My experience with moving to Sweden in a nutshell: Culture shocks? They’re fine! The freezing weather? Managed! Asian and Indonesian food cravings? Ok, this one is a HUGE PROBLEM. 😭
As an Indonesian, our food is a very big part of our culture. Ohla~laa, they are full of spices and rich flavours. Not just me, this culinary craving for spicy foods and rich spices are also shared with almost all of my Asian friends here, so I know for sure this one is tricky to get over with.
Sooo, here I present to you the locations that can assist you in adding a little Asian flavour to your kitchen and cooking, also a little bit of tips!
The paradise: Asian grocery stores 🌞
Let’s talk first about the Asian stores in Jönköping, the city where I live. Even in this quite smaller city, there are two Asian grocery stores which are Chili & Basilika and Shifudo. Chili & Basilika is larger and offers more options; the owner is Vietnamese, thus there are more Vietnamese delicacies. Shifudo, while smaller, has more Chinese products and is not just a cute grocery shop; it is also a mini restaurant which serves sushi and kimbap. Aside from those two, Jönköping has a number of Middle Eastern marketplaces, including Saluhall in Huskvarna and Västra Asien in Cigarren.
I believe in most cities in Sweden there is for sure one or two Asian grocery stores (as Asian is everywhere lol). But to help you with some guide, here are some lists of Asian grocery stores that I can find in other cities throughout Sweden~ *note: please add more in the comment section if you know other stores!
🔗 Stockholm: Oriental Supermarket
🔗 Uppsala: Asian Livs
🔗 Gothenburg: Saigon Food
🔗 Lund: Lokchan AB
🔗 Malmö: Kina Center Livs
🔗 Skellefteå: Jacks Import och Varuhus
🔗 Luleå: Norrlands Orientallivs
World cuisine section in supermarkets
Many Swedish supermarkets have large ‘World Cuisine’ shelves, and I occasionally find “treasures” while roaming around ICA Maxi, Coop, or even in just a cornerstore Willys near my place (they have Indomie!). Indian, Korean, Japanese, and Thai products are the most frequent things I normally see. I am in love with Korean and Japanese cuisines so finding them are actually quite easy breezy (but quite depressed after looking at the price tags tho, lol!). But to my surprise, I have not found so many regular Chinese spices like Sichuan pepper or doubanjiang here.
Asian products online stores 🌐
Personally, I have never tried buying Asian food products online, but some of my friends do and they said it approximately took around a week for the package to arrive. So for you who really are in a dire need and cannot find the products you are looking for elsewhere, I recommend you to take a look at these Asian online grocery stores:
↗️ Teemji: https://www.teemji.se/
↗️ Pongmarket: https://pongmarket.se/en/about-us/
↗️ Asian Food Market: https://asianfood.nu/pantry/?language=en
For Indonesians! It is indeed very extremely hard to find our specific products. But there is one Indonesian shop in Stockholm that is also accessible from Instagram, it’s called Oriental Bites, and this is the address of their store in Solna.
Tips: Cooking with friends!
Making friends with people who love to cook is the trick (insert winky face here!). Having a get together with friends where you cook together is a really nice bonding time, while then you can also share the prices of Asian products you use for cooking the dishes, because they are indeed much more expensive compared to regular European food here. So, two birds one stone hehe. Me and my Indonesian friends here in Jönköping regularly do this, usually once a month, and that always soothes our cravings for food back home.
All in all, actually Asian food products are quite accessible here. In terms of supply and variety, it’s hardly apples to apples if we compare them back home, but having them here is still very good, especially for our mental health!!!
A little bit of note of my surprise is, here in Europe they categorise the whole Asian cuisine as one cuisine! That is kind of crazy because even just in Indonesia there are hundreds of types of different cuisines, not to mention our food is totally different even with neighbouring countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and even Singapore. So seeing the whole Asian cuisine to be defined in one roof is quite a shock~
Anyway (enough ranting Nana 🤣), if you know any other Asian markets or stores in other cities, please leave it in the comment section and we can help each other. Yes, Asians unite!