Sunday, August 04, 2013
Buy Crikey: Widen outlook at Asian stores
Ni hao. Everywhere you look are Chinese and other Asian supermarkets that offer competitive prices on fruit, veg, meat, seafood, rice, soy sauce and hundreds of other products. Yet Kiwi customers will often walk in, wander around and leave with just one product, such as rice or chopsticks, says Michael Chan, owner of the Tai Ping supermarket in Porana Rd, Wairau Valley, North Shore. I started off relatively gingerly - at the Lim Supermarket in Mt Albert. On my first visit, I left with a packet of salted peanuts in their shells. Over the years we've built up a long list of favourites from these supermarkets, including lunchbox snacks such as Indonesian Mamee Monster noodle snacks and Korean Kim Nori seaweed packs. When I sneaked the latter into my son's lunchbox he came home gushing about how delicious it was and how he has to fend off drooling friends whenever he takes Kim Nori to school. It's hard to know what you're buying sometimes and I have strategies: • Buy something new at each visit. • My latest revelation was dried shredded squid, which is high in protein, low in fat, and yummy. • Google it. This week I found that lily bulb pieces can be cooked into "Lily-stuffed Pears", "Hundred Get-together Shrimp" and "Lily Bulb Congee". • Corner a member of staff and ask. If the first one doesn't speak good English, he or she will always find someone to help. • Ask a customer as many are often delighted to help a linguistically challenged Kiwi. • Read the backs of packets. There is usually some information in English that tells you what's inside. I did price comparisons on products that I buy from Tai Ping and Countdown and, in most cases, it was cheaper to go Chinese. It was possible to buy a whole kilogramme of dried egg noodles for $2.50 at Tai Ping, compared to $2.29 for 280g at Countdown. Raw peanuts, dried chickpeas, Australian Sun Rice, Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce and many other items were cheaper at Tai Ping. Some were almost half the price. Casting my journalist eye over Asian supermarkets gave me new insights. I'd always bypassed the fish and butchery sections, yet in Tai Ping's fish section, there was fresh whole tarakihi for $7.99/kg and, for an extra $1 a kg, the obliging staff member filleted it for me and chopped the remains for my cat. In the butchery, I was astounded to find lean pork meat for $8.99/kg, compared to $12.99/kg 250m down the road at the Mad Butcher. Finally, just do it. Take a trip to your local Chinese, Korean, Thai or Japanese supermarket and broaden your culinary experience. More deals • Aroy-D Sweet Chilli Sauce for Chicken, 720ml, $2.99 at The Tofu Shop branches. • Tofu King brand tofu. Two pieces (340g), $1.99 at Panmure Fresh. • Philippines Gracio whole pineapples, $1.69, Fresh & Save, Manukau. • Cock brand Thai curry pastes, 400g, $2.70 at The Tofu Shop branches. • Marukome Japanese Nama Wakae Miso, 216g a 12-pack, $1.89 with Onecard at Countdown (today only). - Herald on Sunday By Diana Clement 5:30 AM Sunday Jul 14, 2013 By Diana Clement Email Diana 12 | Most Liked Gavin Whitelaw (Italy) 09:26 AM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 There are some great vegetable food products native to Asia and especially China. However, try to avoid anything actually grown in China. Heavy metals and pesticides (and hormones in crustacea) were recently reported by the BBC to be 20-fold (not 20%) above the absolute top allowable level in around 25 to 30% of imports from China into Europe. Be especially careful of dried fungi - these typically grow on mine tailings and are full of toxic heavy metals. Herbal remedies are almost 100% over the very liberal accepted levels for pesticides. Brightly coloured sauces and sauce powders from India are largely composed of prohibited colour additives, and if they are ayurvedic they contain dangerous heavy metals for which there is no safe level at all. Make sure that what you're buying was raised or caught in NZ. Make your own sauces from local base materials - the conditions in sauce making factories in Asia are generally terrible. 13 likes Thinker (East Auckland) 01:44 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 I frequent asian supermarkets and indian spice shops all the time. They often have good quality bulk buy packets of herbs and authentic spices from all over the world that would make Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson proud and at half the price of regular supermarkets. Sadly with very few English signs many of their produce goes untouched by me because I dont know what it is. 2 Evan (New Zealand) 01:45 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 Anyone spending a while googling China, farming practices and the environment is bound to think twice about the coins saved by taking (say) a can of Watties asparagus compared to Delish Kiwi-label China grown/produced asparagus. Oh yea - it's inspected; be comforted and forget about their melamine milk! Here is one link: Cheap food from China How about high aluminium levels in those yummy cheap noodles your kids love? Or the super-white skinned, super cheap garlic cloves that nature didn't give you; only China. How I wish the government had the guts to require country-of-origin labeling.!! Oh, and the pork? Mad Butcher's is all NZ. The other? ST (Auckland Central) 01:45 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 No worries on buying ethical food from any supermarket. But it's so such a limiting range when I do my best to avoid palm oil, flavour enhancer 625, 635, and seek ethical canned goods. 