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    Post #1 - September 17th, 2016, 5:06 pm
    Post #1 - September 17th, 2016, 5:06 pm Post #1 - September 17th, 2016, 5:06 pm
    Just dropped into Seafood City today. It was PACKED. I think it must be the Filipino social event of the season. There were people 50 deep waiting for orders in the food court. The place looks awesome; lots of very fresh fish at quite reasonable prices, and meat looked really good, too. Tons of grocery items I'd never seen before, plus plenty of mainstream ones (frozen galangal? a 98 oz. can of coconut milk for $4.99? Count me in!)

    It's only a mile or so from home, and I'm glad to have a solid option for weeknight fish purchases nearby. And the grilled seafood platter for $25 that supposedly feeds 4- 5 people sure looks worth checking out! Maybe I will go back on a weeknight, because I didn't have the patience to wait in the lines, and the aisles right now require judicious use of elbows if you actually want to go anywhere.

    Seafood City Supermarket
    5033 N Elston Ave
    Chicago, IL 60630
    www.seafoodcity.com/
  • Post #2 - September 19th, 2016, 9:16 am
    Post #2 - September 19th, 2016, 9:16 am Post #2 - September 19th, 2016, 9:16 am
    Thanks, I will put it on my short list to check out!-Richard
  • Post #3 - September 19th, 2016, 2:03 pm
    Post #3 - September 19th, 2016, 2:03 pm Post #3 - September 19th, 2016, 2:03 pm
    Hi,

    I drove by last Wednesday night around 11 pm. They had closed. I found people taking their pictures with loaded carts. Not just one, but several groups.

    I drove by on Friday night after 9 pm. Parking lot was quite full, though some spaces remained. It was teaming with people. I decided to come back sometime soon, perhaps in the early morning.

    They did a good job of maximizing as many parking spaces as possible there. I never remembered the K-Mart parking lot was as big.

    Regards,
    CAthy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - September 19th, 2016, 3:11 pm
    Post #4 - September 19th, 2016, 3:11 pm Post #4 - September 19th, 2016, 3:11 pm
    Photos on this Chicagoist article also show reasonable prices.
    http://chicagoist.com/2016/09/16/look_i ... rmarke.php
  • Post #5 - September 19th, 2016, 3:48 pm
    Post #5 - September 19th, 2016, 3:48 pm Post #5 - September 19th, 2016, 3:48 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    They did a good job of maximizing as many parking spaces as possible there. I never remembered the K-Mart parking lot was as big.

    Regards,
    CAthy2


    Considering that they enlarged the building and eliminated a bunch of parking, that's saying something! That parking lot was way too big for the K-Mart and was almost always nearly empty.

    Although I live within walking distance of Seafood City, due to the size of the crowds, it's going to be a few weeks before I bother to visit. I'll wait for the initial excitement to die down.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - September 19th, 2016, 11:49 pm
    Post #6 - September 19th, 2016, 11:49 pm Post #6 - September 19th, 2016, 11:49 pm
    Thoughts from a short visit:
    -I hope you're making baba ganoush.
    -Grill City takes a long time. Had to wait 30 minutes for someone to scoop food out of a tray when there wasn't even a line. Pancit palabok was $0.01 and amazing.
    -Spread of whole fishes is best in the city by far in terms of variety, quality, and price.
  • Post #7 - September 20th, 2016, 7:48 am
    Post #7 - September 20th, 2016, 7:48 am Post #7 - September 20th, 2016, 7:48 am
    I went to Seafood City last night around 6PM and the crowds (90%+ customers were Filipinos) were pretty big. The food stands (Crispy Town, Grill City, and Noodle Street) had long lines with 'Grill City' having the longest. I tried the Fried Calamari and Pork Chop at the Crispy Town food stand and thought it was fresh but lacked any flavor. Both the fried dishes tasted as if it was just breaded in flour without any salt or pepper which made for a bland taste.
    Image

