A true gourmand with appreciative taste buds may be forgiven for salivating when nearing the approach of Kam Man in Quincy. Housed in a former Bradlees department store, the building is now an Asian bazaar offering a dizzying variety of groceries, household items, herbs, gifts, take out meals, and more.
The entrance to the Kam Man market is inside the main building and starts shoppers on an Ikea-like circuit, beginning with a huge fresh produce department, bakery, and prepared foods counter.
To describe just a fraction of the produce, there are five feet tall sugar canes, exquisitely fresh ginger roots (unlike the dessicated specimens found at a typical grocery store), whole jackfruits, and varieties of mushrooms and greens that are unlikely to be found even in the international section of your local grocery store.
In the bakery department, the selections include dozens of sweet and savory buns, tarts, Western style pastries, and something called wife cake. The prepared food counter lets you assemble your own plates consisting of an entree like steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce and two side dishes for just $7. There is ample seating for consuming meals then and there in a street food ambience.
One of the roasted ducks or chickens, head included, hanging in a case next to the take out counter could be the centerpiece of feast assembled at home. The adventurous might want to try marinated cuttlefish, which resemble blast-ended skrewt with a saffron hue, but are probably much more delicious.
The shopping circuit winds through the meat counter, live fish in tanks, noodles, wrappers, spices and sauces, teas, bagged rice stacked to the ceiling, drinks, sweets, pots and pans, dishes, cleaning supplies, toiletries. and finally the cash registers.
Outside of Kam Man, there are several small shops selling gifts, clothing, videos and herbal medicines. Take out food is available at BA-LE, a Vietnamese sandwich shop. You can get bubble tea at Lollicup, so named for the soft tapioca that can be added to any of the teas, slushes or smoothies. Think of it as diving for gummi pearls with a very wide straw.