Every time I go back to Japan and I go to my local supermarket I’m always excited to see the loquats and persimmons lining the fruit aisle and the 50 types of miso paste in the refrigerated section. I’m reminded of how I can’t buy a lot of these foods in the UK because of the difference in diet and tastes. For example, British supermarkets sell lots of varieties of potato but you might be disappointed by the lack of a noodle aisle. Particularly when I was younger there wasn’t anywhere near as many supermarkets that sold East Asian ingredients and my mum would have to cut a lot of corners in her recipes. Now however, especially in the city there are so many supermarkets you can go to that sell imported Asian ingredients, making cooking comforting foods a lot easier.
Although some of the prices make me cringe inside, knowing how cheap it would be in Japan, these supermarkets make living a lot more comfortable. I usually buy anything I can in the British supermarket as foods like pasta, vegetables and fruits are much cheaper. But for special ingredients like noodles, Asian vegetables like eggplant and of course rice, I will make the trip to the Chinese or Korean supermarket near University. I am often seen cradling my 3kg bag of rice as I take it home because being able to buy Japanese rice makes me very happy.
Anyway, here are some places I recommend visiting to do your shopping:
I probably go here the most because it’s so close to Uni and closes at 7pm most days so it means I can easily go after my lectures. It’s a Chinese supermarket but it sells a lot of ingredients that I’m sure other Asian cuisines would also make use of. The supermarket sells fresh vegetables many of which are locally grown, as well as fresh bread from the bakery in Chinatown. There are lots of frozen foods like dumplings, as well as a warehouse at the back where you can bulk buy rice, noodles and other things. They sell most of the things you could need and there’s also student discount (!!!)
This is a new Korean supermarket and k-pop store. All the stuff in here is mainly from Korean brands and a lot of it can’t be found in Chinese supermarkets. They sell Korean vegetables like super thin beansprouts or perilla leaves as well as about a million types of red pepper paste. They excitingly sell hot buns and boba at the till as well!
This one is near Whitworth Park and sells halal meat as well as lot of South East Asian spices and ingredients. I like going here because there’s a little vegetable market out the back that sells extremely cheap vegetables such as tiny daikon radishes.
There are also a few Chinese supermarkets in Chinatown. Also, in most UK supermarkets they will have a section dedicated to Asian food that sells a small selection of foods like ramen, sushi rice and tofu, however the prices are usually a little cheaper in the supermarkets I’ve mentioned above. Basically, there’s lots and lots of places to do your food shopping so you will easily be able to cook comforting foods that remind you of home!