July 5, 2011

Asian Markets

Expanding your palate beyond continental American food helps to ensure that you will be able to maintain a vegan diet. Asian cuisines tend to be particularly vegan-friendly. American supermarkets sometimes have an "international" section with exotic sauces and ingredients, but the prices are very high. I make special trips to go to Asian supermarkets, to get ingredients on the cheap.

Here are some foods that can be found for much cheaper (up to about 75% less) in an Asian supermarket:
Tofu (and bean curd in various other forms), soy milk, soy sauce, sesame oil, sauces, nori sheets, rices, noodles, and fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs (including exotic ones like bean sprouts, bok choy, mushrooms, lotus root, lychee, ginger). One caveat is that you will probably not find anything organic. I think I may have seen organic tofu once, but that was it.

Tips for shopping in an Asian market:
  • When buying packaged foods, check all labels carefully. Stir-fry sauce might contain oyster flavoring, or Thai curry paste might contain shrimp. Also, watch out for an ingredient named "bonito" which is fish.
  • You might want to avoid walking by the fish and meat areas. Unlike American markets, a lot of whole animal bodies (cooked, raw, and still alive) may be in plain sight.

Places to shop in NYC:

Chinatown (4, 5, 6, N, R, Q, J, Z trains to Canal Street) - Several stores within a 5 block radius of the trains, along Canal Street.
Flushing (7 train to Main Street) - Several stores within a 4 block radius of the train, both along Main Street as well as on the side streets.
Elmhurst (M, R trains to Elmhurst Avenue) - Several stores within 5 blocks of the train. Two are on 45th Avenue (across the street from the park) and there are more up Broadway toward the hospital.

Do you shop at international markets? What foods do you buy?

Vegan on a Shoestring

No comments:

Post a Comment