As a Spring transfer student to CSU Stanislaus who does not know the area, I'm looking for good grocery stores. That is to say, is there any reason I shouldn't just go wherever's closest? Also, I'm coming from San Diego, and you guys have some different chains up there, so anyone familiar with both areas who could say things like "a Raley's is like a Ralphs" (is it? I don't know!) would be highly appreciated.
Keep in mind that I'll be on a tight living-off-my-parents-and-have-to-skip-meals-if-I-need-a-new-lab-notebook budget until (if!) I get a job. I will have a car, but will probably be getting most of my groceries a day or two at a time by bike for exercise reasons. Considering that Turlock is both flat and small (no offense), I shouldn't think that would limit the options too much. No vegan, health, or religious dietary requirements.
Additionally, I would appreciate information about any Japanese markets or places with a decent selection of Japanese goods. I would be willing to drive to Merced or Modesto.
I figured this would be a good place to look for info of this sort, but a search showed none obviously extant, causing Doubt. So . . . prove me right!