Where to Find Global Flavours in Sydney
One of the best things about living in a big, multicultural city is that you will be able to find slices of the old country in shops catering to your cultural background.
Across New South Wales, you can find specialty supermarkets stocking ingredients not readily available at the local Coles or Woolies. While the major supermarket chains are including more and more international options due to their scrupulous market research, you can already get a wide range at independent grocers.
Use this guide to find the closest niche supermarkets to you. Not only will you be exposed to a wider selection of flavours, but you will also be supporting independent business owners, too.
Independent Supermarkets: The Next Best Thing to Travelling
Just back from overseas? Can’t get back home? Or are you just a curious, insatiable foodie that likes to try new things? For many, going into the local supermarkets when travelling is the most exciting part of the trip. Getting an insight into the fresh produce, condiments, and snacks of a country beats stereotypical souvenirs any day.
Being home to migrants from every corner of the world, suburban Sydney grocers cater to those communities looking to recreate popular dishes from home. From IGA stores to family-run businesses along the high street, exploring regional cuisines could not be easier.
Finding Asian groceries is easy in Sydney, with around one fifth of the population born in East and South East Asian countries. It also goes without saying that Asian cuisines are not a monolith. Even within one country there is a myriad of regional dishes. Luckily, Sydney is home to both Pan-Asian and Country-specific supermarkets.
Perhaps the gold standard for Pan-Asian products is the Thai Kee IGA in Market City, Haymarket. With aisle after aisle of products divided into regions and an extensive fresh produce and refrigerated section, you can find almost everything under one roof.
Most Asian supermarkets are Chinese-owned and stock the most popular Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese brands. In Sydney, Miracle, New Yen Yen, and Tongli are chains that have stores located all over the metropolitan area.
These supermarkets are great for all your Chinese cooking needs: Asian ingredients, like fish sauce, dark and light soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, rice wine, and the perfect type of rice for your Asian dishes.
A popular destination in Burwood for Asian food is Market Place Hen Lee with its idiosyncratic pink trolleys. Asian cooking has never been more accessible in Sydney as it is today.
Along Pitt and Liverpool Streets in the Sydney CBD, you can find Koreatown, full of Korean restaurants, beauty and gift shops, and mini marts. But for a more diverse array of Korean products, venture further out of the city to Strathfield and Lidcombe.
In North Strathfield is the massive Komart, which is like stepping into a supermarket in Seoul. Here you’ll find locally made Korean meats and treats, and huge variety of banchan. In Campsie, Korean food can be found in both Jin Mart and Kim’s Mart.
Looking for the distinct and quality products of Japan? There are a few Japanese supermarkets scattered throughout Sydney, but mostly centred in the CBD and the North Shore.
In the city, the extensive range at Maruyu will transport you to a Japanese conbini. The new G’Day Tokyo Grocery in Neutral Bay even does bento boxes like the ones you can get for the shinkansen.
Filipino products can be found in most Asian supermarkets around Sydney, but for more unique imports, there are a few Pinoy-specific grocers throughout the city. Filo Pride in Marrickville and Pinoy Stop in Doonside both have grocery items and a hot food bar offering a taste of the archipelago.
Between Chinatown and Koreatown in the CBD lies Thai Town. With a strip of snack food vendors, fresh food markets, and restaurants selling the flavours of Khao San Road, Sydney’s Thai Town is the one stop neighbourhood for all things Thai.
Notable shops include Boon Café and marketplace, Mae Cheng supermarket, and Prempree Grocery. For takeaway food, pop into Khao Neow Thai Street Food, and Thanon Khaosan, which have a wide selection of traditionally gluten free desserts.
While there are not as many places to find continental foods in Sydney as there are in Melbourne, the city still has a good collection of European food outlets throughout its suburbs.
European supermarkets can be found in Bondi and Eastgardens, with Russkis Deli and Stolichniy Minimart, respectively. Bondi is also home to Kemeny’s Food and Liquor Store and Jewish supermarkets, like Krinsky’s Kosher Supermarket.
In the Inner West, Leichhardt and Haberfield host a selection of Italian minimarts, while you can find Portuguese and Spanish fare in Petersham.
While the African diaspora in Sydney is smaller than other groups, there are still a handful of shops dedicated to hard-to-find ingredients from the continent.
In Guildford, All African Food stocks spice mixes and vegetables common in pan-African cuisine. Similarly, African Food Supply in Mount Druitt has all the essentials, from Fufu mix to pounded yam. On the North Shore, South Africa is represented in stores like Springbok Delights in Lane Cove and African Vibe in Balgowlah.
Indian grocery stores can be found throughout Greater Sydney, offering the vast array of spices and other staples of Indian cuisine. In the Inner City, the Fiji Spice Market on King Street, Newtown and MGM Spices on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills provide all the essentials.
All along the Western Line of the Sydney Metro there are Indian supermarkets in suburbs like Ashfield and Strathfield, but the destination for Indian ingredients and restaurants has to be Harris Park.
Middle Eastern Supermarkets
Several suburbs have a strong representation of Middle Eastern shops, cafes and restaurants, with all the nuts and dried fruit, desserts with sesame seeds and honey, spices, and breads you could ever want.
You can find Persian and Lebanese supermarkets from Willoughby to Lakemba, and a concentration of Middle Eastern grocers in suburbs like Auburn, Lidcombe, Liverpool and everywhere in between.