Thursday, April 23, 2009

London Chinatown Supermarkets

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

Loon Fung
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.

See Woo
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.

See Woo

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!


Japan Centre
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.

Japan 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.


Natural Natural
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).

Atari Ya
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!!

Wing Yip
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!


Zac said...

You found sichuan peppers - excellent! Just throw a couple of handfuls into (almost) any fried dish and it tastes great.

Sam Crawley said...

You were the one that introduced me to them old boy! I remember your fumbling efforts to try to explain them verbally before we tried them. The only way to understand is to eat them! I am addicted. I have a large bag and have been putting them in absolutely everything!

Zac said...

Every time Justin or I go into China we come back with 4 or 5 bags :)

Sam Crawley said...

2 pounds 45 a bag I don't need to worry about going to China for the stuff any more! Now I have red ones.. what are the green ones like? Should I buy both and blend?

Zac said...

Not sure that I know the difference! The ones we buy are red too - if you get some green ones let me know what they're like...

Unknown said...

Nice run-down of Chinatown shops!

London is a bit too far away for me, so I tend to shop in Bristol, and online. If ever you travel to the south west, I'd recommend you try these guys:
Wai Yee Hong Chinese Supermarket.

They product range is very wide, and importantly, they stock sichuan peppercorns and facing heaven chillies! :D

Anonymous said...

can you tell me where I can find sticky rice to purchase in central london. I would like the one which is already pre packed in lotus leaves and just needs steaming.

Anonymous said...

any place on list stock whole katsuobushi block rather then packet flake?

Kake said...

Hello! I'm glad you like my photos of the Japan Centre and Atari-Ya, but under the terms of the Creative Commons licence, you do need to attribute them to me. Could you add a link to the Flickr pages of the photos, please? If you didn't note them down, they're here and here. Thanks!

Sam Crawley said...

Hi Kake, sorry about that! Meant to grab some of my own but never got round to it. Will sort out soon. -Sam

Kake said...

Hello again, just a small reminder that you said you'd sort this out... won't take you a minute to add the links, will it?

Sam Crawley said...

Hello chap, your photos have been removed. - Best wishes, Sam

Kake said...

Oh, thanks for doing that, but really it's OK to use any of my photos as long as you comply with the licence.

Hanna Supermarket said...

Hanna Supermarket has sadly closed its doors. My dad would like to personally thank all of his customers for their support through the years. Please visit my blog for his message. Thanks.