Save Money At Asian Markets

Low Cost OptionsJane and I had the day off today. Instead of hopping in the car we did the environmentally friendly (and money saving) thing and took the train in to China Town. It was a fun expedition and we discovered the local Asian market. It's not that we haven't been there before, but we never really looked around. Who needs Whole Foods... we found packages of asceptic tofu for $0.79 That's almost half of what we pay at Whole Foods! And check out this package of dried soybeans. We paid $2.09 for over three pounds!!!

I'm not sure how these merchants are able to do this. I was taught that the larger stores get better prices because they buy in larger volume. Since their cost base is lower they can charge less to the consumer, hence the success of stores like Costco and Sam's Club. But however they do it, the price is right!

So if money is an issue these days, or even if it isn't, you may want to check out your local ethnic grocery stores (if you're fortunate enough to live nearby). Besides having interesting and unusual offerings, you can often find great bargains.


  1. This is good advice. We’ve actually been meaning to do just this kind of shopping around at local stores because our three vegan dogs eat TONS of lentils each week (OK, maybe not tons, but a whole hell of a lot), and we’re hoping we may be able to find them in bulk somewhere other than (i.e., cheaper than) Whole Foods.

  2. Hi Stephanie,
    We were really surprised at the difference in price. And it was such a pleasant day, we’ll certainly be doing it more often!
    One other place to look is the lowest shelf in the supermarket. Our grocery store sells large bags of beans, legumes, and lentils down there, and just this past week they were all on sale.

  3. I don’t know if you are concerned about genetically modified food, but nearly all non-organic soybeans are GMO. I made the same discovery as you, and was pretty excited until I remembered the GMO issue.

    However, the Asian market near us has non-GMO tofu in cheaper and larger containers than the grocery store. It’s definitely worth shopping there, especially since it supports local business.

    Also, check the selection of vinegars, bulk spices, and coconut milk. All of these are cheaper at our Asian market than at the chain store.

  4. Hi Jason,
    Thanks for the heads up on the GMO issue… and the reminder to look for certain other products at these markets.

  5. Asian Markets are a great find, but be careful….

    I was in a Japanese market here in Austin TX stocking up, and I found a great deal on umeboshi paste. But as I turned it over, I found it was LOADED with MSG.

    Please check the ingredient list! Make sure you know the source of the grower if possible.

  6. GMO is one of two issues with low-price product. The other being that if the price is so low you get surprised a lot, it probably means the guy who cultivated the land that produced this product doesn’t get paid enough to feed his family.

    Don’t get that wrong, I also buy cheap products at the asian market in my town. It was just a reminder because I like to be aware of the impact of my actions into the world. Don’t you? 😉

  7. Hi Andrew,
    Agreed, it’s always important to look at ingredients and growers.

    Hi Raphael,
    Thanks for that info. Yes, there’s a trade off between buying cheap and buying ethically. It’s something we should all consider. In addition to those considerations, the distance the product has traveled is another thing to concern ourselves with. The global warming impacts of shipping products around the globe is pretty impactful.

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