The people of Liverpool are a diverse bunch and so are our residents at The Ascent. In wider Liverpool, we owe this to the city’s history as a major port. As people have settled here from all over the world, we’re lucky that they’ve brought their national dishes with them. And, following suit, a wide range of top-notch international supermarkets have been established over the years too.
For those of you who are a little further away from home here at IconInc, we’ve rounded up the best international food stores in Liverpool to help you find your favourite home comforts.
Where: Hardy Street
Opening times: 9.30am – 5.45pm, every day
Good for: Asian foods
Just a 12 minute walk from IconInc you’ll find Liverpool centre’s largest Chinese supermarket. Chung Wah’s is not only a supermarket but a wholesaler too and they supply restaurants all over the Northwest – a testament to their great quality, authentic products. You’ll definitely get that wholesaler feel when you step inside the shop but the family-run business also pride themselves on the personal touches, such as the copies of UK-Chinese times in the entrance, which are free for you to take.
The selection of foods is huge here so you’re bound to find all of your favourite foods from home. In the fruit and vegetables you’ll find fresh produce like water bamboo, bitter melon and green papaya. If you’re feeling lazy, there’s a whole wall of instant noodles with brands such as Nongshim and Nissin. The freezers are full of easy options too – packed with ready-made fish balls, dumplings, buns and spring rolls.
You can forget prowling the aisles of Sainsbury’s searching for your favourite sauce, Chung Wah’s has hundreds of options with a wide range of Lee Kum Kee and big, value bottles of Kikkoman soy sauce. The shelves are also stacked full of rice, noodles, tinned ingredients, dried pulses, seeds and mushrooms, and traditional teas, beers, wines and Asian treats. You can even buy crockery and cooking woks if you’re looking to create a stronger sense of home.
The prices are competitive and what’s more they offer 8% student discount and a free taxi when you spend £45 or more. We especially love the start of term deals that Chung Wah often run so be sure to check it out.
Matta’s International Food
Where: Bold Street
Opening times: Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 6.30pm, Sunday 10.30am – 5pm
Good for: food from all over the world
Matta’s first opened in 1965 and not only have they grown a great shop, they’ve grown a community too – you’ll feel welcome as soon as you set foot in the store. Just beyond the entrance is a large selection of fresh produce that rivals any city centre supermarket. The prices are cheaper, and the fruit and veg bigger than in any of the British supermarkets as well. You can even get fresh aloe vera at Matta’s.
There is a serious amount of food crammed into the cheery blue-fronted shop. Stock up on naans, pittas or a fresh loaf from The German Bakery. Grab a ready-made curry sauce mix, choose from a variety (yes – variety – you heard you right!) of coconut milks, and take your pick from plenty of grains including cous cous, quinoa and rice. You’ll find frozen seafoods like milk fish and red snapper fillets, and a plethora of Patak’s curry pastes and Geeta’s chutneys.
Matta’s sell every spice you could possibly want and they even stock their own curry powder, called Special Blend, which is made to a family recipe. They have dried beans, seeds and fruits a plenty too – you’ll find dried black eye beans, aduki beans and more in big bags. The staff are super friendly as well so don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something you can find – it’ll be hiding there somewhere!
Where: London Road
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 8.30am – 9pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
Good for: Italian, Greek and Arabic foods
Liverpool’s international supermarket, Melo’s, is well worth the walk uphill from IconInc (don’t worry, you’ll be coming downhill with your shopping bags). The shop is well laid out, with the aisles categorised by country, and the food is priced fairly. Melo’s is a local favourite and we can see why. Most of the foods they stock are super rare in the UK and very difficult to source.
Imported from Italy there’s a massive selection of olives: green, black, stuffed with lemon, hot and spicy. You’ll have no problem finding your favourite brand of olive oil or pasta either. Or you could just stock up on Mulino Bianco biscuits.
In the fresh section we found rainbow carrots that would brighten any dish and in the bakery racks, Lebanese and Greek breads. You can buy almost any pickles you could ever need like vine leaves, okra and eggplants. There’s a butcher with great quality Halal meat and a whole shelf of tinned meats too. Melos’ sell coffee from Turkey and Greece, and an Italian lemon tea which is said to cure hangovers (students take note!).
At the back of the store are spices galore in a rustic style stand made of wooden crates and then towards the tills you’ll come across sweet treats like Halal Haribo. Melo’s even do their own £3 lunch deal. And if there’s a taste of home that you can’t find on the shelves, be sure to let the staff know and they’ll do their best to get it in for you. Now that’s what we call impeccable service!
Where: Bold Street
Opening times: 10.30am – 8.30pm, everyday
Good for: Far Eastern foods
Four minutes away from IconInc is the oriental supermarket, SIDA. The store is small but absolutely full of goodies. They also display posters for upcoming events in the shop window so you can keep up-to-date with local happenings while you shop. Step through the door and you’re straight into the snack section – there are sweet foodstuffs like mochi in flavours like green tea, mango and peanut. You’ll find bottled drinks from all across East Asia here too, the Ocean Bomb drinks caught our eye.
The fresh produce is really cheap with big bags of beansprouts, pak choi and Chinese leaves. In the refrigerators at the centre of the store you’ll find plenty of different types of tofu. SIDA stock a lot of frozen foods for quick and easy meals, like steamed buns and gyoza. There’s a whole fridge dedicated to Golden Dragon ready meals too. And the easy options don’t stop there, you can even buy pre-prepared soup mixes in flavours such as Xi Hu Beef if you’re short for time.
You won’t have to go without your preferred brand of noodles any longer once you’ve discovered SIDA, their selection is very impressive and includes KOKA and Oh! Ricey. We also spotted big bags of sushi rice hiding on the shelves. The far end of the shop is dedicated to authentic sauces, dressings and condiments like broadbean paste and sushi ginger, so you won’t have to compromise when you’re cooking.
Let us know if our suggestions helped you recreate one of your favourite dishes from home by sharing your pictures on social media. Happy cooking!