These 12 Items Make Visiting Your Local Asian Grocery Store SO Worth It

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asian foods on checkout line

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:

1. Spices

large jar of turmeric in hand

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!

Hip Tip: Eating keto? Check out our favorite keto spices that you’ve got to try. And if you’re looking for a way to organize your spices, check out this tip!

2. Sauces & Condiments

hand pulling soy sauce off shelf

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 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!

3. Seafood

packaged frozen fish

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! 🤤

4. Noodles

hand grabbing bag of noodles

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!

5. Rice

bulk bags of rice

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

fresh produce section at asian grocery store

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:  

hand holding peeled taro in package

whole jicama at asian grocery store

hand grabbing pack of thai chilies

girl holding banana blossom

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!

7. Meat


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!

8. Snacks

mochi snacks on shelf

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

hand holding bean cakes

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!

10. Tea

variety of asian teas on shelf

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

spatulas hanging on shelf at asian grocery store

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!

woman holding asian foods in arms

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.:

cart full of asian foods

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.”

grocery bag in shopping cart in parking lot

We want to know – what are YOUR favorite things to buy at Asian grocery stores & how do you save?

Want to save DOUBLE at the thrift store? Read THIS!

About the writer:

Chelsey is a writer & photographer with both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree from Arizona State University. She holds 3+ years blogging experience not only for Hip2Save, but various other publications in the health, lifestyle, and education field.

Join The Discussion

Comments 32

  1. LovelyMess

    Last time I hit the pan Asian market here in Colorado Springs I ended up spending 160 on noodles and cookies. 😂😂😂 Husband’s politely suggested i don’t go shopping alone again. Haha so much fun though!!

  2. natd22

    Dont forget the melona bars. They are my favorite!!!!

    • eadybakegirl

      Our local costco sells the Melona bars and pockey. But nothing beats going to china town and trying other flavors.

  3. Sway

    Besides noodles, we love to pick up Hello Panda cookies, lumpish wrappers for lumpia and pure Mexican vanilla extract which is so much cheaper and much more flavorful.

  4. Marie

    Filipino breakfast meats! Chicken or pork tocino particularly. ❤️

    • LT

      Yup yup yup!!! I am sure if they’ll try tocino mix with the thin pork meat they’ll love it!!!😘😘😘 The ice cream variety includes mango, fruit salad, and yam flavors are a must try too!!!

  5. peachcraze

    My kiddos LOVE Pokey sticks. We buy them at our Smiths Marketplace.

  6. tipaye

    What a wonderful post, thank you for highlighting food items that may seem more “uncommon” to some!

    • LT

      Or exotic!!! Yup yup yup!!! Thank you so much H2S!!! You are all the best!!! I am a proud Asian(Filipina) myself!

  7. Brooke

    Just in case you don’t have an Asian food store close by and your kids love pokey like mine, you can find it at Walmart and Winn Dixie too.

  8. angel53707

    It pays to live in Hawaii where you can find all of these things at every local grocery story. We even have some of these things at Costco. 🌺🌺🌺

  9. Tilly

    Do yourself a favor if you go, and grab a jar of the Citrona tea. It is mostly citrus rinds and honey. You mix spoonfuls in the hot water and drink it in the winter, especially if you have a sore throat! It instantly soothes and is a bit of heaven.

  10. MrsGarfield

    Funny, I just got out of an Asian store. I like to go buy meats there from the butcher’s besides many other things. I also like to visit Indian stores for cheap and fresh spices, and ghee. Also the Eastern European stores for European stuff to remind me of home.

  11. Hilga g

    Well I am new to the Asian market but I gave it a try I spent $25 and I am going to make a shrimp grits and bok choy special breakfast for the hubby

    • Jenuine

      Bok choy stir fry with bacon is the best!

  12. Momof7

    The egg roll wrappers there are the best! Often they say spring roll wrappers and not egg roll wrappers. The won ton wrappers are top notch too. They don’t compare to regular grocery stores. Oh and they’re less than $2!

    • whatacutielife

      I always stock up on those wraps. Asian Market is like 45 mins drive for me here in Georgia so I made sure I get al the things I need for at least 2 months. Lol!

  13. kdhip0623

    Some Asian markets offer free fish cleaning and frying services while you shop. Better to have that taken care of before shopping for other stuff and not shop while hungry. Lol.

  14. Mik

    Our favorite go to Asian stores are H-Mart (Korean grocery store) and Mitsuwa (Japanese grocery store). Things we buy from there usually are certain kinds of mushroom (such as Enoki/Shimeji/Oyster mushroom) they are much cheaper than other grocery store and fresher, Some snacks such as Kaki-pi (Spicy rice cracker), Hi-chu (assorted flavored soft candy), caramel-corn (caramel flavor corn puff snack), Good soy sauce, rice, Japanese pancake mix (our kids’ friends LOVES and request for them as breakfast everytime they have sleepover at our house!), and Japanse Kit-kat!!
    Both H-mart and Mitsuwa has sales ads on their websites, so I suggest go check them out and see what they have! 🙂

    • Mik

      LOVE, LOVE their food court!!!

  15. whatacutielife

    Seafoods and Snacks is always on the list every time we go to Asian Market.

  16. Shaun

    There’s is a lot of things you can get in Asian markets just keep an open mind.

  17. Trudyjackson

    I loved this post it was VERy helpful

  18. K

    I get some fun things like the soda with the marble in the top, miso paste and different kinds of Ramen to name a few

  19. lindak

    We have a couple of giant Asian markets nearby and get lots of veggies, tea, sauces, etc. The only thing we didn’t enjoy was the pastries. I guess we don’t know what to buy, but I wasn’t that impressed.

  20. Lesli

    I lived in Japan in my early 20s and long for the food I had while there! Sadly in my area we don’t have a good Asian market that I’ve seen. The owner of the one closest to us follows you around and pressures you to buy things and not many things have prices. However I shop they’re regardless because I love the food!! My kids love Ramune sodas (the sodas is with a marble and the top of the bottle)!!! I love anything musk melon, I’m dying to find Fanta Melon soda like they had in Japan!!!

  21. Kay

    Thanks for this unique post, H2S. This is the first time I’ve seen a post about Asian store. I’m Hmong, and I shop at Super G Mart in Greensboro NC. Here are my recommendations or what I like to buy there: 1) Lee Kum Kee brand oyster sauce 2) Rothi bread/pancake (freezer section) 3) egg roll wrappers 4) toasted coconut juice 5) produce 6) ground meat 7) curry cubes 8) frozen dumplings 9) cases of noodles

  22. Jen uinely

    I love this post! Thanks so much! I am Laotian and always shop produce at my local asian market here in Minnesota. Also, the exotic fruits!

  23. Tracy

    We always buy a huge bag of chop sticks and use them instead of forks. You tend to eat much slower with them and thus realize you are full before you overindulge.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing what you like to buy when you make a stop, Tracy! 🥢❤️

  24. Minka

    We love to get a big jar of the lychee gels. My kids can’t get enough of them!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      I’ve never heard of these! I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled when I make a trip, Minka! Thanks for letting us know they’re a favorite at your house! 💕

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