Where to Find Asian Ingredients in Dubai {And a Free Map}

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Looking for Asian ingredients in Dubai to make authentic Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, or Korean homemade meals? I’ve compiled a map of all the specialty grocery stores in Dubai that stock Asian ingredients. 

Tip: If you are looking for something specific and possibly obscure, find a few photos of it and save them on your phone. Google is a great place to search for images. Many of the shop assistants (especially in the Chinese stores) don’t speak English.


My parents and I were born in Vietnam but our ancestry is Chinese. So growing up, my mom prepared a mix of homemade Chinese and Vietnamese dishes every night. And growing up in New York City, there was no shortage of Asian restaurants like Korean, Thai, etc.

Since moving to Dubai in 2007, I’m always on the lookout for specialty Asian stores as well as for the Asian ingredients aisle in Western grocery stores to make my own homemade dishes.

I’ve compiled all the Asian specialty stores that I know of in a Google map. Sign up below to gain access to the map:

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Online Shopping

Lots of ingredients can now be purchased online at Amazon AE like teriyaki glaze, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Kewpie dressing, organic noodles, jasmine rice and more.

If you sign up for Amazon Prime UAE, you get free shipping on items shipped via Amazon UAE  and you also get free international delivery on items sold via the Amazon Global store. Plus you have access to Amazon Prime Video which is like Netflix. There is a one-month free trial so check it out.

Amazon Prime UAE

Vietnamese Products

I have not found Vietnamese fish sauce in Dubai but a great substitute is Squid brand fish sauce from Thailand. The Philippines also export their own fish sauce but it’s quite different from Vietnamese. I can usually find Squid fish sauce in the larger hypermarkets like LuLu’s or Carrefour.  For fresh Vietnamese herbs like Vietnamese coriander (also knowns as “ngo gai” or recao), try Thai Smile in Al Quoz and their Karama branch.  Fo Asian/Thai basil, this is usually stocked at Park ‘n Shop: sometimes at the Al Wasl branch but almost always at their DIP branch. Sometimes also can be ordered online at Kibson’s.

I love using Vietnamese coriander in this simple sweet and sour soup adapted from my mom’s recipe.

For summer rolls, rice paper wrappers in large and small sizes can be found sporadically at most supermarkets and almost always at 1004 Mart, the Korean grocery store in Al Barsha.

For fried Vietnamese spring rolls, you can get square-sized wrappers in the freezer section of almost all regular grocery stores – usually by the shortcrust pastry and samosa wrappers.


 

Thai Products

Thai Smile in Al Quoz and Karama stocks a lot of Thai products. They have fresh herbs and also make their own curries and will sometimes have fresh durian.

Thai basil can be found almost always at the Park and Shop DIP and sometimes also can be ordered online at Kibson’s.

TIP: If you find fresh Thai basil, you can easily root the stems in water and grow your own plants in your garden. I’ve had Thai basil year round in my garden because one year, I rooted the stems, grew a bunch of plants, and then saved the seeds so that I can grow more plants every season.

During the cooler months, the Royal Thai Consulate in Um Suquiem by Raffles School has hosted weekend markets where they sell lots of Thai produce like fresh vegetables, herbs and locally made Thai food that you can pre-order. For more information visit the Royal Thai Consulate Facebook page and also check out this post I wrote about my experience at the market.

Thai Consulate

 

Korean Products

There are a few Korean grocery stores in Dubai – Hanarum by the Karama post office, A-Mart on Sheikh Zayed Road by Safa Park.

There is also 1004 Mart in the Greens which has an wide variety of products. They used to be located in Barsha in what is now called Family Mart. 1004 Mart stocks many Korean products but also other Asian products like Vietnamese rice paper, Japanese rice and sauces, miso, pandan leaves, dumpling wrappers, and much more. They also have a meat section where you can buy Korean short ribs.

In Barsha, there is Family Mart by Al Khoory hotel apartments.

Filipino Products

Because there is a large population of Filipino expats in Dubai, every grocery store will carry a good selection of Filipino products but the hypermarkets will have the best selection and variety.

