Chatswood Shopping: Where to Buy Asian GroceriesAsian supermarkets are supposed to be cramped, dimly-lit places populated by overstocked shelves so tall they block out the poorly placed fluorescent light that make everything in store - including the shoppers - seem pallid. A wander around Chatswood shows that this is not always the case.
Jusco Asian Supermarket & Butcher
(UPDATE: Jusco has relocated, location details shortly)
The aisles at Westfield's Jusco Asian Supermarket are more than a metre wide! So wide, in fact, that you can actually wheel a trolley down them without taking half the store with you.
All credit to Jusco for this brightly lit store, with each aisle separated into relevant categories that makes finding things a lot easier for the shopper. Non-food aisles, such as household goods, cutlery, crockery and stationery, are concentrated to the right as you walk in while the refrigerated and frozen goods can be found on the left in both upright and chest contraptions on the left.
My favourite sections of Jusco, however, are the tea and confectionery aisles in the middle. Here, battles such as 'World's Best American Ginseng Tea' versus 'Japanese Green Tea Brown Rice Genmaicha' take place and where the chocolate to biscuit ratios of Pocky and Hello Panda are discussed. I should also mention the expansive noodle racks and the sizeable beverage section.
You can buy pretty much any basic Asian grocery item here, and then some. Considerately, Jusco segregates the different types of 'Asian' into subcategories such as Korean and Japanese so that you can find what you're actually looking for within a cuisine. Or just feel free to browse and expand your palate.
Corner Albert Avenue & Victor Street
Another Asian supermarket that realises that modern fittings and lighting makes it more pleasant to shop. Miracle Supermarket, in the Mandarin Centre, is not as well set out as Jusco, but it does have the added benefit of being in a better location, on the ground floor and closer to the parking areas of the centre so you can buy your goods and then swiftly make off with them.
The range here is just as good as Jusco's and the price point is not much different. They have a small bakery section at the front and their confectionery area is more accessible, making it easier for patrons to flit in and check out if they're just after snacks for a movie, for example.
The area to the left of the entrance is given over to more serious Asian food but is less well organised than Jusco so unless you're a regular it may take a bit of time to find what you're after.
Other Asian Supermarkets
Catering for drop-in customers with a small parking lot and an enviable location is Goldmart. Goldmart sits on the corner of Help and Anderson Streets away from the main shopping strip to service the residential area to the north. They boast Korean, Japanese and Chinese products in store, even though there is really nothing notable about their range of goods compared with other Asian stores in the area. However, the convenience of being able to pop in for a packet of noodles without having to go through the trouble of wading through the road and pedestrian traffic of the CBD is surely a bonus for the weary neighbourhood Asian food fan.
Closer to the Asian supermarket stereotype is Asiana Supermarket, which is on the Orchard Road side of Lemon Grove Shopping Centre (427-441 Victoria Avenue). Cramped as it is, it generally offers basic Asian foodstuffs at lower prices than each of its bigger rivals. Without the range of either Jusco or Miracle, its accessibility is better suited to drop-in buys than a full shop.
Asian City in Victoria Plaza (369 Victoria Ave) is bigger than Asiana and lends itself to better shopping merely by its 'neighbourhood' with a butcher and a greengrocer on either side. However, it's a bit further away from parking or drop-off areas than the large supermarkets or Asiana so it's more of an effort to shop there, even though you'll be rewarded with good prices.