So first things come first, if you want the real deal – asian wise – you have to go roots style and find the source. For at least half of the price (comparatively to a regular chain supermarket), avoiding to get ripped off and guaranteeing genuine authenticity (might sound weird coming from Asia, hun). Either products from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, etc.
There are 3 different asian supermarkets in Martim Moniz area for your shopping list – we’ll put their names and more info in the end of the article. Whatever is missing in one of them, the others will for sure list in. We’ll let you know also how to use each one of them but bear in mind there are at least 1000 other ways to use them so feel free to find the best suitable option for you – and share it with us by leaving a comment.
#1. Bio Green tea matcha (8,49€)
This is pure gold and we suggest to use it like part of any morning routine as a tea to kick-off and afternoons in the form of a matchinno – cappuccino version where the coffee is replaced for the tea. Sometimes we also suggest a tea spoon on oatmeal pancakes or for cake baking. We're seriously addicted to it and recommend it to all the already green tea lovers, otherwise the flavor might be too strong for you.
#2. Peanut paste sugar free (2,50€)
Yes, hon, it’s healthy when you choose the right one – 100% of peanuts like this one with no sugar or oil added – and if you don’t mix it with all the ice cream you can find in the freezer. However, eat it in the right measure! It's perfect after cardio / high-intensity workouts with an oatmeal pancake or if you're really hungry, you can also add a banana and some nuts with cinnamon on top.
#3. Aloe Vera sugar free drink (0,99€)
Aloe Vera it's the next big thing but just didn't find its momentum in portuguese soil yet but it will. It has a very particular flavor which might not suit every taste but give it a try if you tend to like natural / water-like drinks. It's claimed to be good for the immune system, skin in general and digestion, among others.
#4. 100% pure coconut oil (3,95€)
We're not one of those coconut oil psychos that use it everywhere BUT the truth is we don't know any other multifunction product like this. Recommended mainly on cookings as a substitute for oil and even olive oil, as a deep night hair mask and for dry skin, especially on winter. The jar option is the best one since it's easier to withdraw the oil when it's solid. However, if you choose to buy the bottle, just warm it up a bit on hot water before.
#5. Rice paper (1,95€)
You'll find a multitude of sizes! They look hard and are well-packed but there isn't such delicate thing as a thin rice paper roll. They're low in calories (circa 20 kcal per sheet) and require very little preparation. Just dip them in hot water and they'll soften up easily. Try to cook them as a spring roll/wrap and put all kind of veggies inside. They're a great option especially in the summer.
#6. Lemongrass (0,90€)
Its fragrance kills us (in a good way) and it's universally recognizable. Lemongrass isn't usually sold in normal supermarkets so the frozen option works perfectly as you can use it in specific dishes or for tea. You might be lucky and find its fresh version which of course has a punchier flavor.
#7. Black sesame seeds (2,75€)
You won't find them in any other supermarket type and we definitely recommend them in black (although you can mix them with the white seeds) for their unique nuttier flavor and kick-ass presentation on the plate. We recommend toasting them up a bit on a clean pan to release the flavor and fragrance as well as increase the crunchiness. Then, use them to sprinkle on salads, yoghurts, soups, veggies, stir-fried or steamed dishes, pretty much everything. Google all the nutritious facts about these little gems - you'll be surprised.
#8. Sweet potato noodles (1,35€)
This specific type of noodles come from Korea and are made from sweet potato starch - totally gluten free - with a chewy and glassy texture. They're an excellent option to rice noodles and work better on a broth or slightly stir-fried, otherwise, it gets too slippery - unless you like it.
#9. 100% natural Coconut water (1,89€)
There’s no other drink that makes us feel as refreshed and invigorated as coconut water. Keep always one bottle on your fridge ready to drink – it’s kind of mandatory to drink it cold in order to reach its highest potential of freshness. Besides the simple one, we suggest as well the flavored with pomegranate and guava.
#10. Tapioca pearls (1,20€)
We prefer the big tapioca pearls added on a tea latte but the small ones taste great on cold desserts combined with fruit as well. Hot tip: replace the rice for these pearls to do tapioca pudding instead of rice pudding. Hot almond milk and cinnamon and you have a yummy gluten and lactose free dessert.
#11. Bok choy cabbage (1,50€)
They're extremely common in China, in the same measure as our portuguese kale. Although it's called cabbage, it doesn't taste like it at all! We use both the leaves and the stems, again stir-fried (with a bit of garlic, ginger and sesame oil) or simply blanched. Note that the leaves and stalks have different textures needing distinct cooking times. The leaves are similar to spinach and the stems are crunchy and tend to be watery at the same time. It's perfect as a side dish.
#12. Rice noodles (1,15€)
It's incredibly cheap and definitely worth to buy. Its beyond simple cooking process (just soaked them in hot water with no need to be boiled) amaze us so it's one of those unmissable staples in any pantry - love to eat them with a bunch of veggies or featured in a cold salad. You can find a multitude of sizes (thin/vermicelli, medium/linguine shape and wide/tagliatelle shape).
#13. Dried rose bud & Dried jasmine flower (3,49€)
Love tea but don't like the caffeine in it? Then, these two flower teas are for you. They're extremely fragrant, look beautiful floating on hot water, caffeine-free and also perfect for a gift. We enjoy drinking it at night, after dinner, somehow it calms down the day fuss. Don't confuse the dried jasmine flowers with jasmine tea - this last one has green tea added which contains caffeine.
#14. White and brown Shimeji mushrooms (1,40€)
We're such big fans of this type of mushrooms, especially the brown ones. You just need to remove the base and separate into small pieces. Again, they don't need much cooking wise so the least you do, the better. Try them slightly stir-fried or simply steamed to keep all the juiciness and flavor, give us a hot rice bowl and some soy sauce and we'll be happy. Keep it simple, it tastes better.
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- Supermarket Wan (biggest of all 3 with huge variety) | Address: Rua da Palma, 266, 1100-394 Lisboa
- Supermarket Hua Ta Li (the owner speaks very well Portuguese in case you need some extra help and they have take away food) | Address: Rua Fernandes da Fonseca, 16, 1100-238 Lisboa
- Supermarket Amanhecer (a true blend of an asian supermarket with a portuguese twist – you’ll understand why) | Address: Rua Palma 41, 1100 Lisboa