Ever wondered why you can't re-create those noodles from your local Chinese joint at home, no matter how hard you try? It's because the proof is in the produce, and you just can't get the best stuff unless you brave the narrow aisles of your local Asian grocer. So tie up those shoelaces, build up the courage to squeeze into the very limited parking spaces and hit up one of our favourite Asian grocers in Perth.
While you're there, remember that these guys are the closest you’ll come to getting a cooking class from David Thompson, so ask questions! This is their domain so immerse yourself in their knowledge and you’ll be on your way to a Chinese New Year dinner party that is sure to impress!
With a tagline like ‘The Asian Food People’ it’s not hard to believe that Trans is where it’s at. You’ll go in searching for satay sauce, get stressed by all of the options and end up wandering the aisles. That’s the first mistake you’ll make. The second will be walking out with a Vietnamese broom, Malaysian rice cooker and a paper fan you’ll never use. Or perhaps that’s just me. For first timers, this is your one-stop shop. For food snobs and Tupperware hoarders, this is your mecca!
Ton Sian Grocery
The name itself is as much a mystery as the location. Ton Sian (or is it Dong Huong as labelled on the building?) is the secret Palmerston Street locals have been keeping from us. This cute corner store will cover your every need from groceries to a quick and delicious lunch. Putting aside the questionably large selection of string and slippers for sale, it’s the $1.50 curry puffs, family banter and free parking that’ll keep you coming back for more. They also do some of the best vego rice paper rolls in Perth.
Tucked in the corner of Broadway in Nedlands lies Kongs, the western suburbs go-to for all things Chinese and Japanese. Don’t expect a large variety of fresh produce, but you’ll be sorted for everything else. If not, aunty will be there to answer any questions you have. But be warned—eat too many burgers at Varsity and you’ll barely fit through the aisles. In fact, you're best off walking sideways, even if you haven't over-indulged.
Yee Seng Oriental Supermarket
Deciding that you do actually need 10kg of Jasmin Rice is just one thing that will happen when you walk into Yee Seng. Trolley’s that fit down the aisle with ease paired with a lovely team who will happily answer your many questions tend to enable over spending, but you'll be so pleased with yourself when you're munching your way through their infamous nougat. Now you just need to figure out where the eff you’re going to put that bag of rice!
Just like Flight of the Conchords, VHT is all about business time. While you won't find much fresh food, there's a whole lot of everything else! Dried and powdered everything, pre-packaged everything, frozen wonton everything, Chinese New Year everything. They also do a dang good pineapple tart.
Wing Hong Butchers
How can you not love Wing Hong when you’re greeted with the gorgeous front of house ladies who are running the show? That is, until you realise you forgot to grab a ticket and all of a sudden you're that annoying person ruining it for everyone. Not to worry, though, if the line is a little overwhelming, pop next door for a bit of roast duck. You’ll realise it was worth the wait when you figure out that the chicken you bought cost less than your parking.
When you're done trying to do it at home, head out and grab one of Perth's best laksas.
Image credit: Elle Borgward