Raleigh Restaurants: Kim’s Asian Market

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Kim’s Asian Market is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. It’s secluded, buried in a string of buildings that blurs together along Duraleigh Road. A single neon sign fends off the lack of visibility with bright red letters that say “open”, but it’s a losing battle. The only clue to what might live inside the building is a simple sign beside a second story window that reads, “Kim’s Asian Market”, in both English and Korean. From the street, it’s hard to see what you’re missing.

One step inside, however, reveals the stunning reality: aisles upon aisles of irresistible snacks, fresh vegetables, pastries baked just minutes ago, and frozen red bean buns ready to be steamed to scrumptious perfection, all packaged without a single word of English. The vast selection is enough to make anyone drool, but according to owner Jin Lee, it’s the in-house restaurant that makes Kim’s so special.

“I moved from New York. Then, Kim’s was more [specialty] products. Now, we have a restaurant inside, so everybody can enjoy it. When they come over here, they can just enjoy the food,” he says. “The first time they try a taste, it’s very spicy, but after that, they remember it. They think ‘Mmm, I want to have it just one more time…’” Lee has been in charge of the market and restaurant for just over a year, but this is Kim’s seventeenth year in business, and he says it’s not going anywhere. Which is a relief. 

Kim’s is not only a gem for its variety of goods and delicious Korean cuisine, but it’s also a local staple. Every day, there is a steady flow of people coming and going from the Asian market. Whether they come for groceries or a taste of home, the regulars at Kim’s depend on it, especially since many of the products at Kim’s can’t be found anywhere else in Raleigh. Thanks to Kim’s, real homemade kimchi has yet to go extinct in the Triangle.

In the hustle-bustle of the world we live in, it’s important to remember that sometimes, we’re missing great things right in front of our noses. If you haven’t been to Kim’s Asian Market, you’re missing out. The address is 6014 Duraleigh Road, Raleigh, North Carolina. The red bean buns are waiting.