Best Chinese Supermarkets in Barcelona
This week we interviewed Alice de Jong for a special post on the Best Chinese supermarkets in Barcelona. Alice is a Dutch sinologist and a fluent Mandarin speaker. Alice was fascinated by Chinese characters when she was young, so much so that in the early 1980’s she decided to study Mandarin at University, during which time she also went as an exchange student to the North-East of China. Over the subsequent years before graduation, she returned in the summer months, giving tours to her Dutch country people. “Imagine,” Alice tells me “Back then you couldn’t pre-book train tickets or hotels, everything had to happen on the day in person.” After graduation, Alice held jobs as an interpreter/translator and was a subject librarian for the Chinese collection at Leiden University for many years. Alice even translated for Xi Jinping on an official state visit. These days, she’s a hand-pulled noodle graduate who enjoys making elaborate Chinese meals at home: we asked her to share her favourite Chinese supermarkets in Barcelona
Alice has six criteria for a Chinese supermarket:
- A walk-in fridge for vegetables
- In-house butcher (for special meat cuts)
- Kitchenware, cooking gear and plates.
- A wider selection of Asian products. (Japanese, Korean, Malay, Indonesian.)
- Bulk shopping. Alice brings her own bags to minimize plastic use and even Tupperware for fresh tofu.
- Speciality Sichuan products, like Sichuan broad bean chilli paste (Pixian Doubanjiang) or pickled Sichuan vegetable (yacai)
[Chinese supermarkets, aphabetical:]
Oriental Foods Yuen Tong 遠東行 | Amazing Oriental东方行
Carrer de Nàpols, 177, 08013
Small Barcelona outpost by the giant Dutch Chinese supermarket chain Amazing Oriental catering to the public rather than restaurants. They have their products shipped from the Netherlands warehouse all the way to Spain. (They have a second A.O. store inside Valencia’s train station).
It’s clean, professional, and neat with a big selection of products. In their freezer section, they have dumplings, meats, fish; very clean and fresh vegetables, tofu etc. Cooking gear and plates, including one-portion ramen wire baskets. They have snacks and noodles from all over Asia. Pictured below clockwise from left: Chinese, Korean, Indonesian and Japanese instant noodles.
Kitchenware, wider Asian selection, some Sichuan products; No walk-in vegetables, no butcher, no bulk shopping
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Oriental Market Barcelona 中歐百貨市場
Carrer de Sicília, 212, 08013
From the entrance, this looks like a sushi takeaway place, which also sells Japanese katsu sando (a type of pork chop sandwich). The interior is low-lit with dark wooden shelves, certainly the most upmarket of supermarkets with the prices to match. Oriental Market has a huge selection of dishes and plates, cups, bowls, and cooking utensils. Bespoke freezer, vegetables, ice creams including the British ice cream mochi brand Little Moons. The emphasis here is on Japanese ingredients. In the glass vitrine, next to the expensive knives is a display of Kweichow Moutai first served by Mao Zedong during state visits to the likes of Nixon and Kissinger – it is the most valuable liquor company in the world and vintage bottles have become collectable.
Best for kitchenware and restaurant decoration, bespoke Asian selection, and some Sichuan products; No walk-in vegetables, no butcher, no bulk shopping
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Supermercat Honesto / Zhengda 正大国货超市
Carrer de la Diputació, 342, 08009
This is Alice’s favourite Chinese supermarket in Barcelona. On our last visit together, she chatted away with the staff in Mandarin before heading straight to the well-stocked walk-in refrigerator. Reaching for the Tupperware in her backpack, Alice lifted a still-dripping bag of Tofu
“I love this Tofu, they make and deliver it fresh daily from Badalona.”
The fridge also has 3 different types of fresh salted seaweed, century eggs, zongzi, larou, Chinese chives and fresh rice sheets.
It was in Honesto that Alice told us that while we are still buying 5 spice powder, in China they have switched to 13 spice powder “because complicated is better and the flavour is more mellow.”Walk-in vegetables, in-house butcher, tanks with seafood, bulk shopping; Small selection of kitchenware, good Sichuan products, and no wider Asian selection
Foodie in Barcelona wrote about Honesto in 2016 here.
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Fresh tofu shop 豆腐直销部 | 金天食品
Carrer de Roger de Flor, 82, 08013
A little tofu shop which sells fresh soymilk, tofu curds, and smoked and fresh tofu.
