Sinigang Sinigang For The Soul

Unsure About Sure Pinoy Food Mart in Quincy, MA
comment 5 Comments June 24, 2008 – 11:13 pm


elieve it or not, there’s only one exclusive Filipino Food Store in Massachusetts (MA).  With a Filipino population of a little over 10,000 scattered in and around Boston, that may not be not surprising (MA total population: 6.4 million). But with the Filipino’s innate entrepreneurial spirit, I find that unbelievable. I’ve always thought Filipinos created the concept of sari-sari stores (literally means mix-mix; a small assortment store selling goodies and what have yous).

a sari-sari store in the Philippines

photo credit:

Naturally, I would think wherever we are in the world, no matter how small the number, there will always be one or two (sari-sari store) in the neighborhood. I guess it is only true in many parts of the West Coast (California et al) where there are over 1 million Filipinos therefore tons of market; therefore tons of Filipino stores!

Since there’s very little supply and demand in Massachusetts, we’d have to contend with one! There are plenty of Asian stores, my favorite being the Super88 Market with 6 branches in Boston- selling some Filipino items like condiments (Silver Swan soy sauce and vinegar, Mang Tomas, Rufina Patis) and others (Sky flakes crackers, Lucky Me noodles) but none like the Sure Pinoy Food Mart located in Quincy, MA where one can find tons of Filipino goods.

Being the ONLY one should have its many advantages- primarily, captured marketability! It is about 20 miles from where I live, with normal traffic that’s about half an hour drive. It’s not far but it’s not close to home either! It’s not the same as in the Philippines where in our street alone there are 10 sari-sari stores! (I’m not exaggerating. if you’ve been to the Philippines, that is even a conservative estimate!) So back home, it’s a matter of walking maybe 10 steps from your gate and you’re in one of the sari-sari stores. Here, you’d have to drive distance.

Being the only Filipino grocery store in MA, the store should literally be flocked with hundreds of Filipinos everyday! I’ve been to Sure Pinoy Food Mart with some friends just twice since they opened in February 2006 and each time, we were the only ones in the store with one or two more customers coming in to buy one item. I am not “sure” why but here’s what I know: I am really unsure about this Sure Pinoy Food store! Their service is mediocre at best! The staff are unfriendly. They seem to be disinterested and detached to the customers and would rather really watch the current teleserye (soap opera) playing on their The Filipino Channel (TFC) subscribed TV (at that time it was the Judy Ann Santos show, the title escapes me!).

The prices are a bit high but that is almost expected because except for clothing (if you know where the bargains are), everything is expensive in Massachusetts or the United States for that matter. The store itself is so-so- very basic and cheaply done. No aesthetic design or concept and the shelves while organized, full and in stock doesn’t appeal to me at all.

This kind of store make up and design- if you can call it a design at all, is very common to not only Filipino stores but to most Filipino restaurants here in America. I’ve traveled extensively in the East coast and in Sacramento, CA area and it is unfortunate that most of these establishments would really opt for cheapness over presentableness and ambiance! And we still wonder why with 4 million Filipinos in the United States, our classic famous Filipino food (such as Sinigang, kare-kare and Adobo) is as unknown as where exactly the Philippines is located and how to spell it! We can not compete globally if we think locally! We can not compete with world class standards if we have in mind as target market- Filipinos only!

No way! We shouldn’t settle for this kind of second-rate stores when we are in the first world country! We’d have to attract NOT only Filipinos but most especially other nationalities! I wouldn’t take American friends to OUR restaurants because I don’t want to give them the wrong impressions about us!  Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian restaurants here in the United States are flourishing! They are competing head on with American, European and Italian cuisines! And we would rather patronize these restaurants than the Filipino restaurants. (I think I even cook better than most of these Fil-restos to be honest!) Why are other Asian restaurants gets the nod and thumbs up? Because they know better! Their restaurants have nice, clean, comfortable layout. The restaurants have a friendly overall atmosphere. The food quality and presentation are tops.  It’s a shame. Why can’t most Filipino restaurants do the same?

I would have given the store a much nicer review had they been more open and friendly. I also asked kindly if I could take photos of their store because I wanted to feature them in my blog as a promotion, they started getting defensive and almost didn’t allow me! So instead they are getting a rant from me! They have a website by the way with the same lackluster quality as their store. I’m no web expert; but the website sucks!

I am quite disappointed over this store and so would rather shop at Super88. My friends and I go through lengths to find a bargain and would drive for hours to go to a good store. And we could have been a regular shopper in Sure Pinoy Food Mart easy instead we’re not shopping there.

I’m going to give this store one more chance. I don’t know when I’d have the energy to drive there but I will in the coming months. Hopefully they’re still open by then, huh.

Won’t stop you from visiting the store, maybe they have read this review and ‘changed’ :-) Store is open 7 days a week, until 8pm. They’re located at:

145 Water Street
Quincy, MA  02169

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5 Responses to “ Unsure About Sure Pinoy Food Mart in Quincy, MA ”

  1. i second your review. i grew up in a small town in Northern Califonia, and even we managed to have two or three sari-sari/superettes and a Filipino bakery.

    it took me four years in Boston to finally make it down to Sure Pinoy, and the lack of any fresh produce made me sad.

    By Felicia (1 comments.) on Nov 9, 2008 | Reply
  2. It’s always been my complaint about Filipino stores in general, that they don’t bother with presentation. It’s almost like we have no pride in what we have. There is no warmth or hospitality in any of the Pinoy stores I’ve visited here. There was a Pinoy store in Malden, MA that I went to once, and everything had a layer of dust in it and the store clerk chose to continue watching her Filipino channel than bother looking at us or even asking if we needed assistance. No wonder they are closed now!

    The only restaurants that I was impressed were is Max’s Restaurant in Glendale and Manila Garden in Chelsea, NY. There, they actually did some interior design and the food was good. Sadly, Manila Garden is closed now due to health reasons of one of the owners. Sayang.

    I guess I should mention Cendrillon in Soho, NY, which is really more fusion (Pan-Asian, as they call it) than truly Filipino. It’s pretty good but they are temporarily closed and re-opening in another location in Brooklyn as Purple Yam.

    By MM (1 comments.) on Aug 13, 2009 | Reply
  3. Hi MM, thank you for writing. I appreciate the mention of the restos in NYC as I go there at least twice a year! I have not heard of the restos you mentioned and I will check them out- hopefully i can find the exact address when googling. :-)

    I have been to Max’s Restaurant in Sacramento, CA and everything was just bland from the design and the food! My true test of food is of course- SINIGANG! LOL I’m curious about Cendrillon. Too bad they closed in SoHo- would have been easier to visit than in Brooklyn.

    By dmeemai on Aug 15, 2009 | Reply
  4. im disappointed to know that filipino sari sari store in america lacks warm in their service. All sari sari store here in the Philippines has a tindera that always smiles and very warm to their clients. its the most convenient store in the world. you can buy a stick of cigarette, a small sachet of shampoo, a piece of candy . everything you need. just a few steps from your home there is always a sari sari store to serve you.

  5. can i order products from you guys since Im in Louisiana right now. If you deliver :) they dont have anythign in here. So please e-mail me. I’ll appreciate it.


    By jennifer cole on Nov 21, 2009 | Reply

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Sinigang For the Soul

This is both a mixed bag and a personal blog, not a food blog; although I may talk about food sometimes! :-) I am a Filipina Expat living in the United States. The pages here are random musings of love and hate, rants and raves and anything in between. Sinigang is a metaphor to signify all my favorites in life; all that interests me (or not!).

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