    The store itself had some very good prices on various fresh fruits, fish, and prepared items. For those foodies that like to try and see new food items this store definitely accomplishes that. Alot of the items unique to filipinos and not sold at other Asian Grocers like HMART can be found here (ie Calamansi juice, Halo Halo, etc..).
  • Post #8 - September 21st, 2016, 6:12 pm
    Post #8 - September 21st, 2016, 6:12 pm Post #8 - September 21st, 2016, 6:12 pm
    So I went on Saturday with my wife, who is both Filipino-American and raised in Las Vegas. She raved about Seafood City, and indeed I loved it when we went back for a visit some time ago. When we heard about the Chicago location, we were ecstatic. While we appreciate the smaller stores and restaurants (La Isla catered our wedding!), no place has ever had everything we wanted in terms of grocery, and many of them are a bit far--we are South Siders, and though Chinatown has some things, it is insufficient. Seafood City is an important development in our lives, then--easy to get to, thorough in its grocery offerings, offering a taste of home. Clearly, given the lines and crowds, we aren't the only ones excited by this.

    Image

    We got there early, around opening time. Grill City, which has truly excellent barbecue, did not open til 9. A line started forming immediately. We shopped first.

    The first thing we looked for was fresh calamansi, to which we have a mild addiction. The real thing has a taste like lemon and lime, but with a mild tingle, like it was kissed with Sichuan peppercorn. I hope I'm not the only person who feels this way. Alas, the fresh thing has yet to appear in Chicago, but I believe they are working on acquiring it. In the mean time, enjoy one of these various varieties of bananas--I've never seen this many different types in one place:
    Image

    Additionally, they have a good variety of Asian produce, from long beans to bok choy to Chinese eggplant. They also had Filipino eggplant, which looked like Chinese eggplant with a green tinge.
    Image

    Don't forget large packages of Vienna sausages and Australian canned corned beef (we came home with a bunch of the latter):
    Image

    Right behind vinegar in the Filipino pantry sits patis, or fish sauce, and right behind that sits bagoong, a sort of funky, funky shrimp paste. Seafood City has it in droves--I didn't know this many varieties existed, or that they could be so beautiful arranged thusly:
    Image

    I chuckled a bit going down the ethnic aisle, where they have some Polish goods, some Indian spices, and a few other odds and ends from very different parts of the globe:
    Image

    As we perused further, we were dismayed to find no calamansi extract or bottled juice, either. Only in the frozen section did we find Manila Gold, which is fine but sweetened. Right near that, however, was Magnolia brand ice cream. They have a shop in the Las Vegas store, and they specialize in Filipinized ice cream flavors: mango, macapuno, buko pandan, and my favorite, ube. These are quite good, and larger than what we've seen from Village Creamery. We have nearly finished the mango that we came home with, so I guess we'll have to go back soon for more, perhaps for the queso ice cream:
    Image

    Fish selection is good, and they will clean and fry it on the spot for you to bring home. Also near here they have two or three brands of tocino, longanisa, and Filipino-style hot dogs, as well as house versions of each. The bakery section was almost entirely out of some things that day--we snagged one of the last bags of pan de sal--evidence of the droves of customers moving through.
    Image

    After working our way through the crowded (and yes, rather tightly spaced) aisles, we got in line for Grill City. At the Vegas location, we never waited terribly long--usually long enough for a fresh batch of pork skewers to come off the grill. This one was almost an hour wait from start to finish, for some bbq pork with rice. The wait is frustrating when this is your view:
    Image

    Still, the end result is worth it. Make sure to ask for the vinegar for dipping it in--it has a bit of garlic and chili added to it, and really livens things up (I suspect a sauce was missing in the bland fried foods above, as some sort of sauce or dip accompanies nearly everything). I will be going back to Crispy Town for bagnet before too long, though. I think the other dishes are pretty good, but not worth waiting that long for. Bopis might attract some of the more adventurous eaters:
    Image

    Noodle Street is completely new to the Seafood City family, but it doesn't appear to be too different from Chow King, which my wife loves and I have zero interest in. I'll check it out for siopao and cuapao in particular, for Filipino-Chinese that is hard to find in Chicago. I will probably pass on the rest of their offerings for now.

