Oklahoma City has a large Asian — particularly Vietnamese — population, being one of the cities chosen for refugee relocation when Saigon fell in the ’70′s. Through the years more Vietnamese and other Asian migrants moved to the area and today there are approximately 30,000 Asian-Americans here. Asian businesses are thriving and more keep popping up. If you’re looking to dine out, there is quite a number of Asian restaurants around, but if you’re looking to cook, Super Cao Nguyen is the place to shop for ethnic ingredients.
Parking is rather limited considering the number of people shopping here, but there is street parking available if you can’t get in through the gates. Orbs and a lighted fountain decorate the entrance making for a very pretty welcome. There is one eye-rolling feature: the plastic palm trees! Cute and tacky at the same time, but yes, certainly appropriate for the largest Asian market in Oklahoma. Super Cao Nguyen is located in the Asian district of Oklahoma City, a.k.a. “Little Saigon”, off of Classen Boulevard. It is home to many Asian businesses like jewelry stores, banks, nail salons, as well as smaller Asian markets.
As you enter the store you’ll see a little eating area on the right, where people are feasting on the day’s offerings. You can purchase from the Chinese deli, where roasted meats are available, as are sushi, hot dishes and soups, and fixings for Banh Mi. Eat there or take it home, your choice.
The aisles are stocked to the hilt with all manner of noodles and sauces and everything else you’ll need to make great Asian food, but you have to know what you’re looking for, as there isn’t much help available. The floors and shelves are clean and well-kept.
The back of the store is dedicated to meats and seafood, so stock up. You can take fresh fish home to clean and gut yourself, or you can have it done for you. If you want it pre-cooked/fried, they’ll do that too!
Durian, Asian vegetables like moqua and jicama and all types of greens, pig uteri and kidney, duck heads, baked goods, rice cakes, teas and medicinal herbs, all at the right price, which to me means cheaper than what we have here in Cincinnati.
(I’ll comment on this one later.)
It’s a one-stop shop, and carries an incredible selection of Asian tableware and gift items, like lucky bamboo and Hello Kitty ceramic piggy banks that will take at least a year to fill with pocket change. But you know what caught my eye? Two things. Right at the checkout lane, they were selling “steel rubbing”, which I’m thinking is used to sharpen knives (?). They were also selling — quite effectively from the looks of it, as there were only a few left — nose hair trimmers.