The Spot: Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket in Chandler, Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
See Also: - Downtown Phoenix Public Market: What We Bought, What We Skipped, and What We're Still Lusting After - Owners of Lee Lee International Supermarket Talk History, Journey, Future in New Video - My Mini Taste of Phoenix: Seeking Sweets and Asian Comfort Food in the Valley
What We Bought: Lee Lee is the ideal place to get your favorite ingredients from Asia because it's as authentic as it is massive. They seem to stock more than one brand of every kind of thing from pots and pans to fresh jumbo squid.
First off, we always grab a $3 large bottle of Sriracha when we're here because it's way cheaper at Lee Lee than other local grocery stores. Another of our favorite seasonings is hot chili sesame oil, which is a little pricier than Sriracha at $6 per bottle, but adds insanely unique flavor to your meals.
Another of our top reasons to hit Lee Lee up is weird candy. We usually grab some tamarind and sesame candy, but we decided to go for some individually-wrapped kiwi and mangosteen gummies this time for $3.69 per bag. Finally, we always grab a huge tin of loose-leaf jasmine tea before we go. The giant $7 tin has enough calming jasmine tea to get us through a month or so, plus the container is absolutely adorable and great for crafting and storage after the tea runs out.
What We Skipped: With pho so cheap and easily accessible in its freshly made form around the Valley, it'd be silly to buy one of these huge boxes of instant Pho Ga. While pho is one of our favorite Vietnamese dishes, we also passed by the jarred tuna in soybean oil. It's actually probably pretty tasty, but visually we weren't interested due to the creepy marbled texture on the tuna flesh soaking in yellowish liquid. Lastly, we see very little reason to buy frozen seafood at Lee Lee, when they have so many great fresh options -- some still living.
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What We're Still Lusting Over: We're determined to make DIY pho from scratch with our buys next time. With an adorable bowl and soup spoon set for about $13 already picked out, we're well on our way. But the real stars of our future pho fantasy are the fresh noodles and perfectly fried tofu. Both are crazy cheap and better than anything you'll find in Fry's or Sprouts.