Super King Rules

Jun 3, 2009
Pineapples on sale at Super King

Pineapples on sale at Super King

Sixteen years ago, the Fermanian family opened a supermarket in an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Anaheim, and over the next few years, their low prices, good service and unusual combination of mainstream American supermarket goods and a dazzling array of international foods built them a huge and loyal clientele. In 2006, the Fermanians opened their second market on the edge of Eagle Rock and Glassell Park, and this year they came to an under-served area in west Altadena, in the new Lincoln Crossing development. I have just one thing to say to the Fermanians: Where have you been all my life? I live and work out near the Altadena Super King, and now that I’ve finally discovered it, Trader Joe’s will be getting far fewer of my dollars. And I’ll be spending fewer dollars, too — the prices are astonishingly low.

A weekend trip to either Super King is not for the faint of cart. They’re mobbed with the most wonderful mix of people: An Indian woman in a gorgeous sari, a Central American family with kids in soccer uniforms, little old Lebanese women walking so slow you want to scream…. It’s not easy to negotiate around the women filling huge bags with green sour plums, and the families deciding which of about 100 feta cheeses to buy, and the young men perusing the tequila collection, but it’s worth the trouble. I haven’t been to the Anaheim original, but the Eagle Rock and Altadena branches are huge, spotless, well lit and abundantly staffed, with meticulous displays.

The wall of chiles

The wall of chiles

Just a few of the offerings: Beautiful cactus leaves; red basil at two bunchs for 99 cents; head-on shrimp for $3.99 a pound; marinated pork al pastor with fresh pineapple for $2.29 a pound; Harris Ranch beef; beautiful pork loin on special for $1.89 a pound; every kind of yogurt imaginable (Greek, Armenian, Lebanese, Yoplait); a huge bakery with Mexican sweet breads, baklavas, Middle Eastern pastries, even wedding cakes; fresh Oaxacan, Salvadoran and Armenian cheeses; aged French and Greek cheeses; the famed nut bar; an incredible range of grains, couscous mixes, falafel mixes and beans; bottled and packaged horchatas, pepper sauces, and spices; juicy Sevan roasted chickens; a deli with everything from American turkey to an amazing array of international salamis; and great deals on beer and liquor (the wine selection is pretty weak). The produce is sometimes on the farther end of its lifespan, but the variety and prices can’t be beat.

The nut bar

The nut bar

This is a full-fledged American supermarket, too, so you can also get your Honey Nut Cheerios, milk, Orowheat bread, toilet paper, aluminum foil and Fudgsicles. That’s not to say the international array is comprehensive — there’s no packaged Asian food to speak of, and the Italian selection is limited — but you won’t find a better range of Middle Eastern and Latin cheeses, meats, dairy products, baked goods and produce anywhere, and the overall selection is good enough to make it the default supermarket for most shoppers.

Super King Markets:
Los Angeles: 2716 N. San Fernando Rd., Eagle Rock/Glassell Park, 323.225.0044; Altadena: 2260 N. Lincoln Ave., 626.296.9311; all stores open daily 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

14 Responses for “Super King Rules”

  1. Jill says:

    You beat me to it.
    I love this market. Yes, there is the daunting wall of chiles – but there is a lot of gorgeous produce I’ve never seen, let alone cooked with before. I brought home these small hard sour plums that look like tiny green crab apples, looked them up and will attempt to make some ume -— Japanese sour plum jam. Several of us tucked into a few pounds of jumbo shell-on shrimp that I had thrown into boiling water and served with homemade cocktail sauce…There is something about shelling the shrimp as you eat it that makes you feel a little virtuous as you put some effort into a leisurely feast. Just out of curiosity we bought a very inexpensive bottle of Armenian pomegranate wine that ended up tasting a lot like a very inexpensive bottle of Armenian pomegranate wine (go figure). But a tall glass of ice, the vodka of your choice, some of the wine, top off with club soda and a squirt of lime, and you have yourself a yummy cocktail.
    Long live the King!

