A couple of Saturdays ago I went along to an Asian Foodie Walkabout in Northbridge with Yvonne and Yolanda from Red Hot Spatula as our wandering hosts. Red Hot Spatula was one of the original food market stores to come out in Perth and now they do a range of activities from event catering to cooking classes. The walking tour took us through a number of grocery shops around William Street. Admittedly I am a beginner when it comes to cooking Asian cuisine, I have made a few Thai and Japanese meals with some success. I was keen to find a place that sells cheaper ingredients and had a sneaking suspicion that I was paying too much at the bigger supermarkets (and I was right!).
The first stop was a small cash only Asian bakery, I ate a delicious Kaya bun and tried the Pandan cake thanks to our hosts. The tour continued through a busy fishmonger, Asian butcher, grocery market and herbal/tea store. The Northbridge area has more than one of each and we also walked past a Thai grocery store and Vietnamese style butcher. I was pleased to find some West Australian produce in the way of prawns, dumplings, hokkien noodles, azuki paste and meat. The butcher we visited uses local Harvey beef and Linley valley pork.
The shop fronts along William Street can be a little deceiving and somewhat ordinary on first glance. I was pleased to discover a tiny entrance often led to a decent sized interior, a labyrinth of aisles with shelves absolutely full.
I tend to buy my groceries every couple of days, stopping in at the supermarket on the way home from work. In the Northbridge area, the Saturday morning grocery shopping atmosphere was well and truly abuzz. It makes me want to change my routine to do a bulk shop each week just so I can return again.
A few of my personal highlights from the Asian Foodie Walkabout:
- Tasting the Pandan Cake
- A fluffy pork bun
- Tasting freshly made warm sweet tofu in a store with the kitchen in the rear
- Freezers of dumplings!
- Finding Meiji chocolate, something I discovered on my holiday in Japan and haven’t seen in Perth
- Picking the difference between egg and rice made noodles
- Finding Super sized wasabi tubes
- Finding Japanese made Mayo
- Wandering through the herbal store and seeing the variety of healing herbs available
- Finding West Australian produce
- Mud crabs!
I wasn’t too sure what to expect going solo on a tour in my home town. Also I am not particularly fond of tours, I find them confining and rushed sometimes. The Asian Foodie Walkabout was simply fantastic, Yvonne and Yolanda are incredibly welcoming and it was great to be able to bounce off all sorts of questions along the way. They are both very passionate about food and cooking, they were only too happy to share tips and their knowledge. The tour was relaxed and we had ample time to purchase items along the way, some of us even purchased L’Occitane products that were going for a great discount on that particular day.
If you are new to Perth or like me wanting to find places to buy those ingredients to make a char kway teow or a curry laksa at home I would highly recommend booking yourself in for a morning of food.
For more information head over to the Red Hot Spatula website http://www.redhotspatula.com.au/