Save a Bundle on Your Groceries: Consider Your Local Asian Market
Despite the coupons and the special offers, the major supermarket chains are not cheap. You find a deal now and then, but on the whole they really don’t give you great value for money. Farmer’s markets are good for deals and fresh produce, but they only appear once a week in my area. But for great produce any day of the week, at silly prices, my local Asian market is unbeatable.
I’m a huge fan of cuisines from all over the world, and I usually pop into my local Asian market for rice (20lbs for just $12.99), Aloe drinks, Kim Chee, dumplings, good soy sauce and some fresh pork buns; but this time my wife and I did a full shop there. And wow, what a difference.
For a start, the produce was outstanding. We found over six different types of plums, including Dragon Plums and a delicious mango/nectarine plum combination. We found so many fruits and vegetables we had never seen before, with wonderful smells and textures. And then, we saw the prices. A pound of Dragon Plums was just 79 cents! Regular black plums were $1.29/pound. And in Safeway, the same plums were over $3/pound. Big, big difference. We also found fresh ripe blueberries for 99 cents/pound, over four times less than in Safeway. Onions, potatoes, carrots, leeks, melons, broccoli, cabbage, they were all at least a third cheaper than Albertsons or Safeway. We were shocked. We filled up the cart.
Cheap Meat Treats
When we went onto the meat section, it was vast. Asian cooking is the ultimate in frugal food; no part of the animal is left behind, and as such, the variety on offer was mind-blowing (vegetarians, you may want to skip this next part).
I grew up on liver, steak and kidney pie and black pudding, so I’m all for different tastes (I’m a big fan of Bizarre Foods). A look around the meat and fish section left me wide-eyed. There were the usual cuts of meat, but there were also things I’d never seen in a regular grocery store, including duck heads and feet, fish roe, octopus, sea cucumber and so much more it would take a book to jot it all down. Again, the prices were way less than in our local Safeway and King Soopers, and all of this meat was freshly butchered and packaged in front of us.
Although not quite adventurous enough to cook duck’s heads, yet, we did appreciate the massive variety. And the freezer section was just as prolific. There were so many different types of frozen dumplings and buns that we didn’t know where to start. And there were a host of Asian ice-creams, alongside the usual Dreyer’s and Breyers.
In the canned food aisles, we explored a host of amazing foods from around the world. We bagged authentic Ramen noodles and some great sauces and condiments. And we also grabbed some great drinks, including Mango Ramune.
When it came time to check out, our rickety old cart was straining under the weight. And the final tally for all of our 12 bags of groceries and fresh produce was just $120. We will of course be going there again. On the way out, I said that I was surprised more people don’t shop at their Asian markets. Luckily, this blog gives me the chance to get the word out. So go, check out what’s on offer at your local asian (or any ethnic market generally) and pick up some great food and supplies for much less than you’d pay at a chain supermarket.