0 Lunar One 01:45 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 It's beautiful having alternatives when one shop seems to cater for people with prams and trolleys, and other shop favoured with people just carrying a paper pag. 3 CityLimits (New Zealand) 02:16 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 Do try the round 'moon cakes' served at Chinese New Year. If you like peanuts or almonds, these powdery biscuits are delicious. The boxes are never marked in English. Look for a picture of a round biscuit moulded with a character in the middle. Dried jackfruit snacks are awesome. Find them in the snack section. It's a banana-mango taste with a tinge of bitterness. Moreish. Try the pastry coated peanuts ('Cracker Nuts') in a variety of flavours including garlic and if you're brave, hot and spicy. These go down well at parties. Make sure you check the freezer for frozen steamed buns. You can free-flow them from the bag to your microwave and they are ready in a minute. Usually, there are beef, pork and vegetarian options. Yummy! A cautionary note or two: if the veges for sale aren't fresh, chances are that the meat isn't either. Be very careful when buying meat. Be aware of expiry dates on packaged goods, some of the more dubious shops specialise in buying expired goods and selling them for full price. Expiry dates on Asian goods are expiry dates, not 'best before' dates. The food must be thrown away if it is expired. 4 Kiwi- born&bred (South Auckland) 08:13 AM Monday, 15 Jul 2013 I love going into 'ethnic' food stores. There are many things that you can find that aren't typically available in supermarkets. And most times you can get someone to follow you around to answer your questions. Straightarrow (Alfriston) 10:36 AM Monday, 15 Jul 2013 It's really good to get exotic ingredients these days, along with ideas in how to use them. By the way, what on earth is a "veg"? 1 Kiwi Girl (Auckland Region) 10:36 AM Monday, 15 Jul 2013 One of the problems when it comes to non Asians venturing into Asian supermarkets is the language barrier. It is difficult to ask questions about the products and a lack of knowledge about what to do with products is a big hinderence to people wanting to try something new. Another problem is that New Zealand food labeling rules are not always obeyed and unless you can read mandarin you have a problem. I have also been put off from purchasing products in shops when I have found that the use by dates on some products have been removed. So for many people like me Chinese supermarkets are a novelty, somewhere to browse but not to purchase with the exception of fruit and vegetables although the quality is not always the best even if the prices are good. 1 Northbloke (Auckland Central) 09:57 AM Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 Kiwi Girl One of the problems when it comes to non Asians venturing into Asian supermarkets is the language barrier. It is difficult to ask questions about the products and a lack of knowledge about what to do with products is a big hinderence to people wanting to try something new. Another problem is that New Zealand food labeling rules are not always obeyed and unless you can read mandarin you have a problem. I have also been put off from purchasing products in shops when I have found that the use by dates on some products have been removed. So for many people like me Chinese supermarkets are a novelty, somewhere to browse but not to purchase with the exception of fruit and vegetables although the quality is not always the best even if the prices are good. show more Food labeling is really important and the good Asian supermarkets comply. I suggest you report any that you find who are not, and change to another (there's plenty of choice) - No idea though who you would report to though? Just dial 0800 NANNYSTATE? Kiwimac 09:57 AM Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 Wow. Are Kiwis so parochial that they need help in a supermarket like this?! What on earth do they do when travelling in The World Outside New Zealand?! Kiwimac 09:57 AM Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 Why would you go to an Asian grocer to buy inferior Australian rice? Rice from SE Asia or India is much better.
Posted by NZBC at 8:27 am