Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where to Buy Asian Ingredients in Athens


Asia is hands down the best continent in this whole wide world for food. Sure some of us may eat dogs, cats and snakes, but where else will you find such gastronomic variety? We are kings of the culinary castle, and one thing I sorely miss about not living in London is easy access to whatever Asian food takes my fancy, be it Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian or etc. Sometimes I feel like I would give my left leg for some roti chanai and coconut curry.

This Sunday, Kathimerini newspaper published their Gastronomos magazine with a Chinese cuisine theme in tribute to the Olympics and it turned out to be an absolute goldmine. Within its pages was a directory of shops selling otherwise hard to find ingredients like sauces, marinades, spices, all types of noodles and cooking equipment.

So, my little dumplings, here is that directory of shops selling Asian delights for your perusal:

Wok Shop
Elaion 35
Neo Kifisia
http://www.wokshop.gr/
ph: 210 62 06 008

Supplies several Chinese restaurants in Athens. Sells ingredients, cookbooks, equipment and frozen dim sum. Complies with local food safety standards.


Taste of Asia
Ag. Konstantinou
Glyfada
ph: 210 89 82 253
Sells ingredients and equipment. In business for 17 years now.

Dong Fang
Leovidou 25
Kerameikos
ph: 210 52 26 677
General market selling everything including rice noodles in bulk or by the packet. The staff speak neither Greek nor English so if you don't know what something is, take a wild guess.

International Market
Saxtouri 15
Peiraios
ph: 210 45 17 835
Big choice of cooking sauces, rice wine, ready made spring rolls and spring roll sheets.

Asia Market
Terpsitheas 5
Nea Smirni
ph: 210 98 48 795
Supplier to Chinese restaurants. Among its wares are ready made sauces, preserved vegetables, spring rolls and spring roll sheets.

Salamat
Korinthos 24
Ambelokipi
www.salamat.gr
ph: 210 77 96 766

The photograph accompanying the article about this market shows the owner, Fotis Blaxos, holding a durian. So if they sell durian, they must sell practically everything. Various types of noodles, sauces, ready dim sum and cooking utensils are also mentioned.

Supermarkets:
Thanopoulos, AB supermarket and Carrefour all carry selections of ingredients for Asian cooking. I get my coconut milk from AB.

Also worth checking out:
Soya Japan
Apollonos 15
Syntagma
www.soya-japan.gr
ph: 210 33 10 385

Japanese goodies, instant noodles and cooking ingredients.

Indian Ingredients:
For Indian food, go to any of the shops downtown near Omonio on Menandrou street. You can find everything there, including all the spices you need, seasonal Indian vegetables and 5 kg bags of basmati at really good prices. Sometimes they even have delicious freshly made samosas. Most Greeks don't like going there because on weekends throngs of South Asian men tend to gather outside the shops to hang out. Also drug pushers and prostitutes come and go, but I wouldn't call it unsafe. I've been there at various times of the day on my own and never had any trouble.

And there you have it! I'm hoping for some free time when I can go and check out these shops, maybe even find some of my favourite brands of Malaysian instant noodle. Yum yum!

Image: http://www.cardinal.gr/images/000136.jpg

10 comments:

Blackbird said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

I used to go to a store around Glyfada which sold tofu, etc. but it's harder for me to find time to go all the way there. And with my horrible sense of direction I never remember where the store is so spend half an hour wandering about lost. :(

Once again, much appreciated!

AL said...

Maggi mee.. cepat di masak, sedap di makan!

Thanks for this post. And 'tofu'??!! omg I never thought I'd ever find TOFUUUUU

Madeleing said...

Hey, I've red some of your blog and i think it's really interesting! I'm thinking of moving to Greece, possibly Athens, my friends and family thinks I'm crazy, but i really love the people and the culture x) Would you recommend it? How is it compared to the UK, such as in standards and stuff? There's so much i would like to ask, cause you've kind of done what i want to:P I'm trying to learn Greek, witch is impossible cause my city doesn't have any classes.. And it's not easy learning from a book alone.
Hehe, hope you don't mind me asking, and leaving this ''essay'' on you're blog^^

Best regards
Madeleine:)

bollybutton said...

Hi Madeleign, thanks for stopping by. Since I don't know your circumstances I can't say if moving to Athens would/would not be a good idea. Everyone tried to stop me too and it took me at least a year to settle down but after that I love it here. But a very big part of me not giving up and leaving is that my relationship and future rested on me living in Athens. I had to make it work in order to be with the person I loved. Otherwise I might have quit sooner and certainly moving to Greece was never on my agenda until I met Mr Zeus. I had other horizons in mind!
Living with a Greek also means that my path has been considerably smoother than it would have been had I gone solo. I was able to keep my job, had a place to stay and a 'starter' social circle when I moved to Athens. I didn't have to get entangled in the messy business of job hunting, house hunting, tax, health insurance etc. You need to keep all that in mind. So from that point of view I am really not the best person to advise you. Why don't you try the forum on http://greeceishome.gr/forums/

If this is something you really want to do I'd say go for it. If you can ride out the first year, once you settle down you will find life so much richer here. And if it doesn't work out, it's not like you moved across the world, you can be back in the UK in 3 hours again and not have to stress about finding a job again since the job market is so good in the UK. If you're young I'd say have a go, but get advice from others who did it the way you plan to do off the forum. The test for me was: would I regret not doing this on my deathbed? Good luck!

dimitris said...

I trust you have been to the Athinas St area right behind the old city hall where all the Arab/Pakistani etc shops are located. Not far, at Euripidou St there is THE biggest spice shop in Athens of which I don't remember the name right now.

Carefour and Thanopoulos are the SMs with the best variety of ethnic stuff.

Salamat is worth visiting.

Thanasis said...

Thanks a lot!

I'm Greek, I've spent a decade in Athens and yet I didn't know I can find tofu in Athens!! I love cooking Indian, Thai and Caribbean dishes and your info is so valuable.
Euxaristw!

khamfai said...

hi,
Thank you very much for the information :-)
Do you also know any place in Thessaloniki to buy proper Asian ingredients?

Nealosx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
khamfai said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thanx,there are a few places I don,t know ,so I will check them out.I will also let you know if I find anything new.
You need to update ,it,s a nice blog.