Asian cuisine has experienced a revival in Brisbane. Food bloggers and Instagrammers are filling their feeds with culinary creations including pork buns, bao and pho – sending their followers into a hoisin-fuelled food frenzy. But just where exactly are they finding these Asian delights, we hear you ask? Fortitude Valley, of course.
Home to Chinatown Mall, Fortitude Valley has long been the epicentre of Asian dining in Brisbane. But what you might not have discovered yet is the network of genuine Asian grocers and retailers who have everything you need to make a delicious Asian feast at home.
So follow us as we grab our all-terrain market trolleys and shop where the locals shop in Fortitude Valley.
We recommend you head to Asian grocer, Yuen’s Market on Wickham Street. Yuen’s Market has a huge range of seafood and sells an assortment of fresh Asian fruits and vegetables. They also have a large offering of Asian specialty items and a trip here won’t break the bank. The store is deceptively enormous, so prepare to take a bit of time in here to meander through the aisles and see what you can discover. They even sell cookware, glassware and utensils, so you can pick-up all the basics for cooking legendary Asian cuisine at this one-stop-shop.
For all you novices out there – before you get your wok at the ready, here’s a list of the basics you’ll need to stock-up on.
- Light and dark soy sauce – used in many dishes, soy sauce can be a seasoning condiment, a soup flavouring or even a dip.
- Toasted sesame oil – great for stir-frying and seasoning.
- Rice vinegar – look for the unseasoned variety to add a tangy flavour to marinades, dressings and dipping sauces.
- Miso – white or dark, it’s up to your taste buds, but the lighter stuff is milder and sweeter.
- Hoisin sauce – it’s a great addition to marinades, stir-fries and dipping sauce if you’re looking for a sweet and savoury flavour.
- Fish sauce – this is great as a condiment or for marinades.
- Oyster sauce – sweet-savoury flavouring for meat and vegetables, which can also be used to top finished dishes.
- Sesame seeds – toasted is better.
- Rice wine (mirin) – this sweet rice wine can be used in marinades and sauces.
- Fresh produce, such as ginger, chilli, limes, cilantro, garlic and spices.
- Rice and noodles – of course!
If you’re just starting your foray into Asian cooking, be sure to ask the staff for advice and they’ll be more than happy to steer you in the right direction.
Best Friends is a Filipino/Asian supermarket located in McWhirters Centre, and we think it's the best place in Brisbane to shop for traditional Filipino products. They have all of the dried goods you'll need, starting with the basics- Pancit Bihon (rice noodles), Pancit Canton (egg noodles) and rice. Hot tip: this store has all of the Filipino sauce brands you'll need to make the perfect adobo.
While you're there check out their huge range of canned goods, spices, preserved and dried goods like papaya pickles, plums and tamarind balls, and head to the frozen section to stock up on all of the Asian/Filipino fruit, vegetables and meat that take your fancy.
Do you have a craving for Filipino treats? Or perhaps you're keen to try them for the first time? Best Friends has loads of treats like Ube cake, chicharon (pork crackle), freshly baked breads, sweets and more.
If you're after a Thai/Asian supermarket, then The Valley Grocery will have what you're looking for. You'll find them at 15 Little Street, Fortitude Valley. This locally owned store has fresh produce, organic products and everything you'll need to make a traditional Thai dish.
All that’s left to do now is get shopping in the Valley and start cooking your own Instagram-worthy Asian meals!