Asian Food Market Shopping

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We discovered how amazing Asian food markets can be when a Japanese friend introduced us to our first one over 30 years ago. Why are they so amazing? Because the products available are as fresh and cheap as you can find.

fresh food at an asian market

How to save money by shopping at Asian markets

I will admit, it can be a little overwhelming to step into a place that is full of unfamiliar sights, smells, and sounds, but that is part of the fun of shopping at Asian grocery markets for plant-based friendly foods.

By shopping smart, you can save a lot of money on spices and other items. I find great deals on rice noodles, rice wraps, sauces, rice vinegar, dried mushrooms, spices, and even produce.

What I buy

The Asian markets closest to me are quite different from each other and carry a big variety of foods. One in Asheville, North Carolina that we go to is owned by a Chinese family, and their products and foods are more what like what is found in a traditional Chinese market.

Another of my favorites is in Spartanburg, South Carolina where the video below was filmed. As you will hear from their voices, the family that owns it is from India, so their products are a good bit different from the other store.

These are some of the foods I love to buy when we are shopping:

purple potato sliced in half in a basket with other potatoes

Fresh foods

  • Purple Sweet Potatoes
  • Bok Choy
  • Cilantro
  • Napa Cabage
  • Ginger Root
  • Green Beans
  • Mangos
  • Passion Fruit
  • Persimmons
wooden cutting board with sliced tofu and knife

Packaged foods

  • Rice Noodles- These are terrific in stir fries.
  • Rice Wraps- We use these for making simple garden Spring Rolls.
  • Spices- Including, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, curry powder, arrowroot powder, and more
  • Seeds- This is a great place to find black and white sesame seeds.
  • Nuts- Such as cashews and almonds.
  • Tofu- Both the shelf-stable type and produce varieties.
  • Sauces- Soy sauce is inexpensive even for the gallon containers.
  • Rice- Can be found in large quanities.
  • Herbal Tea- There are all kinds to choose from.
  • Vinegar- Rice vinegar is a staple at my house.
  • Canned Food- Jackfruit, bamboo shoots, and baby corn

Household items

There is a huge variety of household items that can be found on the shelves, and they are much cheaper than can be found in traditional American stores.

  • Dishes- Small saucers, cups, plates, and so much more
  • Utensils- Chopsticks, metal serving spoons, wooden spoons, etc
  • Pots- Everything from woks to steamers to stockpots
  • Rice Steamers- These are steamers that you won’t find at Walmart. They are the very best.
  • Whatnots- Sink strainers, scissors, bath loofas, and many more.

Video tour of my shopping

Check out this 4-minute tour of an Indian market that I shop at often in South Carolina. As you will see, the owner even showed us how they make sugar cane juice with lime and ginger in India.

A couple of great recipe ideas mentioned in this video are Breakfast Scramble and Asian Spring Rolls.

spring rolls on wooden table close up
Thai Garden Rolls. Click the photo to see easy recipe.

Asian dishes I make

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

udon noodle stir fry in bright blue plate with chopsticks on side

About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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  1. Thank you! great tips. I love that the shop owner is proudly showing off his skills and his vegetables 🙂

    you may already do this, but I buy those bags of spices and use a large glass jar to pour them into. also those silicone tiny bags that come in products such as electrical and luggage -i use one in the jar to help keep the spices from turn hard.

    such a great idea taking us shopping, thanks ..

    1. Those are terrific ideas! Thank you so much for sharing. The shop owner at this store is always so helpful, and I love visiting to see what new items they have in.

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