Asian ingredients in Milan: I got SPAM baby!

Korean spam!!!!

Where to find asian food ingredients in the big city of Milano? Italian food forums, food blogs and PappaMondo’s guidebooks are good places to start searching, but brief descriptions and lack of photos leave you wanting for more information. I’ve been working on narrowing down the multitude of addresses by visiting these suggested places and making note of which ones I think are worth a repeat visit. Milan is big and I have never gotten used to pounding the pavement, so those easy-to-get-to locations that offer more of what I need or something that nobody else carries are the shops that I’ll be returning to.

Daiwon

Daewon Alimentari Asiatici (asian food store)

Daewon shoppingI almost nixed Daewon because of the plain storefront. Blame it on my “bigger is better” american mentality but since I only have a couple of hours to track down addresses all over the city (via public transport), I start with suggestions from milanese cooks and for korean foods Daewon is one of them. The very clean location is stocked with dried noodles, bottled sauces, sauce mixes, condiments (kewpie mayo!), rice, nori, tteok rice cakes (gnocchi di riso in italian) in both tubular form and flat dried slices, snacks and korean SPAM! Manufactured in Korea for Hormel, the iconic blue & yellow tin does not come cheap at nearly 8 whopping euros a can. The refrigerated case had items such as takuan (sliced in flat pieces or whole) and korean banchan (preserved/pickled side dishes). What they DON’T have is the ready-made sauce to make kimchi – I asked. Apparently koreans wouldn’t be caught dead taking the easy way out and make their own from scratch.
Where: viale Sondrio 2, open from 10am-1pm and 3pm-7:30pm

International Foodstore

International Foodstore spree

One bus stop over from Daewon (on Via Tonale heading towards Centrale F.S.). This place has stuff from all over the globe spread out over its shelves, refrigerated section and freezer bins. I liked the small section of fresh produce (bok choy, long eggplant, cilantro, sitaw/long beans, lemon grass and okra) because they were so affordable at 1-2€ a bag. Indian, filipino, african and chinese ingredients are represented well enough, from frozen chicken feet, won ton wrappers and dimsum in the freezers, to boxed puto mix, Mama Sita’s seasoning packets and TRS brand spices on the shelves. Lucky Me! instant noodles at only 10 for 2.50€! For a full description of my stash click on the image.
Where: on the corner of via Giovanni Battista Sammartini and via Tonale, just around the corner and a short walk from Centrale F.S.

Manna Market

Manna market shopping spree

The location is a bit out of the way if you prefer places directly on the bus or metro line, but the modest selection of mainly japanese goods is worth a look especially if you’re nuts for taiyaki (the cute fish-shaped cakes filled with sweetened azuki bean paste) but don’t own the special pan to make them. I also found okonomiyaki sauce (Otafuku brand) and prepackaged flour mix for making this crazy-delicious “pancake“. For a full description of the stash, click on the image.
Where: via Giovanni Pascoli 3, open from 10am-1pm and 3pm to 8pm

Zen Market

Zen Market order

If there’s no time to go into the city then how about delivery to your doorstep? I came across this online store and ordered a few things to see how reliable the service was. They were up to speed. The e-shop has a good list of key ingredients and other non-food items but no fresh/frozen offerings. Some customers have complained about the delivery fee (10€), but this can be easily offset if you make a larger order. You can also avoid the fee by picking up in person. It costs us more than 10€ to get to and run around Milan, and shopping in your pajamas? Why not? Site: http://www.zenmarket.biz/eshop/

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