Ask anyone in Dubai to name the most popular Chinese takeaway or the best Chinese restaurants in the city, chances are he or she will share half a dozen names. But ask the same person to name the best place to shop for authentic Chinese ingredients and you can bet your last dirham he (or she) will probably just shrug their shoulder and move on.
The answer to this simple query lies hidden in the crowded China Cluster A3 of Dubai’s International City, which is also home to Wenzhou’s Supermarket – one of Dubai’s best- known supermarkets for fresh Chinese food products. Enter its sprawling premises and be ready to be fascinated by an endless array of popular and lesser known Chinese food ingredients, many of which have medicinal uses as well.
Bitter melon, for example, can be prepared in a variety of ways including boiling or braising. It is also known to have a cooling effect on the body. Up next are Chinese carrots which are known to prevent heart-related problems and reduce cholesterol levels. Used mainly in Cantonese soups and dishes, carrots are one of the main ingredients used in dishes like Sesame Oyster Chicken and Sweet & Sour Prawns – both popular items on the menu of PRAX’s, one of the best Chinese restaurants at Jumeirah.
Looking for a variety of mushrooms? Wenzhou’s Supermarket has them all – shitake, eryngii, enoki and even shimeji. Also available are multiple varieties of the popular Pak Choi and yellow chives, more rare and subtle in flavor than the green variety.
Many kinds of Tofu are also sold here, with the softer ones more suited for steaming while the harder ones are ideal for deep frying. Yam, on the other hand is used to prepare salads and homemade pickles by people in north China.
Last but not the least, is the non-vegetarian food section. Fresh fish on ice, live eels in buckets, bundles of fresh seaweed, baby ducks and the hard-to-miss chicken feet – a favorite dim sum treat among the Cantonese are all available here. Huge tanks along the aisles host a colony of blue crabs and green crabs, which are said to be meatier and tastier than their blue cousins.