  2. Leah says:

    I too have been hearing about how great Super King is in the last few months. I kept hesitating to get over there but finally did last weekend and what a nice surprise. Produce prices make me wonder how I ever could go back to Ralphs or Vons for green onions, limes, pineapple etc. I know people from La Canada who now venture over to Lincoln Ave in Altadena just to shop at Super King. Also nearby is King Ranch market, far smaller, hardly any “American” staples but produce and meat that are in line with Super King.

  3. Lisa says:

    A friend of mine who lives in Burbank introduced me to the Eagle Rock/Glassell Park store last summer. I was blown away! I have never seen such a deli counter in my life plus the massive produce department. I could have spent 3 hours in there. Lucky you scoring a new store in Altadena….any chance they have their sights on a store in the South Bay? I can only hope.

  4. Scott says:

    You forgot to mention the nice selection of smoked fish (you can take the boy out of NY, but….), olives and spices- an amazing array of spices I’ve never heard of or have any idea of how to use- but I’m working on it.

    And another great thing about it, as you mentioned, is how nicely it reflects the wonderful multi cultural community in Altadena. Just a lovely addition to the neighborhood.

  5. Melise says:

    Thanks for posting this. I loved the strangeness of the variety at the old Farm Fresh Market at this location, and was avoiding Super King because I thought it could never compare. I will most definitely check it out now! WOO HOO!!!

  6. Eric says:

    My wife and I found this place within the past couple of months and we love it, too. I walk around in there like I’m in a cultural/gastronomical museum. ‘Museum’ is not the right word — but I just spend a lot of time looking at food items I’ve never seen before and wondering… It also just seems like a cheerful place.

  7. Cindy says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I went up to Super King yesterday just to see if it was all you described – I can’t resist local, ethnic markets! They have a whole section of shelves just for tahini, and another one for halva! I have also never seen so many types and brands of bulgur before in my life. The fresh produce was really outstanding – high quality and very inexpensive. The only difficulty was trying to navigate the very, very narrow aisles with the huge cart. Next time I’ll get a hand basket. Oh, and they had tons of check-stands open, so no lines!

  8. colleen says:

    Yes, navigating the aisles, especially on weekends, is quite an ordeal. But worth it. I want to spend more time exploring the feta cheese selection. I don’t even like feta that much, but I had an amazing one at a friend’s house the other day– and of course it came from Super King.

  9. Lian says:

    Love, Love, Love this place. It is a nutty mix of people, products and really crowded aisles, but worth the effort. In the last two weeks, I’ve had big family parties with thanks to Super King. The first was a crane Asada feast– delicious marinated meat at SK. Then, last weekend, a Greek meze buffet thanks to SK. The hummous is authentic. Great olive selection. and try the pre-made wood-fired pizzas in Olive/Roasted Red Pepper and Vegetable. Reheat for appetizers. And the real Greek feta? Yum.

    So glad you wrote about this market! My father-in-law calls is Global Whole Foods!


  10. colleen says:

    Lian, I figured when I read your blog post about Brookes’s graduation and his love of feta that you must have been shopping at Super King! Between that and the 24-Hour Fitness next door, our life off Lincoln is so much better.

  11. diane says:

    super king market indeed ROCKS! i plan to personally keep them in business both by shopping there and insisting everyone i know do the same!

  12. Robert C. Gomez says:

    I have been in Altadena for 10 plus years, and Super King is great addition to the neighborhood and I agree that they offer a large assortment of items that is very much appreciated. But, not everything is inexpensive. Somethings are cheaper at the newer King Ranch market in Altadena. As with anything, both have good and bad. How about Vallarta’s Supermarkets?

  13. colleen says:

    Yes, the Vallarta’s are great. We’ll do a report on them soon! Thanks.

  14. […] week I opted to use Summer Tomato Sauce to top some lovely little Italian eggplant, snagged from my favorite produce store (where I also found fresh Romano beans and fresh yellow dates). Roast eggplant that have been […]



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