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Top 10 Popular Items To Buy From Asian Groceries

Updated on April 7, 2016
Gwen Lee profile image

Gwen is a language & culture consultant with Asian Language School that teaches online Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, and Korean courses.

Rows of instant noodles
Rows of instant noodles

Have you ever passed an Asian grocery and wondered what products to buy? This article will let you know what shoppers normally buy when they go to an Asian grocery.

1. Instant Noodle

Instant noodles are so popular in Asia. It tastes good and filling, perfect for a snack, or occasional quick meal replacements when you are too busy for a proper meal. Just enter any Asian grocery, and you will find at least one full shelf dedicated entirely to instant noodles. You can find brands from Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and in various flavors, too.

IndoMie’s Mi Goreng is an extremely popular brand from Indonesia and is available in a wide range of flavours, such as the Original, Spicy Beef, Satay, Barbeque Chicken, and Chicken Curry. Their warm soup noodles make great snacks in winter.

Nongshim’s Shin Cup noodle soup is a popular brand from Korea. It’s spicy and full-flavored. But you can control how spicy it gets by adding more or less chilli powder or water.

2. Mantou

Mantou is Chinese steamed bun. It can be found in the frozen section of the grocery store. Even though mantou is from China, you can find mantou made in Malaysia, Singapore, or some other Asian country. There are plain ones, chocolate-flavored, or pandan-flavored. To eat it, just heat it up using a steamer, a microwave, or a rice-cooker. It tastes better fried or grilled with butter. Mantou can be eaten as a snack or for breakfast.

3. Soy Milk

Many Asians tend to be lactose intolerant. This makes soy milk a good alternative for protein source. It is also rich in vitamin E, which is good for skin. It’s common to drink soy milk daily anytime during the day.

Soy milk sold in Asian groceries tastes different from the one sold in Western supermarket. It’s more watery. The original soy milk tastes sweet, but now there’s also the sugarless option.

4. Dumplings

You can find a full shelf dedicated to frozen dumplings. Instead of going to a yumcha restaurant for some prawn dumplings, you can find the cheaper alternative here that you can keep in your fridge and consume anytime you want simply by heating them up.

5. Tea

Tea is very popular in Asia. Tea accompanies breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can find many teas from China, the most popular ones are oolong, pu-er, and jasmine green tea. The quality is excellent and it’s much cheaper than the gourmet teas sold in tea shops.

Green tea
Green tea

6. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a very important ingredient for Asian cooking. There are different types of soy sauce: the one used for dipping like the Japanese Kikkoman or Yamasa, and the one used for cooking like Lee Kum Kee. The one for cooking can be further divided into premium or light, depending on what you want to cook. Then there’s the sweet soy sauce from Indonesia that is used to cook satay and other dishes.

7. Rice

Rice is the everyday staples in Asia. You can find the fragrant jasmine rice from Thailand, or Korean rice, and in large parcels, too. They taste so much better than the rice sold in your regular supermarket.

8. Fresh Noodle

Noodle is an alternative to rice. You can find many different types of noodles in Asian groceries. Notice the different noodles you have when you eat udon, pad thai, char kway teow, chow mien, or mee goreng?

9. Moon Cake

Moon cake is only available during the mid-autumn festival which falls on the eight lunar month. It can be given as a gift to those who celebrate this festival. The cake is round and is filled with sweet red bean or lotus seed paste, sometimes filled with one or two salty duck yolk. Because it’s very rich and high in calories, only a small piece is eaten.

Dried shiitake
Dried shiitake

10. Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

Just pour hot water and soak for a few minutes and dried shiitake mushrooms are as good as the fresh ones. Best of all, you get to keep them much longer in the pantry for a fraction of the cost of fresh shiitake. Shiitake can be used when cooking chow mien or fried noodles, stir fry mixed vegetables, or fusion spaghetti.

Have you ever shopped at an Asian grocery store?

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