My search for South-East Asian groceries in Shanghai

One of the greatest things about moving to a new city is the fact that you are able to discover new foods and adapt to new ways of living. Whilst Shanghai is far from a hardship city, one of the most challenging things has been figuring out where to buy groceries. There has been much written about the lack of availability of western groceries, and whilst Shanghai is no Waitrose, if you look hard enough, it does nearly have pretty much everything you need. ‘Looking hard enough’ does involve going to multiple stores to cook a single meal, but hey, that’s Shanghai. However for us, a couple that eats as much lemongrass as we do greek yoghurt, what has been most challenging is seeking out south east asian groceries in Shanghai.

Whilst I complain, I have loved every second of visiting expat supermarket after expat supermarket to see what each store has. To me it feels almost like unwrapping Christmas presents as each store has a completely different set of stock and no store in the same.

In this post, all I really want to do is share where I have found some hard to find South-East asian ingredients as I am sure I am not the only one on the hunt for (reasonably priced) south-east asian groceries. The best and most reasonable places is a combination of Carrefour and Pines. My only advice for people seeking these groceries – if you see it, snap it up as often, there is only 1 or 2 of these items on the shelf.

I try and avoid shopping at Cityshop as much as I can as I feel completely ripped off every time I do. As I learn more about Shanghai, I will surely expand on this listing. If you have any suggestions where to buy more south-east asian groceries, please do leave a comment.

Happy shopping!

Thai

  • Mae Ploy Red Thai Curry Paste (Pines) – 1000g Y40
  • Shrimp paste (Pines, Parkson)
  • Tamarind paste (Pines)
  • Fresh galangal (Pines and cityshop)
  • Fresh pea eggplant (Pines)
  • Fresh kaffir lime leaves (Pines, Parkson)
  • Thai basil (Parkson) – Packet Y7
  • Lemongrass stems (Parkson 3 stems Y5, also cityshop but I remember being expensive)
  • Fish sauce – (Carrefour, Pines, Parkson) – Y20 750ml

Indonesian/Malaysian

  • Fresh kaffir lime leaves (Pines, Parkson)
  • Kecap manis (Pines) – ABC brand 500ml Y34
  • Siracha (Parkson) – 250ml Y18
  • Frozen roti (all supermarkets) – I have been buying Chinese brand Shallot pankcake and using as a roti Y6-8

Vietnamese

  • Rice paper sheets (Pines, Parkson) 500g Y20-Y30
  • Rice vermacelli (Pines, Parkson) – (the bean/mung vermacelli sold in wet markets/local supermarkets is not rice vermicelli) Y4-10
  • Fish sauce (Carrefour, Pines, Parkson) – no vietnamese brands, thai brands only 750ml for Y20
  • Lemongrass stems (Parkson 3 stems Y5, also cityshop but I remember being expensive)
  • Herbs ? I have only been using ordinary mint as I cannot find any Vietnamese herbs
  • Bean sprouts – Wet market (Y0.5 per 500g)

 

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