A Definitive Ranking of Canberra’s Asian Supermarkets

Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of Canberra’s Asian Supermarkets, I’ve mostly focused on stores in the inner north for ease of access, but there are plenty more out there. The opinions expressed below are my own.

Art by Yige Xu

As a snack lover and a terrible cook of all my favourite foods, I am sure you can understand my need for a good Asian supermarket. Although Canberra doesn’t boast the kind of diversity in cuisine that Sydney or Melbourne does, as the city has grown we’ve thankfully gained access to more international food. With an influx of supermarkets it can be difficult to know where to go and which stores offer what kind of food. How can we know which Asian Supermarkets are good? Fear not my friends, I am here to help with my guide to the best Asian Supermarkets in Canberra.

To better get a feel of the Asian Supermarkets we have in our beautiful bush capital, I’ve sorted the stores into a short list of the top five, featuring honourable mentions as well. My rankings are based on how accessible the stores are, the range of food they carry and finally whether they have basics like toiletries, fresh veggies/fruit, and snacks. Dear reader, you are welcome to disagree with my list but without further ado, let’s dive right in.

First up are the honourable mentions. I highly recommend visiting many of these stores, but they didn’t beat out my top picks. This was generally because they lacked range or were less accessible. In the city, the two stores that didn’t make it onto my list were Daily Market on Childers St and All In One located on Alinga St. In Dickson, Saigon Asian Grocery, Abuy, Panda Fresh Mart and Deji Asian Supermarket fell short, but Dickson is still a great spot because of its high density of Asian Supermarkets, so if you can’t find something you need in one, there is always another shop to go to. In Belconnen, UC Supermarket, Asian Super Grocery, Apna Indian Bazaar and Angkor What missed out by a slim margin, but are all diverse in the range of foods they offer and similarly to Dickson, if you can’t find something in one, you might just find it in another. But now onto our top five:

5. Bharat International
Located a little way from the heart of Belconnen in Oatley court, Bharat International, is a maze-like store, stocked to the brim with food from all over the Indian subcontinent. Although its cramped aisles may make for a claustrophobic experience, the supermarket carries a huge variety of frozen and ready to eat meals. And that’s not even the best part – their house-made Indian sweets are to die for! Succulent desserts like Jalebi are made fresh and in a quantity which allows you to buy as much as you like.

4. Mega Asian Supermarket
Mega Asian can be found in the centre of Dickson. Tucked in between an Ali Baba and a Zambrero, this compact supermarket boasts a wide variety of Japanese cooking basics, a well-stocked drinks and snacks aisle and a large range of dried spices and veggies. They also have a delicious range of dai-fuku, to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. If you’re looking to try your hand at sushi or recreate your favourite ramen dish, then this is the place to get your ingredients.

3. Daily Market in Kambri
Third on my list is Daily Market. This supermarket ranks this high not only because it’s the most accessible for the ANU community, but it’s also got absolutely every item you could ever need, from picnicware, to niche Chinese jellies, to fresh fruits and ready-made meals. If you’re in need of a quick snack while studying, whether healthy or not, then Daily Market is the place to be. And all that without even mentioning their relatively good alcohol section and the massive drinks fridge. If you’ve spent any time at ANU and you haven’t been to Daily Market, what are you even doing?

2. Bestore Asian Supermarket
Heading a bit further afield we’ll go to Bestore, located in Mitchell. Bestore ranks highly because it is by far the largest store on this list and this size allows it to have a larger range of fresh vegetables and an in-house butcher for fresh meat cuts. Although Bestore is a Korean specialty store, it’s sheer size and range means that you get a lot of variety within the products that they have. No matter if you want to save a bit of money and have at home k-bbq or try your hand at cooking some more traditional Korean recipes, Bestore has it all. They even offer memberships. The only downside is the far-off location.

1. Emart Asian Supermarket
Located in No Name Lane in the city, Emart is another Korean specialty store and by far one of the busiest Asian supermarkets I’ve visited in Canberra. Its central location, roomy size and range of products set it apart from the others. Emart has an entire aisle dedicated to different types of seaweed; boasts some beautiful, big, king oyster mushrooms and has a tiny back corner holding alcohols such as makgeolli (a type of beer brewed from rice) and Korean plum liquor, something I’ve not seen in Canberra elsewhere. It’s popular for a reason and well worth the visit. The shelves are always well stocked, and this combined with all the reasons above distinguishes Emart as the best Asian supermarket in Canberra.