When I worked in the Downtown Eastside, I often visited the Asia Market to marvel at their extensive range of exotic and authentic ingredients from all over Southeast Asia. They carry a variety of often hard to find condiments, fruit and other dry goods from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
I can spend an hour looking at all the dry goods at Asia Market. They carry a variety of rices, from long grain jasmine to less common black sticky rice (some of the rices are available from bulk bins). The seasonings and condiments section is fascinating--all sorts of exotic ingredients that I've read about and would like to use. Roland is particularly impressed by their selection of chili sauces. I love looking at their interesting canned fish, meats, fruit and vegetables.
The store also carries a range of fresh aromatic herbs that are a key component of Southeast Asian cooking. They carry purple stemmed sweet basil, holy basil, different mints, kaffir lime leaves, curry leaves and many other herbs that I've read about but have not yet tried.
Asia Market is a great place to pick up some locally made deli items such as Vietnamese sweets, sticky rice dumplings and Vietnamese ham and other deli meats. Tucked into the back of the store is a counter that sells great Vietnamese submarine sandwiches. You can get a mixed deli meat sub for $2.25!
Asia Market 265 East Hastings Street, 604.688.6824 / 604.685.5623