These 10 Items Make Visiting Your Local Asian Market SO Worth It
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Have an Asian market nearby?
Did you know that Asian markets offer lots of specialty items that you can’t usually find at your local grocery store—and they’re often less expensive! While navigating an Asian market may be a little overwhelming with their foreign brands, ingredients, labels, and images, the aisles will get easier to navigate over time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure where something is or what something says.
We’re sharing 10 things that are worth buying at your local Asian market!
The Asian market is a great place to purchase spices! They offer an assortment of ground or whole spices and you can usually purchase them in large bags or containers, saving you money per ounce. Look for popular spices like cinnamon, chili powder, mustard, cumin, and more!
As an idea, we spotted 6.3oz containers of cinnamon and chili powder for just $1.99-$2.29 at our local store (that’s as low as 31¢ per ounce). At other Asian markets, you may be able to find 14 oz. bags of Bay Leaves, Red Pepper Flakes for under $2, bags of Cumin Seed for under $3, and so much more!
2. Sauces & Condiments
Be on the lookout for a large variety of condiments and sauces at your Asian market, usually at least $1 cheaper than what you’d pay at your local grocery store. You can find different types of soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sweet rice wine, chili oil, fermented bean pastes, mustard, and more!
If you’re an avid tea drinker, you’ll love perusing the tea aisles at an Asian market! There’s usually an entire aisle dedicated just for tea, including loose or bagged varieties, green tea, and other flavors.
Love eating fresh fish, lobster, crab, or even octopus? Head to your local Asian market! Not only do they offer some of the freshest seafood in town at a great price, but many times you can even get it live right out of the tank. Also, they may even cut it up and fry it for you for a small fee!
5. Noodles & Rice
If you love eating ramen, Asian markets are a great place to shop for a variety of noodles. You’ll find all sorts of instant and dry/fresh noodles, including rice noodles, egg noodles, and glass noodles. While Maruchan and Top Ramen brands are normally inexpensive at your local grocery store, the quality and taste of the ramen noodles from an Asian market will be a lot better.
You will also find an amazing variety of rice that you can get for a steal when buying in larger bags. If you’re a fan of the pricier jasmine rice, stock up and save at your local Asian market!
Hip Tip: Not sure what’s for dinner? Check out this recipe for Ramen Noodle Taco Bowls!
6. Chopsticks & Utensils
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you’ll definitely want to check out the selection of high-quality kitchen utensils. You’ll find items like chopsticks, bamboo spatulas, skimmers, and more for 50% less than what you’d pay online or at a retail store.
We spotted utensils starting at $1.49 each, which seems like a great deal as bamboo utensils start at $5+ on Amazon! Plus, there were over 20 different types of chopsticks at our local store—from bamboo to stainless steel and even silicone!
Also be on the lookout for great deals on cookware, like a large wok or bamboo steamer!
7. Fresh Produce
Buying fresh produce at your local grocery store definitely adds up, especially when it’s not in season. Save money by buying select fruit and vegetables at the Asian market!
Look for fruits like mangoes, lychees, and persimmons or vegetables like snow peas, lemongrass, Chinese broccoli, bok choy, ginger root, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and more.
Hip Tip: Want more ways to save on fresh fruit & vegetables? Check out these simple tips!
Not only do Asian markets have a great seafood department, but you can also find great cuts of beef, like Korean-style beef short ribs! And the nice part is that it’s conveniently cut up for you so no preparation is required.
They also carry specialty products like frog legs, chicken feet, tongue, oxtail, intestine, tripe, fish head, pigskin, duck wing, and even bones (great for making flavorful soup broths!).
The butcher at your grocery store may not keep bones around, but the Asian market will have them all packaged up and ready for you to grab. Consider picking up a few chicken feet the next time you’re wanting to make a flavorful and health-filled chicken stock!
Got the munchies? Your Asian market will have all sorts of snack foods available, from sweet treats to seaweed snacks and Pocky sticks to spicy wasabi snacks. One of our favorite treats are Tokyo Banana cream-filled cakes… they’re so delicious and addicting!
10. Frozen Foods
Don’t skip past the frozen food aisles! If you’re craving Chinese food, you can get steamed buns, egg rolls, pot-stickers, edamame, frozen treats, frozen seafood, and more for a fraction of the cost!
At select markets, you may be able to grab a bag of 50 dumplings for around $6 (which is what it would cost for just a few dumplings at a Chinese restaurant) or a 1-pound bag of fish scallops for under $7! And the frozen foods taste just as good, if not better!
You can likely find great deals at other ethnic stores, too!
While this post is all about some of the best deals you can score at Asian markets, you can also likely find great deals at other ethnic stores (Indian/Pakistani, Mexican, Arabic, and others)!
Check out these helpful comments from other Hip2Save readers:
“Shop ethnic markets! There are a lot of good produce deals & spice deals to be had. I used to live near a Chinese market and I got great deals on Chinese products. Then I lived near an Indian one & got great deals on mangoes, rice, and even chutneys. Now I live by an Arabic area, and I get fabulous deals on yogurt, cheeses, produce, and rice.”
“The Mexican & Chinese stores in my town have great prices, especially on produce.”
“The Malabari Parathas sold at Trader Joe’s are basically the same thing as Malaysian-style Parathas, which you can find much cheaper year-round in the frozen section at your local Indian/Pakistani grocery store.”