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Buying spices in Hong Kong plus a few other ingredient questions

PhilD Jan 16, 2011 01:09 AM

We have just arrived in HK and need to replenish our spices. Is there a good place that sells a broad range of fresh spices. We tend to cook a lot of Indian, Thai and North African, so need a place that does these as well as the normal local spices.

For Chinese spices are there any good spots for Sichuan ingredients e.g. good quality peppers, facing heaven chillies and Sichuan bean paste?

Also is there a good place for fresh fruit and veggies especially herbs and salad leaves? We have surveyed Great Food Hall, Olivers, City Super, Market Place by Jason, Three Sixty and the Park'n'Shop brands Fusion and Taste. They seem OK but not exceptional.

  1. Charles Yu Jan 16, 2011 02:59 PM

    For good authentic Thai spices, you have to venture into Kowloon City where the Thai expats are congregated. Tons of emporiums.
    For Indian spices, you have to visit TST, the areas behind Chung King Building around Mody Road .
    North African spices could be a tough one. May be you can grab a Sharwarma from some Middle Eastern place in Lan Kwai Fong and pick the owner's brain?!
    Good Luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu
      PhilD Jan 17, 2011 03:38 AM

      Thanks Charles - we will venture forth.

    2. m
      MissLambkins Jan 17, 2011 07:55 PM

      If you live on HK side, the little shops behind the wet markets can sometimes surprise you - I was able to get almost all the dry spices that I needed (for Thai and middle eastern cooking) just off Graham Street/ Wellington Street. For fresh herbs, there are the Thai markets around Wanchai, and sometimes the supermarkets, but the herbs some of them carry seem to vary from week to week...

      3 Replies
      1. re: MissLambkins
        j
        jondis Dec 9, 2012 08:00 PM

        There is one market in the Central Wet market right on Graham that has cheaper western herbs and salad greens. Don't know the name of it but it sells thai eggplants, beets, raddichio, lettuce, rocket/arugula, etc for much cheaper prices than City Super or Olivers.

        1. re: jondis
          PhilD Dec 10, 2012 03:51 AM

          Do you mean Wah Kee at 22 Gage Street? It's pretty good although often limited range. Another good bet is the Island East Farmers Market on Sundays you need to check for the dates as it is still establishing itself, when they have herbs they are very very good.

          1. re: PhilD
            j
            jondis Dec 10, 2012 04:07 AM

            Nope, around the corner just along Graham downhill towards Queens Rd. Just got back from there and apparently more and more of the veggie stands on that alley are carrying western salad greens. There is one shop that has more Thai, some Chinese dried peppers, and lots of western jarred sauces and things like that. It's still a limited stock and not at all comprehensive.

      2. g
        goute Jan 19, 2011 09:03 AM

        In the Wanchai Wet Market, i can find tons of spices for indian and thai food but i'm not familiar with north african cuisine. If it's similar to the Middle East cuisine, probably you can find similar spices in those places. The biggest one is probably Sing Fat Coconut (成發揶子) which has been there after the second world war.

        1 Reply
        1. re: goute
          PhilD Jan 20, 2011 03:28 AM

          Thanks to all - we will be investigating.

        2. vorspeise Dec 13, 2012 12:15 AM

          For Indian and Middle Eastern spices, try Chung king Mansions or http://www.spicestore.hk/

          1. h
            Hot Chocolate Dec 17, 2012 07:46 PM

            Yuan Heng Spice Company
            19 Tung St in Sheung Wan

            For my indian spices i use Trinity ... they deliver. they will even have alphonso mangos during the season.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hot Chocolate
              M_Gomez Dec 18, 2012 06:41 AM

              Love Alphonso mangoes, when are they in season next, I wonder?

            2. b
              BuildingMyBento Dec 19, 2012 08:09 AM

              For South Asian goods, Chungking Mansions on the GF or 1F should come in handy, as might the area at the southern end of Temple St.
              If you wander around the southern/southwestern entrance of Kowloon Walled City Park, that's the unofficial Thai part of town.
              I reckon this will be mostly useless to you, but Guangzhou might help with the North African spices, should restaurant owners in Hong Kong not be forthcoming about their suppliers/should their suppliers be themselves traveling back and forth from that part of the world... heck, if I really wanted dukkah or ras el hanout, I might try to contact the manager of an airline that flies to Hong Kong for that info!

              1 Reply
              1. re: BuildingMyBento
                PhilD Dec 21, 2012 12:43 AM

                Thanks for all the recommendations, nearly two years on we're reasonably OK but the randomness of HK food shopping still irritates. One day the place is full of something next day you can't find it. It means you get pretty good at improvising.

                We bought some spices locally but found (obviously) in Delhi and have tended to stock up when in Aus - they seem fresher and less "dusty" than HK.

                For herbs I like the new Island East Farmers market - big bunches of really fresh stuff. Haven't been for a few weeks but hope it continues to flourish.

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