But with the opening of the Pan-Asia Supermarket, Tulsans now have access to an unprecedented scale of Asian products and cuisine staples at a one-stop shop.
Ethan Lin, co-owner of Pan-Asia Supermarket, said customer anticipation was high in the build up to its grand opening in mid-November.
“Customers were pretty excited when we opened our doors because they didn’t have much to choose from before except small stores in the area,” he said. We have one big store that offers everything they don’t have in the other stores. They’ve had nothing of this kind of scale before.”
Located at 10003 East 71st Street in Tulsa, Pan-Asia Supermarket is the largest Asian supermarket in the state with over 10,000 Asian products including hundreds of varieties of fresh meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables.
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The Tulsa store is the largest of the grocer’s five locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri with over 40 employees and a 50,000-square-foot building.
The first store opened in Omaha in 2010 under the name Asian Markets and has continued to expand and fill the need of communities that are sorely lacking access to Asian products and goods such as Tulsa.
Lin said a key feature that sets Pan-Asia Supermarket apart from its competitors is its impressive collection of live seafood such as lobster, crab, cod, clam, snail, tilapia, oyster and catfish. He said blue crab is especially popular among patrons.
They also offer a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables that are hard if not impossible to find in most grocery stores like persimmon, jackfruit, rambutan, durian, bamboo and wing bean.
Fresh bread and an assortment of Asian-inspired baked goods are made daily in the bakery.
Lin said that he estimates about 60% of the shoppers at the Tulsa store are Asian families, which is lower compared to other locations like St. Louis possessing a higher Asian population. He also observed that packaged goods were in higher demand among non-Asian and young adult shoppers.
“Japanese, Korean and Chinese snacks are popular among the younger generations,” he said. “They also come in here for the Boba teas, which are very popular right now.”
Boba tea, also known as bubble tea, is a tea-based drink from Taiwan that contains tea, milk and tapioca. It is one of the many teas featured at Pan-Asia Supermarket’s in-house drink shop, Tsaocaa.
In addition to teas, Pan-Asia Supermarket has an in-house café that serves fresh sushi, Vietnamese Pho and Chinese dishes daily for those looking to grab a bite in the store or on the go.
Lin said that while the inventory gets shoppers through the door, it is the customer service, cleanliness and organization that keeps them coming back.
He said that his dedicated employees work diligently to provide the best shopping experience possible.
“We have heard that other stores are not well managed and do not provide the customer service that we do. Our focus is customer service and providing a clean and organized store for our customers.”
Furthermore, Pan-Asia Supermarket has competitive pricing through promotions and weekly specials to provide the public with an incentive to shop and save at their store.
“For weekly deals, we like to put our best-selling products on special,” Lin said.
Pan-Asia Supermarket has social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram where they post the latest news and promotions. Individuals can sign up for the weekly specials at panasiasupermarket.com/tulsa–ok.html or follow at facebook.com/panasiatulsa.