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Photos: How this new Port Moody supermarket wants to turn your grocery run into a culinary adventure

Meiga Supermarket occupies the former IGA on Ioco Road in Port Moody.

The new Meiga Supermarket in Port Moody isn’t just a place to buy groceries.

It’s an adventure.

The Asian food emporium at 221 Ioco Rd. is a first for the city as well as its owner, Georgia Main Food Group, which also operated the IGA that used to occupy the location.

Charnelle McClure, the senior director of marketing and brand loyalty for Georgia Main, said the company will use the store as a testing ground for the concept it wants to expand to more locations in the next few years.

It’s a big step for a Burnaby-based company that’s been a stalwart in the province with its IGA and Fresh St. Market brands for more then 100 years. So determining what products consumers want and would like to see will be a big part of determining how much headway it can make in the Asian food business against established players like T&T and the Pattison Food Group.

“We have to stay on top of what’s new,” said McClure during a preview tour of the store that officially opens on Saturday, Feb. 3.

To achieve that, McClure said knowledgeable staff will be on hand to answer questions and host lots of sampling events.

It’s all about building customers’ comfort level with products they may not be familiar with, she said.

In addition to staples like milk, breads, eggs and produce, Meiga’s shelves, coolers and display cabinets feature about 4,000 different products — about twice the number that were in the old IGA, said the supermarket’s director, Foon Zhou.

There’s also an open kitchen abuzz with staff baking sweet buns, chopping traditional Cantonese barbecue and rolling fresh sushi.

At the back of the store, four big tanks currently stocked with live crab will be refreshed seasonally with other live sea creatures like spot prawns and lobster.

The produce section bursts with delicately wrapped pears and oranges, along with greens such as bok choi, Chinese spinach and Napa cabbage.

Almost one entire aisle is dedicated to noodles, another to teas. Potato chip bags feature such unfamiliar flavours as crayfish and fried crab.

McClure said it’s all bringing a sense of discovery to the weekly grocery run.

“Our target market is the adventurous shopper who wants to try new things.”

Meiga’s grand opening on Saturday will feature a traditional Chinese lion dance at 10:30 a.m., free gift cards for the first 188 customers and other festivities through the day.