My Filipino friends often point me to West Zone for certain pork products like Longanisa (usually frozen).


 

Japanese Products

Again, the Korean markets mentioned above stock quite a lot of Japanese products.

Two great specialty stores for Japanese food and products in Dubai are Dean’s Fujiya by Lamcy Plaza and Gurumeya by DIFC.  Dean’s also owns the adjacent sushi restaurant so you can shop and dine at the same time.

LuLu’s hypermarket Al Barsha often stocks gyoza wrappers and wonton wrappers and lots of different tofu – all by the refrigerated section kind of near the fresh eggs.

Waitrose (Marina and Al Thanya) has a small frozen section that sells Japanese gyoza wrappers, fish cakes and other stuff that I have no idea what they are. They also have a good selection of dried goods to make sushi (like short grain rice, seaweed, wasabi, picked ginger, spicy mayo, Kikkoman soy sauce), miso soup and soup stock (dashi, kombu).

All the other grocery stores (Geant, Carrefour, Choithram’s, Al Maya, West Zone) also have random stocks of Japanese products.


 

Chinese Products

These days, if you are looking for Chinese groceries in Dubai, I find that it’s no longer necessary to drive all the way to International City for the Chinese supermarkets. In Al Barsha, there is one Chinese supermarket (called Wan JiaLe) across from LuLu’s Hypermarket and 1004 Mart also stocks many Chinese products.

Many of the larger hypermarkets will also have Bok Choy, Napa Cabbage, and I have even seen garlic chives at Waitrose with the other fresh herbs (though once in a blue moon).

Wan JiaLe Chinese grocery store in Al Barsha
Chinese Grocery Store in Al Barsha

Chinese Grocery Stores in International City

There are four main ones: Le Jia Jia, Phoenix, Tyan Yee (which was the old Phoenix location at China Cluster B01), and Wenzhou as well as smaller ones in the same general area and one that even stocks locally grown organic produce (at China Cluster B04).

chinese markets in international city dubai
Left: Le Jia Jia (2008 photo); Right: Phoenix (2011 photo)

At Phoenix market, I’ve picked up many of the food items that I usually bring back from NYC to Dubai such as Chinese sausages, rice noodles, egg noodles, marinades and sauces. They had many, many – oh! so many – things that made a Chinese-food-deprived girl like me quite happy.

I could even have bought a vacuum-packed Peking duck (see lower-right of photo below) and black-feathered chickens. They even have packaged jellyfish – sounds weird to a lot of you, I know, but yum to me!

Chinese Food Items - Dubai grocery store
Chinese Food Items

The vegetable and fruit section had some lovely garlic chives (top-left in photo below) that can only be found in specialty markets like this and the Thai groceries. Garlic chives are so versatile and are just great in dumplings, Vietnamese Spring rolls, stir-fries, for soup garnishes, and many other things. Raw or cooked, the mild garlicky taste of these chives are just wonderful and can’t be substituted properly by anything else. Regular chives? No way.

A bundle of garlic chives cost me about 7 or 8 dhs. I love these chives so much I bought all the ones you see below. Haha – just kidding! I only bought one bunch and they lasted me (I kind you not) nearly a month in my vegetable drawer which is amazing considering how fast food tends to spoil here (like within days).

Chinese Vegetables and Spices - Dubai grocery store
Chinese Vegetables and Spices

I also picked up a packet of salted eggs and a packet of century eggs. I usually use the in my rice congee.

Chinese Salted and Century Eggs - Dubai grocery store
Left: Salted Eggs; Right: Century Eggs

Wen Zhou Supermarket also has many food items similar in selection to Phoenix. Both markets have a pork section.

Wen Zhou Supermarket Dubai - Dubai Chinese grocery store
Wen Zhou Supermarket

I can’t read Chinese so didn’t know what many of the things were but I can tell you that the photo below contains pork sausages (great for fried rice!), seaweed, and an assortment of fishballs and meatballs – all Chinese style of course.

