While most of us are fond of simple, wholesome, familiar, comfort foods, there times when we crave something different. From the closed poll it seems I am like most people who seek out those unique ingredients at Ethnic Grocery stores. I’m most familiar with the Asian grocery stores as I’ve shopped them over the past 10 years mostly for a restaurant's pantry. It wasn’t too many years ago that not a single major purveyor could consistently deliver wonton wrappers, or wasabi powder, or nori sheets, so we had to go out and get them ourselves.
I have had many plesent shopping experiences at the Asian Grocery, on top of the unique stock, the communication barrier is strong, challenging, yet trivial in most instances. Almost 100% of the stock is completely foreign, for instance what do you use a 3 foot dehydrated octopus for? Yet there are a lot of heat and serve fast food dishes that are very accessible. Noodles, rice, and soy are the staples. The live frogs, turtles, crabs, lobsters, catfish, and tilapia are all fun to look at, more in a zoo type of way than a food type of way. My favorite is the section of the cooler stocked with hundreds of unique soft drinks, juices, and canned coffee. I almost always pick one to go.
If by chance you are not shopping for edibles, there are plenty of items at the Asian Grocery for you. Hello Kitty, that’s all I have to say. Honk Kong Supermarket has a huge selection of restaurant quality small wares. There are woks, chopsticks, tea pots, and serving bowls everywhere, all priced very reasonably. My favorite three Asian Grocery stores are listed below.
I’m quite unfamiliar with any other good ethnic groceries around town, so please let me know where I can find something new.
3126 St. Clair Ave.
Hong Kong Supermarket
3038 Payne Ave.
Tink Hall - Asian Grocery
E. 36th between Payne and Perkins