Your brain is probably conditioned by all those pho joints that put the number at the end of the name.
Broccoli is indeed a little unusual. I have seen many other possibilities though. I have seen
- Not adding any (maybe a little green onion or yellow chive)
- Yu Choy
- Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan)
I used to live near the 99 Ranch Market, and had innumerable conversations with non-Chinese speaking people (myself included) about how we didn’t know whether it was 99 Ranch or Ranch 99.
Aside from confusing signs, the English name doesn’t make grammatical sense. 99 can’t be an enumeration of Ranch because that would be 99 Ranches. It’s weird for a number to dangle without describing something-- 99 Ranch isn’t an address because it’s not 99 Ranch St. It’s likewise not 99 Fish Ranch or 99 Cents Ranch. Since the words are pretty mundane (i.e. No one would question the name if it were 99 Wackadoodle), it makes sense that English speakers would regularize it to Ranch 99 the same way they would say Route 99 or Mambo 99.
There’s also a few conventions that say you should write out numbers when they start a sentence “ninety nine Ranch”), but use numerals if they’re in the middle of the sentence.
What’s the origin of the name? Wikipedia says that it was originally called “99 Price Market” and that "The name of the chain includes “99,” a number considered lucky by ethnic Chinese. The number nine in Chinese sounds like the word for “long-lasting.” Anyone know more?
I usually refer to it (the one in Edison, NJ) as Chinese Pathmark
Anyway, I just call it Ranch 99. I do agree with you that 99 Ranch makes a little less sense, but it is what it is for now.
Yeah, “9” does sound like “long lasting (久)”. Therefore, 99 sounds like “long-long lasting” (久久). As to why they pick this name, I cannot be sure. There are other lucky names.
I wonder why Chinese supermarkets cannot have better food stands like those in the Japanese supermarkets? Is it because Chinese customers like cheap things? And cheap foods drive to lower quality. Or is it because there are so many Chinese restaurants around there is no need to compete at the high quality level, so just compete at the cheap level.
As someone who works in editorial/marketing, those photos made my head explode.
Have they ever heard of BRANDING?!? /rant
White suburban boy that I am and shall always be, I always assumed it started on the well known in the West
Made perfect since to me, especially since I live on said Hiway.
My shopping partner says that the cheapest roast duck in SF Chinatown is around $12 ~ 13 per duck.
Noted that you are familiar with Marina. We live in SF, but drive to the Cupertino Marina almost weekly, If we don’t have time, or just a short shopping list, we hit the one off Hillsdale.
For sales over $50, you get a coupon for 20% of your purchase to use at the food concession. We are pretty careful shoppers, and their prices seem in the same range as Ranch 99. We are always puzzled at how Marina can offer the same prices, and essentially give you a 20% rebate??
I don’t live in the Bay Area anymore. How is Marina doing these days? It used to be that Mariana is just as popular as Ranch 99. Not sure if Marina has gone downhill or not.
Marina has become our go-to market for dry goods. They also have the packaged bamboo shoots that wife’s Taiwanese family back east can’t seem to get enough of. Their poultry/meat selection is okay, and we can selectively choose what is best looking/value. Same for their vegetables, quite a broad selection mostly.
We were very excited to discover the Ranch 99 in the Daly City area, then the one in the East Bay. (many years ago) For whatever reason, we rarely shop at any of the 99’s anymore.
Wikipedia goes on to point out that early stores were in the same market areas as “99 Cents Only” Stores" and “99 Price” may have been inspired by them. I find this quite plausible, since the stores in both chains feature a huge number 99 as the biggest and highest up design element of their signage, which makes them identifiable from a distance.
I was not too far off. But of course in Chinatown shopping, a $1 miss might as well be a mile. Duck prices from two spots on Chinatown this afternoon. The ducks are good from both. Seems the ducks are larger than at the Ranch 99s and Marinas in the Bay Area.
Ha ha ha. Interestingly, I was also in Chinatown this weekend, and I saw again the $20 duck. This is my photo. I completely forgot about it until I saw your email.
So I was in Edison today & happened to drive by the 99 Ranch 99 (avoiding controversy) so I stopped in. My reaction was similar to above - it’s very clean & shiny, selection is wide & everybody is friendly. I walked pretty much the whole store. The prices I was that I was familiar with from other stores seemed to be on the low end. The meat dept was a bit odd. The only meat in the fresh cut case was pork. Everything else was wrapped & packaged in the self-serve coolers. Big seafood department with a lot of fish I don’t see too often. The food court(s) is big it was busy so I didn’t really have time to get anything. I guess busy is a good sign there.
They did have rice vinegar by the gallon which I have been looking for for a while so I was happy about that.
People can call it Ranch 99 or 99 Ranch (I don’t care, and I don’t correct people).
Good to know you like the one gallon rice vinegar. Do you have specific plans in mind?
Rice wine vinegar infused with Lemongrass & Ginger. It’s a big seller but I’ve had trouble finding the vinegar at a reasonable price.
Omg you’re speaking my language!!
I like our 99 Ranch here in Houston. It has an LA Crawfish restaurant in it which is super popular. I was there this week and picked up some S&B powdered Chinese mustard among other things. The live seafood selection is amazing. I usually do more browsing than buying though!