99 Ranch Market – (2nd San Diego location)

Can anyone else relate to the following observation. Asians call this supermarket 99 Ranch. Non-Asians call it Ranch 99. It’s just what I’ve personally noticed in my circle of friends. I was excited when I heard 99 Ranch Market opening a new location just a few miles from their original San Diego location. I actually thought the original location was closing as who opens a sister location a few miles away. I was wrong though. There are now two 99 Ranch Markets in the 858 area code.

I’ve visited a few times over the past two months and the market has been empty each time. It was like a ghost town. It felt strangely uncomfortable.


You can pay for the hot deli items in the bakery section.


Totally empty.

They sell fruit trees in the front of the market.

This is my absolute favorite fruit from Taiwan. I want to buy this so bad but 1) it’s too expensive and 2) I heard the tree has a hard time actually producing fruit (due to the climate and soil here).

I took my grandmother to the market on the last visit. She didn’t believe a 99 Ranch could be so empty. She liked this location and we filled our shopping cart to the brim with quite a bit of everything.


My mom loves live crab and they were on sale that day. The smaller ones were $6.99/lb and the larger ones were $7.99/lb

The butcher working there that day was incredibly nice. He was patient with my grandmother when she would point to certain pieces of pork that she specifically wanted.

The frozen meat section (sliced pork/beef for shabu, etc) was expensive.

There’s a sink right next to the live seafood department.

This nice gentleman helped pick out a larger crab for me.


Checking out was terrible. There were only two cashiers and the lines started to get backed up.

They were giving out these $2 off coupons for their deli. I think you received one coupon per ‘x’ amount you spent that day. We received a few and the nice guy in front of us gave his coupon to me.


I am in love with this Taiwanese bento box. The pork belly is covered with pickled mustard greens. The bento also has two slices of sausage, tofu cake, and half a hard boiled egg. The pork belly was lusciously fatty. There was a good amount of pork belly in this bento. I think this cost about $8.99.


I about fainted when I saw shengjian bao in their deli section. I was lucky enough that they were making a fresh batch (had to wait 15 min). There were older ones sitting under heat lamps so make sure you peak over at the kitchen to see what’s being prepped.

There was a nice char to the bottom of the bao bellies.

The meat was nicely porky and had a bit of soup to them as well. Not a bad deal for only $8.99 or so.

Poor buddy. My mom said he tasted delicious.

Overall, I enjoyed myself at this new 99 Ranch Market on the last visit. I bought a whole roast duck (some time ago) and it wasn’t very good. The person cutting the duck did an awful job and the duck itself tasted bland. But the pork belly bento was memorable. I hope this location does well.

5950 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111


10 thoughts on “99 Ranch Market – (2nd San Diego location)

  1. What time did you visit? That’s strange nobody was in the store except the checkout line. I like the old location a bit better cause I like eating at Sam Woo. I’ll have to visit this one when I don’t want anything at Sam Woo.

    1. I’ve gone before noon on most visits. I’d try the roast duck again as maybe I just had a bad version on that particular day. But yeah, Sam Woo’s duck is pretty good (now you’re making me want to drive there and get one). I hope you get to visit this location. The hot deli bentos are interesting. They also had roast duck bentos but again, I was so put off by the duck that I didn’t bother to try that bento on last two visits.

  2. I do really wonder what they were thinking, opening a second location just a few blocks from their other store. Perhaps it was just a defensive move and they were afraid that H-Mart would snap up that property. A friend who lives nearby tells me the neighborhood was not happy that an Asian market was replacing Albertson’s, and I thought this location might cater more to the general neighborhood population (their “Meat – Deli – Seafood” sign outside seemed to confirm this), but that seems not to be the case. Instead the store is always empty.

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      I’m glad someone else agrees this location seems odd and often times empty. H-Mart would have done better in this location (even though Zion would be close by). I forgot this was an Albertson’s so thanks for the heads up. I feel bad for the businesses inside this 99 Ranch. The food court (not their own hot deli) was a ghost town. Not sure how they survive. Maybe they’re busier in the evenings?

  3. Haha actually everyone I know, Asians and non-Asians alike, have always called it Ranch 99 – I didn’t even realize that it was supposed to be 99 Ranch until recently 😛 I think it’s so weird that this one, which is arguably nicer/cleaner/has better parking gets so little business compared with the “original” one although my friends and I attribute it to the fact that OO Tea is in the Clairemont Mesa Blvd one… haha.
    Also, I think there IS supposed to be an H-Mart opening on Balboa Ave. soon – replacing the Sports Authority (at least, so I heard before I left SD…)

    1. Hi Jinxi,

      Gosh I didn’t hear about the H Mart rumor/news! That will be so fun to have H mart take that location.

      I agree that the newer 99 Ranch location is nicer, cleaner, better parking (gosh, I forgot to mention the tons of open parking spaces compared to the other location which is terrible). I didn’t know OO Tea was located inside the other 99 – I haven’t been to that market in a while so might have to revisit.

      Hope your move has gone well and congrats on your achievements!

  4. Wow, that is sad that the market was so empty. I went last year when they first opened and it was busy (but not overly crowded). I still haven’t even done those posts. I only ate at the fried chicken place once and I found the pieces way too salty. The service at the bakery was spotty during their first few days (untrained workers, older Asian ladies).

    I like the look of that Taiwanese bento box. I will have to find that next time so I can try it. The pickled mustard greens with pork sounds pretty good to me.

    It does seem odd that the market (I use the terms interchangable – 99 Ranch and Ranch 99) would have a second location a few miles away from each other. Doesn’t really make sense.

    1. I hope you post about your visits to 99 Ranch. I would have tried the food court but it felt too empty (and was worried about the quality of food). The fried chicken place did give me a sample (piece of fried chicken tender).

      Agreed that the hot deli/bakery staff was inefficient. My grams bought a few pastries but hasn’t commented thus far on how they tasted. I wonder how strong their bread sales are with 85c literally across the street from them. Would be curious about your thoughts on that.

      Yes the Taiwanese pork belly bento was delicious. I’ve had 3 now.

      That’s funny you interchange 99 Ranch and Ranch 99. I did that one time when I was with friend as he kept saying Ranch 99 so it confused me.

  5. I live in between both the 99 Ranch Supermarkets, the locations is doing better than Haggens and Albertsons in my opinion because of better pricing and an expansive selection of Asian goods. This location is not as unpopular as we all might think, 85c bakery is just across the street! Each one has its goods and bads, I stick to both locations as the employees at the Balboa one speaks better English while the other one has OO tea and Sam Woo but sometimes I switch for a cleaner shopping experience at Balboa. In fact, Balboa is quite busy on the weekend with less waiting at checkout lanes, I haven’t had a bad experience at Balboa yet.

    1. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy both locations. I agree the Balboa one is cleaner. Did their food court (towards the right) seem busier when you last went? I’ll have to re visit this 2nd location as it’s been a while.

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