Yugi Shoten
Photo: Yuki Nakamura

Best Asian grocers and supermarkets in Tokyo

Where to get imported groceries from India, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Iran and more

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors
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As a city bursting with Michelin stars and filled with fantastic restaurants for every budget from cheap eats to multi-course kaiseki, Tokyo is, without a doubt, one of the best food cities in the world. There are endless options for you to eat out any time, any day.

Sometimes, however, all you want is a taste of home and when that craving strikes, you should hit up the ethnic grocers for ingredients that are hard to come by at the regular supermarkets. So if you’re after Indian spices for a rogan josh curry, fragrant herbs for a spicy Thai tom yum, or halal meat, head to one of these ethnic grocers to stock up on imported ingredients from your home country – and perhaps for some cooking inspiration as well.

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Excellent ethnic grocers

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  • Okubo

Tokyo's Middle Eastern and South Asian establishments seem to have converged on this unlikely back alley near Shin-Okubo Station. Green Nasco sits alongside a mosque and kebab shop, while you'll find half a dozen other similar stores in the immediate surroundings. The shop stocks an excellent range of spices from Pakistan and India, as well as halal meat including chicken and mutton (both imported), and beef from Hokkaido.

Nikko Asia Shokuhin
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  • Ikebukuro

If you’re looking to recreate Taiwanese cuisine at home, head to Nikko Asia Shokuhin no Shokuzai, a vast emporium spanning several floors of the Ryuzaki Buildingin in Ikebukuro. Dabble in the selection of Taiwanese seasonings – including soy sauce plus white and red sufu (fermented bean curd) – or pick up dried ingredients such as snow fungus, chenpi (sun-dried tangerine peel) and noodles.

Don't fill up your basket too soon, though: the third floor is home to a range of essential Taiwanese vegetables, including orange daylily, Oriental chives and wild rice. And if that's not enough, you’ll also find chicken thighs, pigs' trotters, various innards, mandarin rolls, steamed dumplings, frozen dim sum, Chinese tea, and more.

Tip: to locate this grocer on Google Maps, search for ‘日光池袋店’.

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Thailand
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  • Kinshicho

In case the name wasn't a big enough hint, Thailand stocks a range of essential Thai ingredients, including long coriander, stink beans, herbs, vegetables and various seasonings. As an added bonus, you can finish your shopping with a bowl of noodle soup at the small restaurant on the premises, frequented by Thai locals who come to gossip with the owner.

Yugi Shoten
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  • Ikebukuro

This fourth-floor superstore stocks a vast selection of Chinese produce, including fruit and veg, fresh fish, frozen food, seasonings, spirits, dried food, confectionery and more. Prices are written in Chinese and most of the clientele seem to hail from the country themselves. Favourites here include the range of shop-made side dishes, such as pigs' trotters and pigs' ears stewed in soy sauce. Yugi Shoten no Shokuzai can be found a short walk from the north exit of Ikebukuro Station.

Tip: search for Youyi Asian Market on Google Maps.

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  • Asakusa

If you’re in need of ghee, fresh curry leaves or Indian spices, Ambika is the place to go. This neat, clean and well-loved Indian grocery shop caters especially to vegetarians. There’s a wide range of lentils, nuts, beans, rice and frozen vegetables for sale – and at much cheaper prices and larger sizes than regular supermarkets in Tokyo. Plus, you’ll also find fresh Indian vegetables, seasonal fruit (eg, Chaunsa mangoes) and ready-to-eat curries. The helpful staff, affordable prices and quality products will keep you coming back – even though the shop is a little out of the way from the city centre. Nevertheless, Ambika has an online shop with delivery service.

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  • Okubo

At this small but jam-packed grocery store in Shinjuku, you can find all the pantry essentials for creating the flavourful dishes of Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisines like satay chicken skewers, spicy beef rendang and nasi goreng (fried rice). Located in a backstreet of Okubo, a neighbourhood known for its wide variety of Asian grocers, the small store sells a range of fresh herbs, spices, curry pastes, condiments and halal meats. You’ll be able to pick up otherwise hard-to-find ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves, sambal oelek (chilli paste), tempeh, kicap manis, shrimp paste, and the highly sought after Indomie instant noodles. 

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Darvish
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  • Bakurocho

Iranian cuisine is a comparatively rare sight in Tokyo, but stray down the right Kodenmacho backstreet and you'll stumble across Darvish. Run by a friendly chap known as Uncle Hasan, this shop stocks fragrant rose jam, rose water, dried fruits (including lemons, figs and dates), nuts and various different types of Iranian honey. The owner is so friendly, in fact, that he may even offer to show you how to enjoy a cup of chai, prepared in the traditional Persian style.

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  • Shin-Okubo

If it's Thai products you're after, you could do a lot worse than Asia Super Store – and we're talking about more than just food. Stocks include Thai chilli, lemongrass, banana leaves, bai teuy (screwpine leaves), seasonings and confectionery, but also Thai magazines, shampoo, soap, wooden mortars and bowls for making tom yum soup.

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Fuji Store
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  • Okubo

Fuji Store specialises in food from one of Southeast Asia's more under-represented countries: Myanmar. Take your pick from popular products including lahpet (a type of fermented tea regarded as a Burmese national delicacy), savoury deep-fried mixed nuts and Myanmar-made tobacco.

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