Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jul 11, 2012 09:49 PM

What to buy at an asian market?


I am trekking to one pretty soon and will not be able to visit it often because of the distance and the price of gas.

What would you guys suggest to stock up on?

Am thinking all things that the grocery store marks up 10 fold
-oyster sauce
-hoisin sauce
-sesame oil
-maybe soy but I don't know much about soy outside of kikkoman

-also noodles (probably dry for storage)
-wrappers that aren't like brittle paper (guess they would be fresh or frozen)

-some sort of bean paste-not sure what kind

anything else I should grab? or any feedback on the list?

(will pick up vegs or any fresh fish if they have them i suppose)

what about dried shrimp or mushrooms? any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks if you write back

I will post after I make my trip if anyone is interested

  1. Define "asian market".

    Asia is big continent that encompasses no less than 48 different countries, and about 60% of the world's population.

    1. Shouldn't you get the things needed for the recipes of dishes you like to make or wish to make? That's one of the things I consider when making my shopping list.

      1. I'm assuming that "Asian Market" means a mix of mainly Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai, is that right?

        Personally, for non-perishables, I'd stock up on dried shitake mushrooms (the smaller ones), black woods ear fungus, dried lotus blossoms, dried tofu skins, good quality Thai spice pastes, Tom Yum Soup paste, dried seaweed of various sorts, panko, shrimp paste and fish sauce, Korean hot pepper paste, wasabi paste, bean thread noodles, thin flour noodles, udon and ramen, some packs of pickled mustard greens, rice vinegar, good sesame oil, black rice vinegar, rice, ten treasures oats, millet, Japanese curry and cream stew pastes, canned bamboo shoots, baby corn and water chestnuts, powdered clam stock. Plus some specific spices - sechuan peppercorns, star anise, pepper salt, black sesame seeds. For canned g

        For more perishable stuff, I'd probably pick up some good kimchi, salted duck eggs, soft tofu, and whatever meat and vegetables looked good at the moment.

        And of course, browsing the snack and drink section for whatever looks interesting....

        As an aside, the concept of generic 'Asian Market' doesn't bother me any more, given that I make special trips to stores to stock up on generic "Western Food", which can include such diverse purchases as pickled jalepenos, olive oil, pasta, chickpeas, bratwurst, dill, chili powder, yoghurt, Dr. Pepper, brie, polenta, couscous, kidney beans, Kraft Dinner, fresh mint and parsley, beets and lettuce.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

          That's what I thought an asian market is as well, they also sometimes have indian ingredients depending on the shop

          szechuan peppercorns definitely - the others as well, will have to copy this thread into a document and print it out!

          I had no idea there was a snack section.

          I agree with you on the 'western food' part too

        2. I have a little Asian market near me. One of the first times I stop in, knew I would be needing soy sauce soon and decided to see what they had other than the supermarket "K" brand. There must have been 5-6 different brands... and other than the words "soy sauce"... couldn't read any of the labels. I just asked for a recommendation of which one to try first. They also have fresh tofu that gets fished out of a big bucket... not something I crave, but much nicer than anything I've gotten in supermarket. Not a huge variety of veggies, but super fresh baby bok choy, chinese cabbage, scallions, snow peas. One lb bag of what was labeled "onions", but clearly shallots for $1.50. Sesame seeds... white or black... 4 oz bag (that's a LOT of SS) for $.99. Slowly working my way thru the zillions of noodles. Frozen edamame... MUCH less $ than supermarket.

          If I see something interesting I just ask... what's this and what should I do with it? People who own store are VERY willing to guide me along.

          1. I have bought inexpensive kitchen equipment at them that have lasted me decades, knives, cleavers, peelers, strainers, small cutting boards, small divided condiment bowl for dunking etc.

            2 Replies
              1. re: madeliner

                They almost always have sink strainers in every conceivable size, and I buy them all because I live in a house with old plumbing. They also have wonderful snacks, and tea of all kinds. I have driven 120 miles just to go to a huge Asian market, and in answer to my prayers, they opened a branch of it in my city. God is good.
                Just take your time going up and down all the aisles and keep your mind open, you'll be amazed by what you see.