The Chinese Lunar New Year starts tomorrow and you might be wondering where to find the right ingredients to make some of your favourite Chinese delicacies. Look no further when you get off the Red Line at Rockville, because there’s a Meixin Supermarket within walking distance that will fill all your Chinese New Year (and other grocery) needs.
I’m told that this store has been around since the 1980s, and up until last month, was called Maxim. The name change happened when the current owners (Malaysians, like me!) decided to give up the store, retire and had someone else take over operations.
The place is divided into:
A “deli” section. You can get cooked foods like roast duck, barbecued pork, chicken, whole fish, an array of steamed buns and inexpensive lunch boxes that include rice and three different food items. Upon entering the market, this section is on your left.
Then comes the frozen food section. Grab packets of f00ds like dumplings, shumai, xiao long bao, fish balls, spring roll wrappers, buns and even durian from here.
Two refrigerator sections. One is beside the deli, and houses pre-cooked appetizers, as well as dessert items (swiss roll cakes) and miso soup base. The other is in the back of the store, and that’s where you’ll find veggies, tofu, soy milk, chinese sausage, salted eggs, black chicken, dried shrimp, etc.
Continuing around the final perimeter (closer to exit) of the store, you’ll soon be staring at the produce section. Buy live or fresh tilapia, prawns and even frog. Ground and sliced meats (pork, chicken, beef and lamb) can be procured in this section. Right beside the produce is a shelf laden with an assortment of pre-made sauces that’re great for cooking up a dish you love but don’t have time to make from scratch. Curry laksa for dinner, anyone?
The sections that make up most of the middle floor space are: bottled drinks; dried herbs; tea and drink mixes; noodles and flour; sauces; candy and snacks; kitchen and household.
Once you’re done browsing and head to checkout, you’ll notice there’s also a small Chinese medicine section beyond the cashier line. Find your tiger balm, eucalyptus oil, Chinese versions of Salonpas, bird’s nest drinks and ginseng here.
But wait, there’s one more section! On your way out, browse around the gift shop that sells Hello Kitty toys, Chinese vases, Buddha statues, Hong Kong movies, watches and D.C. souvenirs. I rarely go in here, except once to find some ang pow (lucky red money packets.)
Meixin is very much a one-stop shop for Chinese products! Just know that ethnic groceries can be expensive and your bill adds up fast. The store also tends to be a bit odiferous, as many Asian markets are, due to the mix of herbs and produce smells. It’s something you get used to after awhile — if not, don’t forget to bring a clothing peg!
View more pictures of Meixin on Flickr.
Here are the details again if you’d like to check it out:
Address: 460 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD 20850
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30 am – 8:30 pm; Sat 9:30 am – 8 pm; Sun 9:30 am – 7 pm
Nearest Transit Station: Rockville Metro Station (Red)