Following up from the Noodle Round-up, I thought I'd summarise the supermarkets in Chinatown and what I find each of them handy for..
New Loon Moon
On Gerrard Street, about half way along on the north side, there are a few tables of fresh vegetables and fruit. Up the adjacent stairs, one finds a small but well-stocked chinese supermarket. The speciality here is noodles - they have all of the essentials - Maggi Mee, Mama, Shin Ramyun and above all, this is the only shop in London I know that stocks Indomee Mi Goreng. If you want to sample, they have individual packets of everything available. The boxes (about 7 pounds for a box of, say, 40 packets) are all up high, so you have to ask one of the assistant chaps who are experts at knocking them down with a spiky stick.
New Loon Moon
Opposite New Loon Moon is the biggest and so probably best-known of the supermarkets. I don't tend to use it much unless I can't find what I need in one of the others. It is large though, so you have a good chance of finding things. Seems to be good for biscuits and snacks!
Loon Fung Supermarket
Unknown Name Place!
On the corner of Newport Place, near the oriental bandstand and just opposite Jen Cafe (of the Pearl Ice Tea and dumplings fame) is one of the old supermarkets which used to be a staple - this was the main place for Maggi Mee noodles. These days it seems to have gone Korean in terms of what it stocks - I wonder whether it will be there much longer.
On Lisle Street, the adjacent parallel road to Gerrard Street is See Woo, always with crates of food outside being wheeled in. This is very cramped but quite large. Website here. It seems to not have the best overall selection but also tends to have particular things that others do not - and above all else they stock...
Sichuan Peppercorns! 2GBP45 for a bag of red peppercorns. My goodness.. these are heaven.. I'm putting them in everything. Read here for a good blog entry discussing them and their use.
Other Asian Supermarkets outside Chinatown
Japanese supermarket on Brewer Street. Not cheap, but it stocks something almost impossible to find elsewhere - proper Kim (i.e. the Korean thin seaweed that is very moreish!), sometimes in small bite-sized packets, sometimes in larger nori-sized sheets. Kim never lasts very long in my house!
On Piccadilly this has recently expanded into an adjacent property to become much bigger. Expensive but well staffed and stocked, and with a deli, and a great range of teas downstairs. Also has non-foodie stuff like library and travel centre.
Hanna "Super Market"
In Store Street, near the British Museum and Goodge Street, a small Korean supermarket. You can get kimchi and gochujang in almost any Oriental supermarket, but this has a better range.
Small Japanese supermarket in Finchley Road. Website here. Good range of veg and snacks, but not that cheap (especially these days with the exchange rate as is).
If you like sashimi this is paradise! Will and I used to come here and spend rather embarrassing sums of money (by today's credit-crunched standards) on piles of freshly cut fish - tuna, salmon, yellowtail, mackeral, etc. They have people who are expert at carving it all up for you - one of the chaps who used to always serve us used to work in Nobu. The main one is in North Finchley, website here, though they have others in Acton and elsewhere. This is where all the Japanese people in London go to get their fish!
They also stock the magical Japanese Chilli Rice Crackers.. not sure exactly what they're called, might be something like Himemaru Arare? Anyway look for the red black and green stripy packets, like these:
Manna from heaven!!
The only other place of interest I guess is somewhere I haven't been to - Wing Yip have an enormous warehouse place out on the Edgware Road / North Circular somewhere. Catering volumes of everything and a vast selection. I'll report back if I ever visit!
Happy shopping and eating, foodies, hope this round-up is useful!