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Shunda SD Supermercat 顺达超级商场
Carrer de Roger de Flor, 61 – 67, 08013
This is Alice’s second choice in Barcelona. It is closer to the centre of the city and she loves their newly refurbished plates and dishes section. Shunda has a walk-in vegetable fridge, in-house butcher, and a more ‘northern’ vibe. It’s a good source of hard-to-get vegetables in season, like fresh peanuts, fresh bamboo, Chinese cauliflower, and the funny looking wawa cai, a type of mustard green with small, brussels sprouts-sized -‘babies’ protruding from its stem.
Walk-in vegetables, in-house butcher, bulk shopping (also dried noodles);
A big section of kitchenware, good Sichuan products, no wider Asian selection
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Oh Hua Foods欧华食品
Carrer d’Alí Bei, 38, 08013
Next to the Dazhong restaurant, there is a supermarket with a surprisingly good selection of goods. Many dried goods like Chinese spices, dried mushrooms, and grains. It has fewer vegetables than in the other stores. On the plus side, they open on Sunday mornings which isn’t a given for Chinese Supermarkets in Barcelona.
Bulk shopping (also noodles), in-house butcher, kitchenware (trendy rice cookers);
No walk-in vegetables, no special Sichuan products, no wider Asian selection
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Dong Fang | Extremo Oriente东方商场
Carrer de Balmes, 6, 08007
Dong Fang is the most ‘international’ supermarket. It is also one of the originals located conveniently next to Placa Catalunya. They have a wide selection of packaged and fresh Asian products, Indonesian, Thai, Korean, Japanese etc. Along with American products like peanut butter and marshmallow spread.
Wide selection of Asian products (Indonesian sambals, fresh South-East Asian herbs), kitchenware;
No walk-in vegetables, no in-house butcher, no special Sichuan products, no bulk shopping
Foodie in Barcelona wrote about Dong Fang in 2015 here.
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Day Day Go 天天购亚洲超市
Ronda de St. Pere, 47, 08010
The newest store to open in Barcelona. Day Day Go is a clean and neatly shelved store, with a good selection. Their vegetable selection is consigned to a walled fridge section. They have an in-house butcher and plan to have a takeaway deli or snack corner, but until they do, there are fresh zongzi or speciality pork cuts in a low fridge near the butcher counter. Good selection of beers and Chinese spirits. Excellent cookware and kitchenware sections.
Kitchenware, in-house butcher, a small corner of Japanese / Korean specialities
No walk-in vegetables, no bulk shopping, no special Sichuan products
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Tian En Vegetariana 天恩素食
Carrer de Trafalgar, 68, 08010
Tian En is a Taiwanese-owned vegan store. It has a good selection of dried soybean products, gluten powder, and mushrooms. Taiwan is a 90% Buddhist country, as such, they’ve been eating mock meats for years before the rest of us got on the amazing burger bandwagon. The shop has a freezer with a great selection of mock types of meat.
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Buen Vecino | Super bonvecino 超级好邻居
Carrer del Bruc 1, 08010
A good supermarket that stocks everything, but somehow lacks character. It has an in-house butcher and a walk-in vegetable fridge. Alice likes that you can buy rice, peanuts, dates and so on in bulk and brings her own reusable bags.
Walk-in vegetables, in-house butcher, bulk shopping (rice, Chinese dates);
Section of kitchenware near the window, no Sichuan products, no wider Asian selection
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Yangguang Supermercat YangKuang新阳光商场 Alimentacio Orient
Pg. de Sant Joan, 12 – 14, 08010
This is the closest Chinese supermarket to Arc de Triomf. It has a distinctive yellow sign that spans two buildings. It’s a spacious store with a butcher and a large walk-in fridge that is always well stocked. Yang Kuang sells lots of kitchen appliances including cooking pots, earthenware steamers, rice cookers and woks. It has a large selection of plates and cups. As well as a good selection of flours. There is an entire aisle of snacks and sauces – things like pickle-flavoured crips or shredded spicy squid. Customers are a mix of Chinese and Westerners. Walk-in vegetables, in-house butcher, bulk shopping, wider Asian selection,a large section of kitchenware, no speciality Sichuan products
Foodie in Barcelona wrote about Yang Kuang in 2018 here.
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Bafang Supermercado Asia 八方超市
Carrer de Balmes, 10, 08007
This is the smaller of the two supermarkets near Placa Catalunya. Alice tells us that she sometimes finds interesting things here, like certain kinds of pickles or sauces. Also fresh vegetables.
Wider Asian selection, some kitchenware, speciality Sichuan products. No walk-in vegetables, no in-house butcher, no bulk shopping