video guide Asian ingredients shopping list

Asian Ingredients Guide

So you’ve decided to embark on a culinary adventure across the diverse landscape of Asian flavors. But staring at the unfamiliar aisles of your grocery store can feel like trekking through uncharted territory. Don’t worry, this guide is your compass! We’ll navigate the fascinating world of Asian ingredients, equipping you to whip up delectable dishes from the comfort of your own kitchen. Here are some of the main ingredients we like to buy when shopping for Asian ingredients.

Conquering the Asian Pantry: Your Guide to Delicious Home Cooking


Fresh Produce

No Asian dish shines without fresh, vibrant ingredients. Think crisp bok choy, chinese cabbage, and daikon. These aren’t just sidekicks; they’re the melody in your culinary symphony. Choose vibrant greens, firm vegetables, and plump herbs for maximum flavor impact.


From the springy ramen of Japan to the stir-fried bliss of Pad Thai, noodles are the backbone of many Asian dishes. Stock up on thin rice noodles for stir-fries, thick udon for slurping soups, and egg noodles for stir frys. Remember, noodle textures vary, so choose wisely for the dish you’re craving!

Bonus tip: Rice noodles are healthier than egg (wheat) noodles


 This spicy, fermented Korean staple adds a fiery punch to everything from stews to pancakes. Don’t be intimidated by its pungent aroma; embrace it as a flavor bomb waiting to explode on your taste buds. Start with a small jar and experiment – its versatility might surprise you!

Soy Sauce & Friends

Consider these the salty sirens of Asian cooking. Soy sauce, with its rich salty taste, is a must-have. But don’t forget its cousins like hoisin sauce, a sweet and savory blend, or oyster sauce or any umami sauce booster. Each adds a unique twist to your culinary creations.

Asian Mushrooms

 Shiitake, enoki, shimeji and oyster mushrooms – these are not your average grocery store mushrooms. Their earthy, meaty flavors add a unique dimension to stir-fries, soups, and noodle dishes. Experiment with their textures and soak up their plant based umami goodness. Especially good for vegan and vegetarian dishes.

Spring Onions

This humble ingredient packs a flavorful punch. Use the white and green parts for different effects. The white adds a good spicy crunch, while the green brings a fresh bite. Sprinkle them on finished dishes for an instant upgrade.


We are sure this one is obvious. But just in case you didn’t know. You will find the best brands of rice from all different kinds of Asian countries at your local Asian grocer. From Thai Jasmine rice to Japanese sushi rice. Short grain, long grain and more. With plenty of size options in a variety of prices. And not to mention much cheaper options than at your local South African grocery stores.

Convenience Champions

Let’s be honest, we all crave culinary adventures without the prep marathon. Frozen dumplings offer a delightful shortcut to savory satisfaction. Canned bamboo shoots and raw nuts add textural pops to stir-fries. While sesame seeds and furikake (rice spice) add extra convenient flavour. Embrace these champions – they’re your secret allies in the kitchen. Or explore our sauces for convenient cooking.

Remember: This is just your starting point! As you explore, you’ll discover a dazzling array of regional specialties and personal favorites. Embrace the journey, experiment with flavors, and don’t be afraid to adjust recipes to your taste. Soon, your kitchen will be a vibrant hub of Asian culinary delights, and you’ll be a master of your own spice-infused domain.

Bonus Tip:

  • Get creative with the convenience champions mentioned above
  • Leftover chicken and mielies from a South African home meal could be made into chicken noodle soup the next day
  • Kimchi can be added to any dish for convenience and crunch. Not to mention it’s really good for you. We love adding it to any rice dish
  • Turn your leftover rice into a delicious homemade egg fried rice

Embrace the adaptability of these ingredients – you’ll be surprised at the culinary masterpieces you can conjure up! Now, go forth and conquer the Asian pantry! Your taste buds will thank you. Not sure where to find these ingredients? Read our guide on shopping for Asian food stuff in Cape Town.

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