in the average grocery store, especially in the produce section, as well as items that may make the average American look in wonder, like the preserved duck eggs (sometimes called “century eggs”) that are black, or live eels from the seafood counter.

The market has non-food items like cooking utensils and Asian beauty and hair products. There’s also a postal counter with services to Asia.

For hungry shoppers, a food court with casual seating is in the back of the store, with noodle soup, stir-fried noodles, and dim sum. There’s a bubble tea stand near the entrance.

As part of Tuesday’s opening day festivities, owner Ricky Dong will give the first 50 customers a special gift. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. there will be a Chinese lion dance to celebrate.

168 Asian Mart is open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.