London is famously a melting pot of different cultures, and that shows itself in the huge range of culinary treats you can find across the city. It’s easy to feel a little homesick when you first arrive at university, and sometimes having some food from home can be a comfort. Cooking a traditional and authentic dish from home for your flatmates is also a great way to share your culture with them. This article lists just 8 of the best international supermarkets in London – but you really won’t have to go far in this city to find whatever ingredients you might be looking for.
So whether you’re looking for something niche or specific, or you simply want a taste of home, wherever that might be, these are some of the best international supermarkets in London you might want to try.
Loon Fung Supermarket | Chinatown
What better place to start the search for some of the best international supermarkets in London than Chinatown? At Loon Fung, you can find specialist East Asian ingredients stacked high.
This is a popular Chinese and East Asian mini market where you’ll find any authentic ingredient you can imagine piled high on the shop floor and ready for you to take home with you for cooking a delicious Chinese meal. There’s a huge selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices – think pak choi, Chinese enoki mushrooms and even galangal. Alongside all the essentials (noodles, rice, Sichuan peppercorns etc), you’ll find things like mochi balls in lots of flavours and both firm and silken tofu in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.
As well as fresh food and other ingredients, Loon Fung also has a huge range of cookware on offer including lots of speciality Chinese and Asian cookware. Think sushi rolling mats, tea sets and bamboo steamers. The queues are long here – which can only be a good sign.
Where to find it? Chinatown, 42-44 Gerrard Street, W1D 5QG.
Huy Minh Supermarket | Hackney
Hackney, being close to Kingsland Road in Hoxton, has a great selection of Vietnamese restaurants to choose from. So, it’s no surprise that there are Vietnamese supermarkets and markets dotted around everywhere.
You’ll find Huy Minh Supermarket in London Fields, and it’s completely kitted out with the best Vietnamese ingredients you can find. So if you fancy making a big pot of rau ngót or a traditional phở for your flatmates, this is the perfect shop to come to for all the essentials you might need.
Where to find it? Hackney, 185 Mare Street E8 3QE. The nearest station is London Fields.
R.Garcia and Sons | Notting Hill
This is an authentic and family-run Spanish deli that’s been around since 1957. Its busy Portobello Road location means it’s always bustling and there’s a great atmosphere in the store. It’s small but mighty, being stuffed to the gills with everything you could possibly imagine for any Spanish dish.
You’ll find the Spanish cheeses at the deli counter. There’s Mahón which is a Balearic cow’s milk cheese, or a Idiázabel which is a Basque sheep’s milk cheese. Their most popular choice is their Manchego cheese. If you’re polite, they might even give you a little taster to try. This probably isn’t the best place for vegetarians… When you enter the shop you are hit with the smell of all the cured meats at the counter. There’s morcilla, jamón iberico and of course chorizo, at this deli.
The shelves are tightly packed with colourful cans of sardines and other tinned seafood. If you’re looking for the best Spanish ingredients in town, this place will have you covered with their range of paella rice and their fridges are filled with treats like churros and corn tortillas. So if you’re cooking a big Spanish dish for your flatmates, this place will have everything you need all in one place.
Where to find it? Notting hill, 248-250 Portobello Road, W11 1LL.
New South Harrow Food and Wine | Harrow
Sri Lanka offers deeply fragrant interpretations of southern Asian cuisine, with flavours, colourful dishes and varying textures that feed all the senses. Sri Lankan food is usually full of warm flavours like cardamon, cinnamon, pepper and cooled down with coconut, papaya, pineapple and mango. There are Sri Lankan restaurants popping up all across London, and with that, follow the Sri Lankan shops and supermarkets – lucky us.
Northolt Road in Harrow is jam packed with Sri Lankan and Tamil grocers, takeaway shops and restaurants, and really is the place to come if you’re looking to find Sri Lankan produce in London. You can wander through the streets covered in the market stalls, then there are the streets where every shop is selling saris and traditional attire and jewellery.
While all the Asian supermarkets in this area are worth a visit, the New South Harrow Food and Wine store is one of the largest options. It’s a huge Sri Lankan supermarket that’s been open since 1997. They have anything you could ever imagine here for an authentic Sri Lankan dish from tinned essentials, to palmyrah cream and the pungent small dried maldive fish that you often find in Sri Lankan cuisine. Even if you aren’t much of a chef, you can come here to try something from the takeaway counter.
Where to find it? 234–236 Northolt Road, South Harrow, Harrow, HA2 8DU. The nearest station is South Harrow.
Japan Centre | London
This is our only chain store on the list. While smaller, independent, family-run shops often seem more appealing because of their authenticity, Japan Centre is probably one of the best international supermarkets in London. That’s because of the huge choice of Japanese wares sold here.
Japan Centre have their fridges and freezers full of gyoza, sushi fish, the best miso and much more. As well as food, the stores also sell DIY kits to make your own sushi or even sake from home. There are also Japanese lifestyle products – things for the kitchen, around the home, and even manga books and magazines on display.
So from well-known Japanese kitchen staples like miso and rice to freshly baked goods and matcha tea, you should be able to find everything you need here. There are over 3,000 products on sale in these stores and if you’re not sure what to make at home, the Japan Centre website has a few recipes to get you started.
Where to find it? You’ll find Japan Centre in a few locations across London. Try the Leicester Square branch which is their flagship store or the one at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford.
Green Valley | Marble Arch
If you’re Lebanese or just love Lebanese food, make sure you take the time to pop into the Lebanese food hall in the Marble Arch area. Not strictly Lebanese, they sell a whole host of Middle-Eastern treats that all need to be tried. Find spices and herbs like za’atar and ajwain as well as daily freshly-baked flatbreads and pittas, perfect for putting together a shawarma at home. At the mezze counter, you’ll find fresh sambousek which are traditional Lebanese meat pies, along with tabbouleh and of course falafel.
When you enter this store, you might even be greeted with a piece of baklava to try before you buy. The dessert section here is particularly worth the trip as they have everything from that syrupy baklava to massive pans of kunafa and nabulsia which are types of Middle-Eastern cheesecake. This shop is also famous for their mushabak which are deep-fried batter rings covered in a sweet and tangy syrup.
Where to find it? Marble Arch, 36-37 Upper Berkeley Street, W1H 5QF.
Mestizo Mexican Market | Camden
Found on Hampstead Road, linking central London with Camden, this Mexican market is a hidden gem. There’s a real carnival atmosphere as soon as you enter the store – it’s filled with music, colour and authentic Latin American food and ingredients.
The owners also run a restaurant and tequila bar called Mestizo which is a popular spot that’s difficult to get a table at. Inside the shop, you’ll find some of the same mezcal and tequila they serve at the restaurant. One of their best sellers is their artisan corn tortillas.
Where to find it? Camden, 101 Hampstead Rd, NW1 3EL.
Thai Smile | Hammersmith
For anyone who loves Thai food (and who doesn’t?), Thai Smile in Hammersmith is definitely worth a visit. They of course do all the classics and essentials to a Thai meal like jasmine rice and fish sauces. They also store quite a lot of other Asian cuisine ingredients for Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese food. So, if you grew up in an Asian country and you want a taste of home, this might be a good place to stop next time you’re in the Hammersmith area.
They sell all the familiar brands you might recognise like Chao Koh and Aroy-D. There’s also a shelf full of Thai recipe books and magazines as well as Thai sweets and chocolate bars. There’s even Thai wine on offer here to enjoy with whatever Thai dish you knock up a home.
Where to find it? 283-287 King Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9NH. The nearest stations are Latimer Road and Hammersmith.