ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Healthy Foods to Buy at Asian Markets

Updated on January 27, 2017
Valene profile image

Mary has been an administrative assistant for seven years and enjoys studying holistic health and performing radio theater.

Many healthy and unique foods can be found at Asian grocery stores and often cheaper than the supermarket.

I just love checking out international grocery stores! It's so much fun to go into shops you've never been to and see what sorts of products people from other countries use the most. Frequently, I find all sorts of things I've never heard of or even have a clue how to use! With all the interesting foods, cosmetics and even cooking implements at international grocery stores, you're bound to find tons of items you can't purchase anywhere else in town. Sometimes these are food items that are little known to us but can actually be very useful or healthy for us and even if it is available at your regular grocery store, you will most likely find it much cheaper.

Here are some of my favorite items!


Go to your average Asian market and you're bound to find an extensive selection of a vegetable few of us Westerners have ever tried or thought about: SEAWEED! Varieties may include dulse, kelp, wakame and nori, but what they all have in common is that they are very high in minerals in which most of us are deficient. Seaweed packs a nutritional punch unlike any other food and can prepared in many ways. It is frequently sold dried which makes it easy to store. One of my favorite ways to consume seaweed is making a quick soup with hot water and miso paste. You can also find individual serving packets of seaweed "snacks" which are eaten much like potato chips.

One caveat with using seaweed is sometimes there are bits of sand stuck to it, depending on the variety. Due to growing right in the ocean, harvest methods sometimes prove difficult to remove all the particulate matter from the product, so it is often wise to soak your dried seaweed in a bowl of water to rinse before adding to your dish.

Brown Rice

Everyone knows that brown rice is healthier than white rice, but it often costs a lot more! At Asian food markets you can find brown rice that is sold in bulk, usually in large "feed sack" type bags. As long as you have a good container to keep it in at home, this is a great way to stock up on this fiber rich food.


Most people have never heard of natto, let alone tried it. I must warn you, it is certainly an acquired taste. Natto is made from fermented soybeans and you can find it in the freezer section of Asian groceries in small, styrofoam packages. It has an extremely sticky consistency with long protein "strings" created by the fermenting bacteria that appear when you stir it up and spoon it out similar to melted cheese and also has an off-smell that some liken to stinky feet. The flavor is quite unusual and many people, even some in its native Japan do not care for it. So you may ask, why eat this stinky, stringy food? Well, natto is super high in Vitamin K which is of great importance to those suffering from osteoporosis or anyone with thin, weak bones. No other food contains as much vitamin K2 as natto and it also contains an enzyme called nattokinase which greatly helps those with weak circulation and who suffer from varicose veins. If you'd like more information about the health benefits of natto, check out Dr. Joseph Mercola's website at and do a search. Natto is incredible for the body.

Natto is commonly eaten in Japan as a breakfast food, often mixed with steamed rice, a raw egg and some flavoring like soy sauce or tamari. You may want to try it mixed into other foods such as guacamole. Any way you can find to make this amazing health food palatable and get it into your belly will be a worthwhile effort!

Green tea ice cream

Now I can't say this item is 100% healthy or cost effective, but it is unique and very good and probably healthier than your average grocery store half gallon. You can find unique confections and sweets in Asian markets and this is my favorite. It's a sweet treat and you get the antioxidant benefits from the Matcha green tea in it that gives it an unusually nice, smoothly astringent flavor, sort of like mint. I often find it by the pint for about $3-4.00.

Ghee and special oils

I love going to the Indian/Middle Eastern grocery stores to buy certain fats and oils. One of the best is ghee which is nearly the same as clarified butter (you have probably had this at a seafood restaurant to dip your crab or lobster in). This has a slightly different flavor from butter and has all the casein protein "solids" of the butter removed. It often comes in jars of various sizes.

I also love to buy almond oil at the Indian grocery because it is so much cheaper than buying it at a health food store. This is great for rubbing on your skin after a bath and for massages. Makes your skin super soft and healthy and delivers a dose of Vitamin E!

Interesting Fruits

You will see produce in international markets you've never seen anywhere else! And best of all, it won't come at an exotic price. You may see dragon fruit, breadfruit, durian and other fruits that to a Westerner may look like they came out of a Star Wars movie! Unusual root vegetables are good finds as well as whole spices like tumeric roots and whole cardamom pods you can buy in bulk. Many places even have items like banana blossom buds which look sort of like big, burgandy missles in a way...very cool!

These are just a few of the best items you can find at international markets. If you enjoy food adventures, I would recommend you find one in your neighborhood and check it out ASAP!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Janellegems profile image


      4 years ago

      I shop at Asian Grocery stores sometimes and enjoy the different things they have. These are all great healthy suggestions. Thanks for an insightful Hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)