BEST ETHNIC DELI COUNTER (2009)

Super King Market

To shop is to remember. All of us walk into corner groceries or supermarkets with a child's memory of food. For me it's the wonder of skinned rabbits and eels displayed by vendors under the cast-iron arches of an English marketplace, whose aromas were just as sharp as those of the cheeses and ground coffee that filled Long Island A&Ps in the 1950s. None of these memories come to mind, however, whenever I enter Super King Market. If anything, this somewhat chaotic supermarket reminds me of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport before the fall of communism. Few supermarkets' doorways, after all, come with imposing lettering that gigantically announces "Entrance" and "Exit" at either end of the buildings. Super King's Entrance portal is located on the right-hand end, and so once inside, you enter a great, counterclockwise tide of shoppers that becomes almost impossible to swim against later, should you forget something and try to go back for it. But there's an Old World marketplace feel to Super King, nevertheless, from the shelves of hookahs to its mixed-nut bar (no, not the Frolic Room) and wall of tea biscuits, along with stocks of Middle Eastern and Russian foods, evidence of the store's Armenian ownership and the huge local émigré population the market serves. It's crowded in a way that we're not used to in California — it makes another Armenian-owned institution, Jons Market, seem like the staid Pacific Palisades Gelson's on a Sunday morning. One of Super King's many strengths (besides fresh produce and meat selection) is a wonderful deli counter that seems as long as an aircraft carrier. It's ridiculously well-provisioned: It doesn't just have regular prosciutto, but prosciutto Parma and prosciutto Daniele. It doesn't only offer feta cheese, but blocks of Helena feta, Greek feta, Bulgarian feta, French feta, Danish feta and, of course, Armenian feta. Tip: Get your deli ticket number as soon as you enter the store — otherwise, you may be in for a long wait against a counter of meat and smoked fish that will only make you hungrier than you are. 2716 N. San Fernando Road, Glassell Park. (323) 225-0044.

—Steven Mikulan

Location Details

2716 N. San Fernando Road
Los Angeles CA 90065
323-225-0044