    We're very happy to have Seafood City in Chicago. It is a fairly complete Asian grocery, and has all the Filipino ingredients you could want (save fresh calamansi, for now). With all the families running around, munching on barbecue, slurping ube shakes, and conversing in Taglish, it definitely felt like a celebration.
    Image
  • Post #9 - September 21st, 2016, 7:13 pm
    Post #9 - September 21st, 2016, 7:13 pm Post #9 - September 21st, 2016, 7:13 pm
    Thanks mtgl for the detailed review and pics - very helpful and appreciated!
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #10 - September 21st, 2016, 8:15 pm
    Post #10 - September 21st, 2016, 8:15 pm Post #10 - September 21st, 2016, 8:15 pm
    BR wrote:Thanks mtgl

    Yes, thank you mtgl, great review.

    I am excited about Seafood City, I live fairly close and can't wait to explore. I popped in around 2pm Monday, made it just past the entrance, far enough to see the sparkling selection of veg and impossible lines for grocery checkout and prepared food, turned around and left.

    I'll be back in a few weeks when, hopefully, the crowds are less frenetic/dense/overwhelming.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - September 24th, 2016, 7:42 am
    Post #11 - September 24th, 2016, 7:42 am Post #11 - September 24th, 2016, 7:42 am
    This is my Filipino nirvana... and I cannot be more proud and excited for the Filipino community in Chicagoland. Hopefully the store will add to the efforts in helping more people learn about our food and culture.
  • Post #12 - September 25th, 2016, 8:53 am
    Post #12 - September 25th, 2016, 8:53 am Post #12 - September 25th, 2016, 8:53 am
    Stopped in yesterday afternoon and finally managed to do some actual shopping. It was crowded, especially by the food court, but not as insane as it was last week. So if you've been holding off because of the crowds, you might want to give it a go, maybe at an off hour or on a weeknight. I'm still not ready to brave the food court on a weekend. And they're close to home, so I signed up for their loyalty card.

    Anyone have good online sources for Filipino recipes? It's a cuisine I'm not terribly familiar with and I'd like to experiment.
  • Post #13 - September 26th, 2016, 10:37 am
    Post #13 - September 26th, 2016, 10:37 am Post #13 - September 26th, 2016, 10:37 am
    Eva Luna wrote:Anyone have good online sources for Filipino recipes? It's a cuisine I'm not terribly familiar with and I'd like to experiment.


    I did an article for Plate earlier this year that has links to some recipes for adobo, which is to many the quintessential Filipino dish: http://plateonline.com/marchapril-2016/filipino-adobo-puts-country%E2%80%99s-heart-and-soul-single-pot
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #14 - September 29th, 2016, 6:12 pm
    Post #14 - September 29th, 2016, 6:12 pm Post #14 - September 29th, 2016, 6:12 pm
    We often consult a variety of references when cooking Filipino: mothers, aunts, cousins. We also consult Adobo Road, by Martin Gapultos and Dale Talde's cookbook as well for a few things. But we nearly always start from Panlasang Pinoy and modify things to taste from there. Those recipes are pretty straightforward but work well--much like Filipino food in general. If you're willing to get a couple of the niche ingredients, you'll do just fine with those recipes. Taste as you go, tweak as you wish, and you'll turn out perfectly good food.
  • Post #15 - September 29th, 2016, 6:46 pm
    Post #15 - September 29th, 2016, 6:46 pm Post #15 - September 29th, 2016, 6:46 pm
    I made it to Seafood City last night around 8:30. Surprisingly, the store was fairly empty. I guess the initial excitement has died down. Lines at the food stands were short or non-existent, and the aisles, while narrow, were not crowded.

    I was coming from dinner, so I wasted the opportunity to get in and out of all three food stalls. Hopefully, I won't regret it down the road when I'm ready to actually eat something.

