This is a list of shops that I go to here in Athens, to buy my many weird and difficult non-local produce. And, I have added the one shop I usually go to while I am in Thessaloniki.
- Soya Athens: Apollonos 33-35, Athens. For everything Japanese. It’s smack right in the city centre, near the Mitropoleos church.
- Salamat: Korinthias 24, Ambelokipi. It’s a diverse Asian grocery store – Japanese, Thai, Indian, you name it. The staff is very helpful too, so don’t be shy to ask for tips and the occasional ‘What can you make with this?’
- Wokshop: Elaion 35, Kifissia. Another Asian grocery store/supermarket with diverse products. I come here mostly because it’s easy closer to home.
- Dong Fang Chinese Market: Leonidou 25, Athens. They don’t have a website (just a Foursquare page) but that is of no concern – they have a variety of products. I always come here for the fresh vegetables and tofu. It’s a walk from Metaxourgeio Metro Station, but ach, the things I go through for fresh bean sprouts and tofu.
- Kosmas Delicatessen: Vasileos Irakleiou 26, Thessaloniki. The first place I ever went to buy fresh lemongrass from, when I was here in Greece. (2001! First visit.) Its been a favourite of mine, sometimes I can find fresh coriander and blueberries. It doesn’t cater specifically for Asian produce, but you can find noodles and bottled sauces. They have a great choice of cheeses, though, and great Waitrose imports!
- Oporopoleio To Periboli: Leof. Pentelis 60, Athens. It’s a greengrocers, and this is where I go to buy coriander and difficult to find fruits and vegetables, like blueberries and parsnips. No harm in asking, and if you live nearby, they will even deliver right to your door.
- Farmer S: Korinthias 22, Ambelokipi. This shop is 2 stores down (or up) from Salamat. I go there for kangkung, pak choi and other hard-to-get fresh vegetables that are seasonal. They always have a good stock of fresh chillies! They also stock other Filipino groceries.
- Cakes by Samantha: Hvis 11, Metamorfosi. For those who love baking, they have everything you will need here. Cookie cutters, sugarpastes, edible glitter and food colourings, and cupcake boxes and cake bases can be found here. They have an online shop too, just click on the link that you find on the first/main page.
*I have more that I will add here – I need to get the exact addresses and names first. I can’t really say ‘turn right at this bus stop near the café with the green chairs and then walk 20 steps and you can see the shop at the corner of your left eye on the other side of the plaza’ right?
For those wanting to buy Greek products but unable to find them where you live? Try Yoleni’s. They deliver everywhere, and they have an extensive choice of products!
Some ingredients I use are quite difficult to get in certain places – pandan leaves may be in abundance in South East Asia, as are durian and bean sprouts, but they are quite difficult to find here in Greece. The same goes for vine leaves in Malaysia. So this is a helpful reference for everyone to check out if they want to know more about the ingredients that I usually use in my cooking (like how they look and/or links to Wikipedia for more details.)
Read about how to prepare the banana blossom/flower here.