On Saturday, October 4, we braved the cold and were treated to a tour of one of Madison’s newer Asian markets, A Mart in the Whitney Square Shopping Center. Our tour guide, Vu, took us down every aisle and explained what many of the products are used for, and pointed out many of his favorite brands. I was curious what brand of fish sauce he recommended—his personal preference is for the Squid brand—but said that many choose the Three Crabs brand as well.
Vu himself drives down to Chicago early Friday morning to bring back a wide variety of produce, including Thai bananas, purple yams, durian, and green mangos. Fresh seafood comes in on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Not only does A Mart have a wide assortment of Asian groceries, but also a good selection of kitchen and housewares, and well stocked African and Middle Eastern sections.
If you make it to A Mart, don’t leave without visiting the dessert and deli section—just past the checkout counters on the front wall—where they keep a stack of freshly made Bahn Mi sandwiches everyday, and several house-made desserts on weekends. The sandwiches are not quite ready to eat however; they should be warmed in an oven until crisp and warm throughout.
If you missed the tour, don’t despair. Vu and his co-workers are on hand and willing to answer questions about products and how to cook with them.