    The fish selection is indeed impressive. There were tons of varieties of frozen fish, and quite the selection of fresh as well (although some of the fresh fish looked to be a little long in the tooth). Nice meat selection, too. There were some really nice looking pork bellies that caught my eye and lots of offal of all types. Honorable mention goes to the ice cream selection!

    In another thread, someone was recently looking for fresh Chinese egg noodles. They've got those in the refrigerated noodle section.

    Seafood City is a nice addition to my neighborhood, and I'm sure I'll be there often.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - October 1st, 2016, 2:14 pm
    Post #16 - October 1st, 2016, 2:14 pm Post #16 - October 1st, 2016, 2:14 pm
    8am Seafood City run this morning, right at open. Already a line for Grill City, grocery was manageable. Terrific looking fruit and veg, loved the meat counter, more for pork than beef though, fresh fish looked great on an early weekend morning.

    More types of canned meat than ought to exist, wall of fish sauce including Red Boat, plus balut, luffa, rambutan, multiple types of banana and bitter melon on hand.

    Staff was friendly, interactive, knowledgeable and the store was well stocked and absolutely spotless.

    Seafood City, count me a fan!

    SeafoodCity19.JPG Bitter melon w/ground pork = breakfast
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - October 2nd, 2016, 10:50 am
    Post #17 - October 2nd, 2016, 10:50 am Post #17 - October 2nd, 2016, 10:50 am
    And now that I look again, they have some basic recipes posted on their website, even.

    http://www.seafoodcity.com/recipes/
  • Post #18 - October 4th, 2016, 12:47 pm
    Post #18 - October 4th, 2016, 12:47 pm Post #18 - October 4th, 2016, 12:47 pm
    Hi,

    Getting a live person on the phone to reply is not easy, so maybe someone here knows: what time do the food courts close? Are they open to 10 pm or close earlier?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #19 - October 4th, 2016, 1:39 pm
    Post #19 - October 4th, 2016, 1:39 pm Post #19 - October 4th, 2016, 1:39 pm
    I've been there at 9:50p, and all of the stands were still serving food. Grill City stayed open for 10-15 minutes after 10p when I was there.
  • Post #20 - October 4th, 2016, 2:59 pm
    Post #20 - October 4th, 2016, 2:59 pm Post #20 - October 4th, 2016, 2:59 pm
    bernard wrote:I've been there at 9:50p, and all of the stands were still serving food. Grill City stayed open for 10-15 minutes after 10p when I was there.

    Thank you!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #21 - October 23rd, 2016, 4:04 pm
    Post #21 - October 23rd, 2016, 4:04 pm Post #21 - October 23rd, 2016, 4:04 pm
    Eva Luna wrote:Stopped in yesterday afternoon and finally managed to do some actual shopping. It was crowded, especially by the food court, but not as insane as it was last week. So if you've been holding off because of the crowds, you might want to give it a go, maybe at an off hour or on a weeknight. I'm still not ready to brave the food court on a weekend. And they're close to home, so I signed up for their loyalty card.

    Anyone have good online sources for Filipino recipes? It's a cuisine I'm not terribly familiar with and I'd like to experiment.



    I teach both public and private culinary classes which include Filipino cuisine and culture, as well as hosting a few kamayan dinners (filipino dinners eaten with our hands) throughout the year. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or if you'd like more information!
  • Post #22 - November 3rd, 2016, 9:36 pm
    Post #22 - November 3rd, 2016, 9:36 pm Post #22 - November 3rd, 2016, 9:36 pm
    Do they have Dungeness crab, by any chance?

    I know that's not Filipino, but it's so hard to find, I'd like to know if it is there.

    Thanks
    Suburban gourmand
  • Post #23 - December 23rd, 2016, 11:54 am
    Post #23 - December 23rd, 2016, 11:54 am Post #23 - December 23rd, 2016, 11:54 am
    The bakery, Valerio's, and Jollibee are now open. The lines at the food court, especially the most popular eatery, Grill City, tend to be slow. I don't think the staff have true food service training. They needed more service people manning the register and final staging areas, as the line was backed up. One server could not even tell me what a dish was made of. And just because it is winter and the food court is at the entrance of the store, by the time you sit down to eat your meal, it is already cooled down.

