Asian grocery around the Twin Ports?

Is there actually an Asian grocery store (or anything resembling the sort) around the Twin Ports? The selection at Cub, Mount Royal and the two Super One Foods I visited is dismal at best. Perhaps I got too used to having Asian grocery stores within a ten-minute drive while I lived in St. Paul, but I can’t even find Golden Curry in a store around here. Any super-secret store I’m missing?


Barrett Chase

about 7 years ago

I believe the only Asian grocery store in Duluth -- First Oriental Grocery -- closed in 2009 after it was robbed several times. It is sorely missed. 

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

I don't think the robberies were part of why it closed, but yes, First Oriental Grocery closed in 2009. The owner, Lee Cummings-Gibbs, pulled the plug because sales were slumping and her husband Joe lost his job. Of course, the robberies didn't help matters.

Cummings bought the place in 2004, when it was on Superior Street by Hacienda del Sol. She moved it to 1131 E. Fourth St., where it lost significant traffic, which she attributed at the time to the loss of tourist customers and to Cub Foods' addition of ethnic food sections, including Asian foods.


about 7 years ago

Maybe your local co-op has the golden curry?

Barrett Chase

about 7 years ago

I associated it with the robberies because they seemed so traumatic to the owner. After the second robbery, she locked the door during business hours and only allowed known customers inside. None of this occurred at 1131 E. Fourth St., however. At the time of the robberies and the closure, the store was in its third location, at 801 E. First St. 


about 7 years ago

You can find Golden Curry at Cub, but it's a little hard to find. It's kind of tucked in among a bunch of Thai stuff.


about 7 years ago

First Oriental is very sorely missed.  I would think that type of store would do very well at the Woodland Ave./St. Marie corner, where the empty storefront is; or at the former Woodland Middle School building when they transform that to stores.  It would be a safe neighborhood too.


about 7 years ago

I agree that an oriental, south Asian grocery would do well in the community.  Not only are Duluthians getting more varied in their cooking styles, there is a healthy, growing southeast Asian and Oriental community who are currently stocking up on their usual cooking items when they go to the Cities. It would be nice if they, and we, had a place to buy these things here.

Mister Digits

about 7 years ago

It ought to be added that Lee Cummings-Gibbs (if that's the person who I think it was at the Oriental Grocery) was really helpful and generous with customers that she got to know a little.  Her employees were a pretty solid bunch too.
She allowed my wife and I to browse through a big catalog and discuss china patterns with her while we picked out some random bowls and cups, and her or the other employees frequently had some slightly damaged ice cream treats -- as in, a corner had melted and then refroze -- to give out as samples.

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