Do you enjoy cooking with tempeh and tofu? What about taro? Do you use a lot of bean curd skins in your kitchen? If yes is your answer, you will adore this supermarket in central London brimming with ingredients from Korea, Thailand, Japan and countries across Asia.
On a recent ramble along Queensway, a bustling street springing from the northern side of Hyde Park, I was delighted to see a shop front emblazoned with the words Oriental Supermarket. Well, I was delighted by the idea of the food inside but slightly confronted by the use of the word oriental. It always strikes me as an old-fashioned term used to frame entire cultures as mysterious and intoxicating.
But you didn’t come here for pseudo-sociology, so let me crack on with vegan food talk.
This place is a haven for ingredients and is definitely the largest grocery store in central London selling Asian products I have seen. I know there are the Wing Yip mega stores outside the city, but this Costcutter (I know, bizarre) is surely the most comprehensive in zone 1.
The shelves are packed with bulk spices, pre-made sauces, biscuits, sweets, fruit, vegetables, and frozen goods, while there is even a bubble tea counter in one corner of the store. I was blown away by these giant frozen tempeh blocks shown below.
I was able to get out with just one bag of groceries, although I could have easily left with triple that amount if I wasn’t traveling by bicycle. The ready-to-eat spiced tofu was especially delicious and was put to good use with the chow mein sauce for a meal to remember. Josh also made some incredible fried dumplings with the frozen skins I picked up. The photo of the finished dish is below the pic of my shopping haul.
Costcutter Oriental Supermarket is located at 28 Queensway, only a one minute walk from either Queensway or Bayswater Underground stations.