    The grocery part of the store felt to me similar to a wide-ranging Asian-centric food store as well as food brands serving Hispanic-speaking markets, such as Goya. They also stock some Centrella-brand items and American brand items. We browsed since it was our first time there, and did not get an overly detailed look at everything, I just ended up buying a handful of items and brands that were familiar to me. The seafood and fresh meat areas had a big variety of items, and the areas looked well-maintained. Someone on this thread pointed out the aisles were tight, which they are (their shopping carts are also on the smaller side), and not helped that there are endcap items stacked inside the middle of the H-shaped aisles rather than at the ends, forcing shoppers to take turns to enter and exit in that central area which causes bottlenecks.

    The grocery bags, though a bit on the small side, are very thick and sturdy.

    I believe they do have dungeness crab in the fresh tanks, with smaller crabs in pick-your-own bins. Things that looked interesting to me were some good looking and large chestnuts, large fresh chicken feet, many frozen leaves that we didn't know what their uses were, a plastic wrapped cheeseball as big as a softball, savory mini mooncakes, and something labeled "banana pear." And yes, there are many types of canned meats, the Spam-like category itself is its own section.
  • Post #24 - January 8th, 2017, 8:22 am
    Post #24 - January 8th, 2017, 8:22 am Post #24 - January 8th, 2017, 8:22 am
    Finally made it to Seafood City yesterday about 10am.
    Parking lot almost full.
    Took about 15 minutes in the Grill line to order what I wanted and pay. Very helpful young lady in line with me!
    Next was meat and fish.
    Yes, they do have live Dungeness Crabs in a tank. H-Mart also has them usually. All the fish though most of it was previously frozen had clear eyes. Pick out your fish, they process it to your specifications and will fry your fish, regular or extra crispy according to the nice young lady in line with me.
    Did not puruse much of the store as I had other things to do.
    Save for next time.
    For dinner, heated everything in a 450F oven.
    Had chicken, pork skewers and grilled pork belly, all good but the seasonings were pretty much the same. Grilled Pompano was very good! No off or fishy taste, very nice for frozen.
    Next time chicken at Jollibee!-Richard
  • Post #25 - July 27th, 2017, 12:27 pm
    Post #25 - July 27th, 2017, 12:27 pm Post #25 - July 27th, 2017, 12:27 pm
    Filipino food is something I'm not particularly knowledgeable about, but I am a dedicated omnivore. I did my personal walkabout at Seafood City last Friday, enjoyed my touristing, and left with pork skewers and taro for dinner and some nice produce. And some baked goods from Valerio's bakery.

    What I went back for today it was some more baked goods. I'd left with a [???] sweet rice desert sampler and a pork baked siopao. The sweets were good, but I really liked the pork bun. [I don't like sweets in the morning, and am always on the lookout for savory pastries . . . the spinach pies from Pita Inn bakery are a big favorite.] This morning I went back to Valerio's and left with some more pork buns, chicken and beef empanadas, and a Filipino tamale.

    So far, so yummy. The tamale was breakfast. The Filipino tamale [according to Google] is made with rice flour and coconut milk. It has a texture kind of like a silky egg dish . . . nah, that's not quite right . . . somewhere between a custard and fine porridge. There was some pork and 1/4 hard boiled egg. The chicken empanada was filled with chicken and a smidgen of veg. The crust was mildly sweet. The beef is pretty much the same [heavier on veg, esp. potato]. Best empanada ever? Nope. Best $2 breakfast around? In the running.

    Think this place is worth it's own look if you're going to Seafood City.

