Fewer things are more frustrating than when you’ve decided to be a little experimental in the kitchen and your stomach is aching for a flavourful Asian meal, to drive to the next supermarket chain only to find out that they only sell a third of the ingredients needed to prepare the meal. Wouldn’t it be easier, not to mention much more enjoyable, to shop from someone who actually knows the ingredients and has used them in the kitchen? We would think so. If you tend to find yourself in this annoying situation, stop by at the shop Filippseyjar, a small Asian grocery store located on the corner of Hverfisgata and Barónstígur, and you won’t need to swear anymore.
Specializing in oriental supplies, the store imports groceries not only from the Philippines but numerous other Asian countries, particularly Thailand, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Every week, the store stocks up on fresh fruit and vegetables from Thailand and provides customers with various choices of Asian giftware as well.
When walking inside the store you’ll be greeted by the cheerful owner standing behind the counter. María Priscilla Zanoria, a Philippine native, opened up the store ten years ago and has run the shop at the same location ever since. The business is steadily reaching out to new customers and today it can pride itself on being a true treasure chest full of exotic products for customers to stuff in their baskets.
Shops like this one are an example of the many great things about a multicultural society. All the individuals immigrating to the country bring with them different culinary traditions from their homelands and, to meet the growing demand for fine ingredients, grocery stores dedicated to oriental cuisine have been opening up in the city for the past decade.
When you wind through the grocery aisles at Filippseyjar, you’ll find brightly coloured cans and bottles of coconut milk, bamboo shoots, dried mushrooms, bean sprouts, soy sauce, packs of noodles with numerous flavours, tea, coffee and large sacks of rice, ready to be boiled, fried or braised. Spices you’ll have no clue on how to use line the shelves and sauces that will make your taste buds jump for joy. If your head is spinning with confusion, María will most likely be more than willing to guide you through the store and help you pick out the things you need, and give you a tip or two on how to use them in the kitchen. You might even walk out not only with both hands full of products, but a secret recipe in the pocket.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 12-19, Saturdays 12-18. Closed on Sundays.