SAN RAMON -- A walk down any given aisle at the Tri-Valley's first Asian specialty market is a bit like taking a trip across the Pacific Ocean in 30 paces.

Take the canned food section: It starts off familiar, with various chilis and tomato sauces, but by the time a shopper reaches the far end, the cans contain mock duck meat, and a look to the left is met with stares from a couple dozen catfish, all frantically jostling for position in one of the live food tanks.

That kind of variety is key, said Paul Lee, owner of the Le Asia Supermarket, which on Wednesday was nearly completely stocked and ready for Friday's opening.

"We offer a large selection of products people can't find elsewhere," said Lee, who added that they sell the standard market goods to serve the neighborhood in general.

Lee owns six similar markets in San Francisco, but none are as large as Le Asia, which is located at the site of a former Ralphs market at Alcosta Boulevard and Village Parkway. At 50,000 square feet, there's a lot of room for a lot of variety.

There are the staples, such as rice and noodles. Regular supermarkets offer regular bags of rice, but Le Asia offers an aisle full, in five-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 50-pound sacks.

The store's arsenal of instant noodles would allow a college student to eat a different meal every day of the school year. And if you are in the mood for shrimp, 12 different brands compete for your attention in the frozen food section.

But Lee said what people will really appreciate is the fresh seafood and produce.

"(Lee) goes out really early and gets the freshest produce you can find," said general manager Roger Young.

Lee said he's nervous about the official grand opening, which will be Saturday.

"I think a lot of people will come, and it might be out of control," he said. "Right now, we're the only Asian market in the area."

It won't be for long. On Wednesday, workers had installed the shelves and filled the water tanks at what will be a 99 Ranch Market, just two miles away in Dublin.

"They'll be there in a few weeks, but right now it's just us," said Lee.

He said his market is different from 99 Ranch because it has smaller stores within the large store.

There are Korean and Cantonese restaurants, a bakery, a bank and a travel agency.

"We have everything here," Lee said.

"Everything" includes a Japanese variety store with hundreds of individually wrapped gourmet confections, both sweet and salty, and a wall with tier after tier of pink Sanrio products, including Hello, Kitty.

Japanese cosmetics take up considerable space, as well as traditional items, such as lamps, incense and little charms.

"We want to attract both kids and adults," said variety store manager Vivian Ao.

Charles Giang, a Dougherty Valley resident who owns the Japanese store, was confident that his wares will sell well in the Tri-Valley.

"There's a big demand for this stuff -- they just don't know it yet," he said.

Stella Marie, a hairstylist at the Cost Cutters salon next door, said she looks forward to the opening. She said she will shop there but has another reason to support the store.

"It has been Deadsville here ever since Ralphs closed," she said. "Hopefully, it will bring some people in here."

Eric Kurhi covers the San Ramon Valley. He can be reached at 925-847-2184 or e-mail ekurhi@cctimes.com.