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #26 - October 9th, 2017, 9:03 am
    Post #26 - October 9th, 2017, 9:03 am Post #26 - October 9th, 2017, 9:03 am
    I've been to SeaFood City a few times this year.
    Mostly to try the various prepared outlets and purchase fish.
    Grill City offers various grilled items on skewers and grilled Pompano and sometimes other fish.
    I like the grilling but the seasoning seems to be the same no matter what you purchase.
    Crispy Town in mostly fried pork but nestled within are lumpia pork and veg. Think Filipino egg roll.
    Dipping sauces are serve yourself.
    They all seem to have same commonality, coconut vinegar, sugar and very little heat but that seems to be common to most of the food.
    Jollabee fried chicken is good but probably not worth the wait in line but you do get it hot freshly prepared with dipping sauces. I haven't tried the other items on the menu yet.
    The fish appears to be of uniformly very good quality for frozen, clear eyes, nice bright gills on the Pompano and Japanese Amberjack I have purchased. Many varieties are sold which one does not usually come across in the USA.
    They will clean and cut for you while you wait and that will cost you about 20 minutes usually.
    The last two times, I have taken the fish whole and prepped myself. I am very scrupulous in cleaning and removing fins and gills for which I have Wusthof fish scissors which is very heavy duty. I gave the cleaning aspects some thought and have decided to do all my own cleaning.
    I was told while waiting for my fish that they will also fry if you wish.
    I don't know if the above is gratis or an extra charge?
    Last Saturday, I had some time to really peruse the aisles.
    I found, green Mango, excellent quality but $3.98/#.
    Using the Thai sourced Kiwi Pro Slice, a Green Mango salad is a breeze.
    Nestled away in a refrigerator case at the far rear of the store is a selection of fresh Pho noodles made in the USA.
    I purchased the thin ones and used them for an addition to my Green Mango Salad. I have not seen these in any of the stores around Argyle street. Maybe I just didn't know where to look?
    This is an excellent product!
    Spam 'Tocino' Seasoning is available. It seems that our food stuffs and food culture follow our military around the world to our military bases and are modified and adopted by the various cultures.
    I have some huge round rice pappers for wraps. Labeled 'Super Thin'. They are 12" in diameter.
    Coconut vinegar, Frozen coconut and coconut sugar to make Filipino dipping sauces were purchased.
    I did pick up some cans of Coconut water that did not have any preservatives on the label but either they have preservatives or were heated.
    I also found fresh Filipino eggplant.
    Whole Pompano and a large Silk Snapper were purchased.
    even though frozen, the fish is of high quality. This is the third time and I have purchased the Pompano. I make it Commander's Palace style in parchment paper.
    The Japanese Amberjack is in the Mackerel family but larger and is not as strong tasting as Mackerel. I love Mackerel anyway but this makes a gorgeous whole grilled fish.
    A six pack of Red Horse beer went with me @ $11.99.
    There is much more to learn about Filipino cusine and restaurants to visit. Filipinos that one meets in the store are uniformly happy to assist.
    Plastic grocery bags are now 7 cents a piece and there is a 'Sweet Beverage' tax on the coconut water!
    There were three seperate taxes which turned an $84.74 purchase into $88.03.
    I assume they are the Sweet, alcohol and general sales tax?
    SeaFood city is ideal for me as it right at the Edens/Kennedy junction and I can stop at Fresh Farms and then H-Mart on the way home to Wisconsin.-Richard
  • Post #27 - April 10th, 2018, 11:36 am
    Post #27 - April 10th, 2018, 11:36 am Post #27 - April 10th, 2018, 11:36 am
    I've been to Seafood City several times over the last year and like everything about it except the almost comical (laugh or cry?) slowness of the service in the food court, especially Grill City. My 3yo loves the chicken BBQ w/rice but it is hard to wait 20 minutes to get the food and then pay for the food when there are only three people in front of us. Definitely not exaggerating. I see this has been echoed by several people in this thread.

    That being said, it is now my go-to supermarket for fish and seafood, fresh produce, and lots of exotic items not found elsewhere. Love the bakeries too especially the sweet empanadas.

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