After seeing a mention in the Post Punk Kitchen Forum of a place called 99 Ranch Market and some of the products carried there, I was quite intrigued. So I took advantage of being in the neighborhood and visited their D/FW area location at 131 Spring Creek Parkway in Plano.
First off, the store was very sleek and modern, a bit of a departure from the typical Asian market. They also had a decent selection of “American” based products in most sections, not that anyone was terribly interested in those.
I was immediately blown away in the first aisle with what was the most tofu I’ve seen in one place ever. I didn’t realize how many brands and styles were possible (apparently, enough to fill a 20-foot display case). Also included were a plethora of steamed-bun selections, something not typically available in the Asian restaurants around town I frequent.
Each subsequent aisle proved more impressive at the extensive selection of items such as vinegars, soy sauces, and (my favorite), hot and spicy sauces – in addition to one entire row of instant soups (every college student’s dream!).
But the real fun (and what I was looking for specifically), came in the canned meat aisle (yes, really). Low and behold, a large selection of vegan canned meats of all kinds.
Now I don’t want this post to be a debate about the virtues of mock-meats. I certainly prefer whole foods over processed fake stuff most days, but I always find it interesting to try new things. Here’s a sample of what I scored – Mock “Popk,” Mock Duck, Minced “Meat,” and Peanut Fried Gluten (in addition to a couple of spicy sauces I couldn’t resist!).
I decided to first try the “Mock Popk.” I was a little scared of this stuff at first, but it turns out to have a very similar flavor and texture to Tofurky products (and is only around $1.50 a can). Probably not the most healthy of food choices, but there’s nothing wrong with switching things up once in a while.
I sautéed the Mock Popk with some fresh veggies, soy sauce, and an interesting chili pepper sauce I found made from black beans and chili peppers.
Served over rice with a steamed veggie bun topped with Sriracha sauce, it made for a quick, tasty, hearty and cheap vegan meal, all made possible by my new favorite Asian store, 99 Ranch Market.
99 Ranch Market
131 Spring Creek Parkway
Plano, TX 75023
<Disclaimer> I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at Asian markets – I’ve been to a few (Hong Kong Market comes to mind), but not ones I’ve heard are really good (like H Mart). So if you know of any other markets in the area with similar (or better) options, please let us know!