These 12 Items Make Visiting Your Local Asian Grocery Store SO Worth It
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Make a trip to your local Asian grocery store– your budget will thank you!
Skyrocketing grocery store prices got you down? There’s an easy answer and so many more shopping secrets to be uncovered at your local Asian grocery store. While navigating an Asian market might be a little overwhelming at first, it’s worth familiarizing yourself as you rack in the discounts on those hard-to-save-items (like fresh produce)! 😍🙌🏼🥬
I’m half Filipino and spent much of my life shopping at Asian grocery stores, so I’m excited to share which items I personally make the extra trip for just to save a little more!
Here are the 12 best things to get at an 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 16oz containers of turmeric and chili powder for just $2.49 – $2.99 at our local store. 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. They’re usually at least $1 cheaper than what you’d pay at your local grocery store, and even Insider.com agrees that the size of the bottles alone are worth the extra trip! You can find BIG bottles of different types of soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sweet rice wine, chili oil, fermented bean pastes, mustard, and more!
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! Childhood me is salivating right now– nothing beats fried fish from the Asian market! 🤤
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, that, as lifehacker also suggests, will top your list of Asian market must-haves too! Plus, if you think 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.
Not sure what’s for dinner? Check out this recipe for Ramen Noodle Taco Bowls!
You will also find an amazing variety of rice that you can get for a steal when buying in larger bags. And while, yes, these bulk bags themselves are a bit pricier, if you’re a fan of more premium jasmine or basmati rice, you’ll end up paying less per pound when you stock up and the quality is much better, IMO!
6. Fresh Produce
Buying fresh produce at your local grocery store definitely adds up, especially when it’s not in season. Save money when you buy select fruit and vegetables at the Asian market!
Plus, they typically have a much larger variety to choose from like mangoes, lychees, and persimmons or vegetables like snow peas, lemongrass, Chinese broccoli, bok choy, ginger root, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and more.
Check out these unique finds we spotted on our most recent trip to the Asian market:
If you love trying and cooking with new foods, the Asian market is such a great place to start exploring new flavors– and such a fun learning opportunity for the kiddos!
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. My personal favorite is mochi-anything!
9. Baked Goods
Be sure to hit up the bakery/ baked goods section! These mung bean cakes (also known as hopia) are a childhood favorite! They are filled with mung beans, black beans, coconut, or sometimes ube, and always satisfy my ‘sweet’ craving without the over-the-top sugar count like a cupcake or cookie might have.
Plus, these and other Asian bakery items are perfect with a cup of coffee, so you can cross ‘breakfast foods’ off your regular shopping list and save at the Asian market instead!
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.
11. 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!
12. 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!
Where can I find an Asian grocery store near me?
While Asian grocery stores are usually privately owned and vary by location, here are a few chain stores with various locations throughout the greater U.S.:
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.”
We want to know – what are YOUR favorite things to buy at Asian grocery stores & how do you save?