Sherman's Food Adventures: T & T Supermarket

T & T Supermarket

I have a love hate relationship with T & T, I really do. Of course it's a good one-stop shop for all your Asian products, meats and produce. Moreover, they have bakery items, cooked food, Vietnamese products, Korean banchan, BBQ, Dim Sum and sushi available. This is where I have the love hate relationship. Whenever a place tries to be all things to everyone, it's always going to be a bit mediocre. My experiences with T & T pastries have been quite negative. There is something amiss with their products. It's not like they're not inedible; but there is something about them that does not add up. This can be said about much of the other items too, including their sushi. It's just not authentic. Same with the Vietnamese and Korean items. Again, they're edible, but not my first or even second choice. That brings me to the cooked items. They certainly look the part; yet inevitably, they taste a bit off.

Today, I was really out of options, I decided to get takeout from T & T. I went for the 4-item combo with soup and rice for $6.99. The four items I chose were Fried Shrimp in the Shell, Honey Garlic Spareribs, Fried Bean Curd Roll and Stir-Fried Broccoli and Cauliflower. Honestly, this is a pretty decent deal for so much food. Mind you, I much prefer the food at Kent's Kitchen for roughly the same price. But that is assuming you are near a Kent's Kitchen. What T & T has going for them is convenience. I rushed back to work with my food and if you look at the picture, there is a good amount of food in the Styrofoam container. This is where quantity trumps quality. The fried shrimp were not executed very well. Normally, the shell is fried to the point where I can actually eat it. Not the case here. If I did, I would've probably cut up my mouth. Also, there was practically no flavour. This can be said about the spareribs. Not sweet enough and no real garlic taste. Moreover, the ribs were mostly bone, no meat either. Mind you, the bean curd and veggies were pretty decent. The broccoli and cauliflower were not overcooked or over seasoned.

One item I did not get was the Sweet and Sour Pork because from my many past experiences, it's neither sweet or sour. It's just fried pork with a flavourless red sauce on it. For what it's worth, T & T will never win any awards for their food; but it is a convenient one-stop shop. Despite what I think, there are people who like them because T & T always seems to be busy and full of people.

The Good:
- Convenient
- Lots of choice
- Competitive prices

The Bad:
- It's trying to be good, but never really achieves it
- Actually some items are just terrible (at least in my opinion)

T & T Supermarket on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

I think your experience was the result of ordering the wrong stuff. Depending on the time of the day I go (usually to buy groceries but, as I have learned over the years, it is never a good thing to do that with an empty stomach), things that are "edible enough" are banh mi and the made-to-order glutinous rice "wraps" (?). Of course, neither one will be as good as the one from a restaurant but I would rather eat these than end up buying way too much while grocery shopping.

Sherman said...

Kim, I'll concede there are some decent things to eat at T & T. But, I used to live near the Chinatown T & T and went there on a regular basis. There is some questionable items there. I've tried the banh mi and it's edible. As I mentioned, I think it's a convenience thing. Thus the love hate. I love to go to T & T, but I also hate it at the same time. I'll tell you one thing, the T & T in Edmonton was my saviour. At least I knew what I was getting there.

KimHo said...

"At least I knew what I was getting there."

That is exactly the reason why a lot of people go to McDonald's, BK, Wendy's and similar places when they are on trips/holidays! XD

About questionable items, you don't have to tell me, I know about them very well!

Mia said...

Agreed the T&T food counter isn't that great and that a lot of their food items tend to be more miss than hit. There is some stuff I like there though. My favorite item there is the boneless but skin-on deep-fried lemongrass chicken. It's not battered. It's just juicy as the skin is on, and there's just the perfect amount of seasoning. The large of this dish sells for about $10 but it's worth it. I also like their potato salad with the shrimp on top, it's loaded with mayo, but also lemony and fresh tasting. For the dim sum if you catch them as they just make the potstickers they are delicious as well. The last time I was in there they were also selling pre-made freshly steamed sticky rice werapped in leaves with assorted fillings, and the one filled with mushrooms was amazing, as it included assorted mushrooms. But it was some other store that provided these, they weren't made in-house by T&T. I also like their coconut bread, as it's generously filled, this is something we purchase every time we're at a T&T. They carry Island Farms Mango flavoured ice cream as well which I always stock up on while there.

Sherman said...

Kim and Mia, I think you both are right, there are gems to be found at T & T. I guess you have to either have tried a lot of things or other people suggestions like you 2 are doing here.

La Petite Vancouver said...

T&T food is too salty for me. Kent's kitchen is way better =)

Sherman said...

Yes, Kent's is way better. They use MSG in a more productive manner... ;)

Sam Lee said...

The Vancouver T&T Supermarket store (owned by Loblow Companies Limited) has a lot of serious sanitation problems. If you saw what I saw, you'd be horrified.

I live in the building that T&T is located in, and as a result have seen first-hand the horrible food-handling practices they employ in the back (which I have access to from within my building). I've seen slabs of raw meat sitting out in the open for hours; garbage bags full of rotting meat being dragged down hallways where food is transported, leaving a putrid slimy trail that rarely gets cleaned up; food and groceries stored in areas that are infested with rats and pigeons; food-prep areas that are filthy and reeking from months of dried blood and guts, etc.

I could go on and on, and have photos to prove all of this. You can see some of them on this website created by a group of people who live in the same building and are disgusted with the constant filth and stench caused by Loblaw's T&T Supermarket:

How this store manages to not get shut down is surprising. I highly recommend you avoid this store for the sake of your health.

Sherman said...

Sam, you don't have to convince me... I'm fully aware of that location. I used to live nearby too!