Exotic ingredients

from far-away lands—within easy driving distance

Nancy J. Parisi

Here’s a selective listings of Western New York’s Asian markets. If you’ve never visited these, you should at least try one or two; they’ve got the ingredients for those delicious dishes you’ve enjoyed in local restaurants and have always wanted to try making yourself.

A'chau Oriental Food Market

833 Niagara St., Buffalo, 882-3867
A’Chau is the crème de le crème of Buffalo’s Asian markets. It carries products from all over Asia, including Laos, Cambodia, Korea, Thailand, China and Japan. Bright and shiny, neat and tidy, A’Chau is full of prepared and packaged items like its cousins, but the produce available here is overwhelming. The selection is lush and inexpensive. Pick up miniature bok choy (only 99¢ per lb.), quail’s eggs ($1.49 per dozen) or just a little inspiration (free) for your next dinner party.

An Chau Oriental Food Market

3306 Bailey Ave., Buffalo, NY 837-2303
Another cornucopia of Asian cooking supplies, including a large, fresh produce department.

Lee’s Oriental Gift and Food

3325 Bailey Ave., Buffalo, 836-7100
Connected to a small gift store and a karate studio, Lee’s focuses mostly on dry goods. There is a freezer section offering frozen bean curd and fish products, and a limited selection of fresh produce.

Niagara Asian Market

937 Niagara St., Buffalo
The Niagara Asian Market specializes in foods from Thailand and very friendly service. Upstairs, this well-organized, modest market stocks dry goods, a broad selection of beverages and a handful of health and beauty items. Downstairs, shoppers will find a wealth of noodles, rice, dried mushrooms and spices, as well as a small freezer case full of fish fillets, eel, frogs and other proteins, some of which also qualify as “creepy crawlies.”

Ni Hoowa Supermarket

3175 Sheridan Dr., Amherst, 832-228
Hoowa is a pan-Asian supermarket, featuring everything from live seafood to hard-to-find produce to unusual packaged and frozen goods. Check labels carefully for MSG at this store. You can find many sweet items that your kids will like—in fact, some of the packaged processed cakes and candies are as sinfully bad for you as a Hostess cupcake. Try some seaweed, or a rice candy, and talk about how these treats are similar and different from what your kids normally nosh on.

Phu Thai

356 Connecticut St., Buffalo, 14213, 881-1457
This family-operated store specializes in goods from Vietnam and Thailand. It stocks thousands of dry goods, housewares, and novelty items, and also has numerous freezers full of seafood and various Asian delicacies. Fresh produce is also available.

Super Bazaar
Spice Bazaar

3218 Sheridan Dr., Amherst;
3311 Sheridan Dr., Amherst

Despite having similar names, each of these Sheridan Drive markets stocks different items; most days Super Bazaar sells lovely homemade samosas, a great selection of confections, and quality frozen prepared dishes.
Spice Bazaar’s fresh produce section is larger, and they carry different brands of herbs and condiments. Much like Hoowa, they also have an aisle of interesting curios and kitchen utensils.

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