Shopping for Ethnic ingredients

italy photography photos   - CuriousCatExpat.com

Are you missing some tastes from back home or other ethnic food and flavors?

Italy does have fresh & wonderful food, though it is limited when it comes to some of the flavors from back home.  This article is focused on the Asian markets because these markets offer many ingredients an expat may need for their pantry — not just the asian flavors.

Plus, items are cheap in these markets!  I know many expats in Rome always say, ‘Go to Castroni’.  Yes – Castroni may have a nice variety of imported goods, but boy it is expensive!

 icon-asterisk If you you’re thinking … but wait, I live in a small town….good news, there’s online shopping and delivery!!

Here are some examples of what you can get:

baking powder

An 8lb can of Baking Powder ! Don’t worry, they have small cans too 🙂

  • Real baking powder.  Yes, the italian supermarkets sell some versions of baking powder but they are a mix.  Most Italian baking powders  have a vanilla flavor added – I guess they assume you’ll be baking sweet, but what about the breads & savory items ?
  • Corn syrup
  • Great Hot sauces, curries, and more
  • Maltose Syrup. You may ask, why maltose syrup?  Well, since bagels are hard to find and you care to make your own – you need maltose syrup:)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Betty Crocker items – cake, brownie mixes, frosting
  • Spices and extracts
  • Hot peppers, chilies
  • Fresh lemon grass, cilantro and other veggies (sweet potatoes!)
  • Non food items such as chef’s knives, pans, cooking utensils are a bargain here !
  • Other ethnic foods & ingredients: some Mexican, Thai, Indian….

 * Read the labels – the English terms are rare, descriptions are a mix of Asian, German and Italian languages.

corn syrup 2

Read the labels – the front label most likely isn’t written with the English term you are familiar with.

corn syrup

Tiny print , but it does say Corn Syrup. (the Italian term is: Sciroppo di Malto)

Where to find these goodies:

MILAN – Kathay International (BIG market):
if you live in or near Milan go in person.  They have soooo many wonderful goodies!

  •  icon-shopping-cart Website for online/delivery orders
    • of course if you order online fresh items are not available, plus not all items are available online.  However, they are very accommodating, it can’t hurt to try to call or email them if you’re looking for a specific item, they may ship it to you.
  • Via Rosmini 11 – 20154 Milano
  •  [email protected]
  • +39 . 02. 33 105 368

MILAN – Zen Market

MILAN: Kathy International, a smaller market

  • Via G. B. Sammartini (near #4) , 20125 Milano
    • This is a great location if you communte via Milano Centrale Station.  It’s a block from the station, so just scoot in, get your goods and hop on the train to get home!  Note: this shop only accepts CASH.

ROME – Pacific Trading S.r.l.
This is a mini supermarket and is full of all sorts of ingredients.  Plus, the owners are so nice!

  • Via Principe Eugenio, 17/19/21, 00185 Rome
  • +39 .06.446. 8406

These are the two main markets I am aware of, but there are many others I’m sure.  I’ve only lived in Rome & near Milan so this is my reference point.

**** (If you know of a great market/resource – please let us know in the comments section below.  )

Rome:  in and around Mercato Esquilino there are a bunch of ethic markets, I prefer Pacific Trading because of the selection. Even in the small city I live in now on Lake Como, there’s a tiny Asian market packed full of items.

If there isn’t a market near you, order from Kathy Intl.

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