Wen Zhou food items - Dubai Chinese grocery store
Wen Zhou food items

My son, Wee Scotch, decided to surreptitiously help with the shopping by throwing items into the cart when I wasn’t looking. Upon arriving home, I found mystery items like beef jerky, preserved vegetables, and candy in my shopping bag – at least they were things I liked and could use. He could have thrown in something like pigs ears or stinky tofu – then I would have been totally confounded.

Chinese grocery store in Dubai International City
Wee Scotch helping with the shopping

One thing that I will continue to transport from NYC would be dried Chinese mushrooms. The quality that I saw in the stores here in Dubai still leave much to be desired.

For access to my Google maps pinpointing all the Asian grocery stores mentioned in this post, please signup below to receive the link:

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If there are any other Asian shops that I have missed, please let me know by commenting below or dropping me an email at sandy {at} gingerandscotch {dot} com. Thanks!

Also check out my other Dubai post on “Where to Find the Haberdashery Shops in Dubai” (includes a free map and suggested walking itinerary).

This post was originally published on May 4, 2008 and last updated April 20, 2020.

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108 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for this nice post.

    Do you know where can I find Lao Gan Ma Sauce in Dubai or Sharjah?

    Thanks and regards,

    Fai

    1. Hi Rinu, the only place I’ve seen culantro lately (other than my garden) is the Thai supermarket called “Thai Smile”. There is a branch in Karama and one in Al Quoz. Both are on my map and you can also find them in Google Maps. Please call the store first to check for availability as they only get fresh deliveries once a week and can run out fast. They are cash only.

  2. Hi chi, thanks for ur useful info. Im looking for the wider size rice noodles to cook Bun Bo. Have u ever seen it in dubai ?! ?

    1. Hi! Do you mean noodles for Bun Bo Hue? The ones that are as thick as spaghetti noodles #7? I haven’t seen them sold here so I bring from the U.S. when I visit my parents. I will let you know if I ever spot any in Dubai.

  3. Hi Sandy

    I wrote to a couple of years back asking you from where I coups purchase Chinese shaoxing wine for cooking.

    Happy to tell you I found some in the liquor store in umm al quwain.

    1. Oh that is great news! I still bring mine back from the US but will check out the UAQ liquor store as well. Is it Baracuda or the other one?

    1. I can usually find the rice paper wrappers in Choithrams (the one in the Greens almost always has) and occasionally in a big Spinneys/Waitrose. Failing that, the Chinese supermarket in Barsha across from Lulu’s would have as well as the Korean supermarket in the Greens.

  4. Hi Sandy, thank you for putting this together!! I will definitely visit these stores to see what they sell.

    Did you happen to run into any Indonesian stores? I’ve heard about the Indonesian Food Corner but i’m wondering if there any others you know of.

    I’m looking for the spice mixes.

    1. You can buy it in Westzone, but I think they only sell it on particular days and when it’s on display, it’ll most probably be gone in a few minutes.

  5. Thanks for sharing the great info. I knew only about the Carrefour supermarkets in Dubai for Asian and international food. Carrefour has essentially everything for my family. We go there once every month for bulk shopping, Finding pork was the biggest dilemma. Now I know where to hunt for it, thanks to this detailed blog.

  6. Thank you for this lovely post. As someone who grew up loving Asian Cuisine, I’m a Filipino, I find it hard to find authentic good Chinese, Japanese and Korea ingredients. Thank you for this compilation. Now I know where to buy stuffs whenever I’m craving from some good ramen, kimchi, century eggs and etc. By any chance, do you know if those Chinese/Korean groceries sells Lotus Roots, Ginseng, Bakkwa and chili paste? Thank you.

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I’ve seen crab balls at the Chinese supermarket in Barsha called Wan Jiale, across the street from LuLu’s hypermarket. Their phone is 04 286 7166 and they open 8am every day and close quite late at 1am.

  7. Hi dear, I was wondering does Queen saba have an exact address , it is in AL karama fish market?
    also Im currently looking for pandan leaves , thai basil and garlic chives and laksa leaves..

    will I be able to find them all in queen saba?