Name: LAX-C Supermarket. The market/warehouse opened in 1997 and is owned by LAX-C Inc.
Concept: Frequently referred to as the Thai Costco, LAX-C is a wholesale Thai market that also sells to the public. Yes, it's in Chinatown and not Thai Town. The market/warehouse is a one-stop shop, offering an dizzying array of fresh, frozen and dried goods, popular Thai and Asian snacks, and kitchenware, furniture, religious and holiday decorations. There's even an automotive section if you need to pick up some motor oil.
The store is massive, and it will take over an hour to comb through all the aisles. If all that shopping makes you hungry, grab a meal at the LAX-C BBQ Express. The store's indoor food stall (good, inexpensive) is near the registers, and has various takeout options.
What it stocks: Need something — anything — Thai? LAX-C probably has it. Items are reasonably priced, and a number of items are sold in bulk. Fresh produce includes specialty Asian and regional Thai herbs, fruits and more. The meat counter is extensive, as is the fish — the staff behind the counter will clean and fillet fish, and even fry it for you if you'd like.
A good portion of the store is given over to the massive freezer section, where you'll find frozen curry leaves, bitter melon and galangal, whole ducks, fish, beef blood and bile, pork casings, fish balls, regional sausages, commercially-prepared foods and more.
Who shops there: Restaurant owners and chefs, also single families and individuals. The wide aisles accommodate both shopping carts and forklifts.
The find: Fresh monthong durian next to the checkout stand.
Where is it: The store is in an industrial part of Los Angeles hugging the outskirts of Chinatown and Downtown — a few blocks away from Philippe The Original.
Parking: LAX-C has its own lot, which it shares with other shops and restaurants. While the store can get busy, parking is usually not hard to find.
Information: LAX-C Supermarket. 1100 N Main St., Los Angeles, (323) 343-9000. Monday through Saturday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. www.lax-c.com
Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter