Japanese ingredients in Dunedin, New Zealand.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 27 weeks ago.

Now that there are at least three members of the Just Bento forums who do their shopping in Dunedin (and how amazing is that?!) I figure I should share my food shopping discoveries.

Number one is UniMart at the Gardens, just over the road from the Gardens New World. It has a good selection of packaged and frozen food, and a few fresh Asian veges. It also has some useful food prep implements, including onigiri and sushi moulds, rice paddles etc. Food is arranged in aisles by country, I think the owners might be Korean, because the biggest selection is of Korean foods.

Number two is Happy Coins Mega, which is in George St between Frederick and Hanover Sts on the university side of the road. It looks like a tiny shop from the front, but is really big at the back. About 2/3 of the back part is standard $2 shop goods, but the other 1/3 is grocery items. They have a really good selection of convenience foods, e.g. frozen dumplings of all sorts, frozen prepared prawns, frozen stuff on skewers etc. Lots and lots of different packets of noodles. Mostly I think they cater to students, and I suspect they may be owned by the same people as own UniMart.

Both of these shops stock frozen packs of the very thinly sliced beef and pork belly that Maki says is so hard to find in Europe. They are also both within walking distance of the university where I work, so they are my main Asian food shops. I haven't been able to find the powdered nori for using on okonomiyaki in either of them, I get my sister-in-law to buy it for me in Auckland. I do love okonomiyaki.

In South Dunedin there is an Asian market in King Edward Road right down near the beach end. It's Chinese, been there for years, is a typical jam packed old style Asian food shop where you have to walk sideways to avoid knocking stuff off the shelves, and you have to be a bit careful about checking use-by dates. You can have a lot of fun poking around in it though, and I rarely leave without buying something I didn't go in there for.

In Stafford St there is a shop that caters mainly to restaurants, but is open to the public. Chinese, and has an eclectic selection of stuff. Lots of bulk packs.

There is also an excellent Indian food shop in St Andrew St between George St and Great King St. Just walking past it makes my mouth water, the smell of spices is so delicious. They also sell the best and cheapest dates.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Trisha
Bento-ing from: › New Zealand
Joined: 1 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 12 weeks 1 day ago.
Re: Japanese ingredients in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Thank you Bronwyn.

I have already visited the Unimart near the Gardens on your earlier recommendation. I had a wonderful time prowling around the shelves and pouncing on finds with glee. I have also been to the the one in Stafford Street where I bought a bamboo steamer to cook my shuumai. I also want to try making pork dumplings. The ones I bought at Sew Hoy's were great but it is a long trip home for frozen food.

I have been to the Happy Coins Mega in George Street but was focussed on '$2 treasures' for my grand-daughters so shall have to return in bento mode.

I shall visit the South Dunedin Asian Market next time I am in Dunedin.

During the 15 years I have lived in Central Otago there has been a gradual increase in Asian foods available in the local New World supermarkets. I can always buy sushi rice, nori, rice vinegar, mirin, wasabi, dried shiitaki, miso and occasionally dashi powder. They now stock inarizushi skins so I have had fun with sushi rice and 'eggs in treasure bags'. A local liquor store now stocks sake.

Queenstown has some good sources. The always wonderful Mediterranean Market has a good range and I buy my fueru wakame there. Apparently there is another shop in Queenstown which I have not yet visited but found when googling for kuzu in New Zealand.

When I returned to Wellington after living in Japan in 1980/81 there were very Japanese products available and my husband always had a shopping list when he went to Tokyo on business. Although many products became available in Wellington over time I suspect that Dunedin may offer more.

We have been travelling to Christchurch quite frequently -hence the shakeup we experienced recently- and I intend to explore Japanese ingredient availability there. We always travel the Mackenzie country route and have lunch at the Japanese restaurant in Tekapo. They have wonderful tempura. We buy fresh salmon near Twizel and rush it to our friends in Christchurch who are standing by with a sharp knife, wasabi, soy sauce and chopsticks for a sashimi feast.

Last night I fried poached 'tofu cutlets' for lunch today and am beginning to think about them when it is only mid-morning!

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 27 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese ingredients in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Happy Coins Mega has only had its grocery section for a short while, the back part used to be all $2 shop stuff. They seem to be gradually increasing their food stocks, so it might be worth while to keep visiting.

Do post about Chch shops. I usually get up there once a year for motorbike racing at the end of February. I stop by DressMart on my way home, but rarely go anywhere else unless for a specific purpose.

Trisha
Bento-ing from: › New Zealand
Joined: 1 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 12 weeks 1 day ago.
Re: Japanese ingredients in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I had a great time on my recent trip to Christchurch visiting a lot of Asian food shops. Most of them offer mainly Chinese and Korean foods but also include some Japanese goods. I found two areas where there is a small group of Asian shops, one large Asian warehouse and one shop specialising in Japanese foods. There are probably many more Asian food shops in Christchurch but I was concentrating on the city centre and the southern suburbs. Perhaps a Christchuch bentoist can add to this report.

The first set is at Church Corner Mall on Riccarton Road. A new mall has been built close by and the old mall is now mainly Asian food shops and restaurants. There are three shuffle-sideways-down-the-aisle type grocery shops with the usual wide range of noodles, soy sauces, tinned fruit and vegetables and a bewildering selection of spicy pastes and condiments. One had a good range of frozen dumplings and fish balls and also had frozen lotus root and edame beans. The refrigerated section had tofu, dumpling and gyoza skins. The largest shop, China Town Market, is accessed from the carpark and has a small range of crockery and cooking utensils as well as an in-shop bakery making dumplings, breads, buns and those heavenly little custard pies one gets at Chinese restaurants –only $1 each! What cruel temptation! All of the grocery shops have fresh fruit and vegetable sections with basic vegetables as well Asian specialities and a range of brassica stir fry type greens. There is also a stand alone bakery and a Chinese greengrocer. Although the goods are mainly Chinese I made a few useful purchases and had fun looking around. Well worth a visit Bronwyn, and not too far from DressSmart.

The second small enclave of shops is on Blenheim Road. There is a large Kosco Asian Supermarket, 227 Blenheim Road, with an Asian greengrocer next door and another Asian store in the same carpark area. The Kosco Supermarket gave me a calendar (perhaps a thankyou for extravagant spending ☺) that listed their other stores at Gloucester Street, Ilam, Papanui, and Shirley in Christchurch, the Asian Mart in Queenstown and the Unimart in Dunedin, which Bronwyn recommended. I didn’t visit the other stores but the Blenheim Road one is bigger than the Dunedin Unimart and includes a small bakery and lunch food counter. Once again one can pick out some useful Japanese cuisine or obento items from amongst the mainly Chinese products. I bought a great little 5 compartment sushi press for the type of sushi that is usually hand-formed and has a prawn, fish slice or tamagoyaki omlette on top. A cheat perhaps but it works brilliantly. Kosco also has a small range of crockery and cooking utensils and also some ongiri moulds.

One has to travel into the centre of town to reach the next shop. It is the Asian Food Warehouse at 300 Manchester Street. It is hiding behind the National Library and was not easy to find but well worth it when one does. It has a carpark at the back, which makes life a bit easier. This is, as it says, mainly a warehouse to supply the restaurant trade but allows retail sales. It includes a fresh produce section and a large frozen food selection including a wide range of dumplings, steam pork buns and fish balls as well as various Asian vegetables. The ceiling is high and the aisles are wide, which makes it less oppressive than many Asian grocery shops. Amongst all the Chinese and Korean foods there is a good range of Japanese foods. I bought soba noodles, two types of seaweed, some furikake, and a toasted sesame seed dressing, which I am enjoying on carrots and spinach. This shop also has a website for online purchases: http://www.asianfoodwarehouse.co.nz/

I saved the best until last!! Oh Joy! Kobe-ya at 172 Hereford Street is truly a Japanese grocery store with charming Japanese staff, who are patient and helpful when asked idiot gaijin questions. I bought a pack of mini bags of shaved bonito flakes, which will work well for my limited uses. I also succumbed to other purchases too numerous to mention. I will definitely return to this shop. I am guessing that each time I visit Christchurch from now on I shall have a Kobe-ya shopping list. Unfortunately this shop is near the city centre and is right on the edge of the worst earthquake damage zone where damaged buildings are being demolished. In fact the safety fencing has a small kink to allow access to Kobe-ya, and their window is currently boarded up as a safety measure. Parking of course is awful. But this is a must-visit for bentoists. Sorry, Bronwyn, but I think you need to venture into the depths of Christchurch to visit this shop.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 27 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese ingredients in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I think I need to go to go to Kobe-ya too. I'll put it on my list of things to do after the next Sound of Thunder in February. Hopefully they may have fixed things up a bit by then - you didn't notice if it's open on Saturdays did you? With any luck I can get dropped off and picked up!

Trisha
Bento-ing from: › New Zealand
Joined: 1 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 12 weeks 1 day ago.
Re: Japanese ingredients in Dunedin, New Zealand.

10 am to 6 pm seven days a week. Very civilised.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

New forum activity since your last visit

Titlesort iconAuthorAnswersLast Post
Sesame salad dressing Supertaster91 year 2 weeks ago
Authentic paella? maki101 year 3 weeks ago
IMPORTANT: If you have a blog on JustBento... maki21 year 6 weeks ago
Shiso - uses for this herb Loretta01 year 8 weeks ago
Fuki (Japanese Butterbur) Tsukemono Recipes kumo51 year 8 weeks ago