Chinese supermarket

(16 Posts)
Tailtwister Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:17

I was watching the Hairy Bikers last night and in the episode they purchased quite a few ingredients from the local chinese supermarket. We have a few locally and I've always wanted to go in but have felt a bit intimidated as I don't really know what to look for.

I was wondering if anyone regularly shops in one and what kind if things are good value or unavailable elsewhere. I always seem to have children in tow when we pass, so haven't really had the chance to browse.

<watches with interest>

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 01-Feb-13 16:30:17

I get giant packs of sesame seeds, plus sesame oil, shao hsing (sp) cooking wine at bargainous prices. Also long beans, mini aubergines and nice tofu. i look about as far form Chinese as you can get, but I am greedy and like to sniff out nice food.

chicaguapa Fri 01-Feb-13 16:36:33

We get big bottles of light and dark soy sauce, hoi sin sauce and the pancakes as we have slow cooked pork shoulder a lot and use the leftovers to make 'duck' pancakes.

I get overwhelmed by the choice and difference in prices, but a Malaysian friends says they're all the same. They are just from different countries, rather than a difference in quality.

I went in once with a list of ingredients from a Wagamama recipe, but they were very helpful in finding all the bits for me.

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 01-Feb-13 16:37:50

oh, and wonton wrappers.

Cheeka Fri 01-Feb-13 16:39:37

Definitely give it a go!tins of coconut milk are often cheaper than supermarkets, as well as the usual chinese staples-soya sauce, fish sauce, noodles...can also pick up cheap frozen seafood too. Really recommend it and where I shop, most of the clientele are non Chinese.

multitask Fri 01-Feb-13 16:42:33

I use one about once a month. Spices, rice, noodles, pastry, soy sauce, peanut oil, chip shop curry sauce etc is always cheaper and better. For the first visit keep to what you know or really want but have a good look around. I find they're quite busy and often the Chinese shoppers while they have always been really pleasant are very busy and don't have a lot of time. Recently I have plucked up the courage to ask more questions and they have been very very helpful, but I write a list and it certainly helps. I am amazed at the variety of food and what actually passes as food!! Don't be afraid but it's nothing like Tesco! Have fun, I can lose myself for hours in one! smile

Adversecamber Fri 01-Feb-13 16:46:19

Fresh tofu, char siu buns and other dim sum, Chinese veg like Pak choi, sweet chilli sauce, giant bottles of soy sauce. If you like spicy food try wasabi peas.
I have bought boxes of fifty frozen spring rolls before and also huge packs of pancakes that are frozen.

Teas are good value as well.

Tailtwister Fri 01-Feb-13 16:48:15

Lots of replies already!

I've heard that they are often much cheaper for the more unusual ingredients as well as noodles. That's interesting about the coconut milk Cheeka. I bought some from Sainsbury's recently and couldn't believe how expensive it was! I think I do need to make a list as you suggest multitask and also go child free so I have time to browse.

I'm quite traditional in the kind of things I cook, but want to branch out a bit. I have Gok's cookbook, but was wondering if there were any others out there anyone could recommend. I have a bit of a cookbook addiction, but there's a serious gap where the more exotic is concerned. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Keep the replies coming, I'm really enjoying reading them!

nonpractisingVirgin Sat 02-Feb-13 07:10:51

Try the frozen dumplings (pork, prawn etc) as you can just steam them and then eat dipping them in some soy sauce - yum

tinygreendragon Sat 02-Feb-13 12:56:16

Spices, noodles, bulk white vinegar and bicarb (for cleaning), beansprouts, pak choi, fish sauce, soy sauces, chilli oil, garlic oil, coconut milk and Tiger Balm all of which are alot cheaper than the supermarket.

For books, I recommend Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey, no Chinese but plenty of other SE Asian and some wildly varied recipes, I've cooked loads from it.

OscarPistoriusBitontheside Sat 02-Feb-13 13:57:55

We have loads locally too and Indian cash and carrys.

We buy herbs and spices in bulk, coconut milk, soy sauce, dim sum and Chinese crockery and cutlery. The little rice bowls are ideal for toddle snack time, plus my boys love looking at the patterns.

ceeveebee Sat 02-Feb-13 14:05:56

We have a Thai/pan Asian one at the top of our road. I buy rice, noodles, fresh herbs, dried spices, chillies, miso soup and coconut milk plus a few interesting curry pastes etc. a fraction of supermarket prices. Eg a bag of about 6 cinnamon sticks for 89p - cost about £2 for one in waitrose!

tailtwister I would recommend Fuschia Dunlop. She has books on Sichuan and Hunan food.

I usually buy rice, noodles, tofu, and Chinese cooking ingredients there. (things like dumpling wrappers, black bean sauce, fish sauc, soy sauce, rice wine, sichuan chillies). Tofu is unlike the packet ones in supermarket. You can get standard, firm, silken and fried. I also like spinach with stalks on like you get in farmers market. For more ready meals, check out the Mae Ploy Thai curry pastes.

Blatherskite Sat 02-Feb-13 14:10:48

I stared longingly into a local one while walking past the other day. Felt a bit intimidated about walking in even though it was empty!

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