You don’t have to live in a big city to enjoy the benefits of an Asian market: Eugene and Springfield have a smattering of markets full of the best and most unusual ingredients Asian cuisine has to offer. Some have been here since the ’90s and some are only a few years old, but if you have a recipe (Asian or not) that you’re dying to try out, make sure to stop by these locally owned grocery stores first.
Sunrise Asian Food Market
70 W. 29th Ave.; 343-3295
Nestled into the busy marketplace at South Willamette and 29th Avenue, Sunrise Asian Food Market (pictured above) is South Eugene’s provider of Asian wares. Soybean paste, sushi supplies, frozen calamari, gigantic jars of kimchi — it’s all there.
Exploring the aisles is like stepping out of Eugene. Most produce is marked with elegant Asian characters; some offer English interpretations and some compel you to make your best guess. Items are gloriously colorful, with every pastel shade imaginable — mochi ice cream and Pocky sticks entice with their bright packaging.
Sunrise features a deli that sells fresh takeout food, including yakisoba noodles and sushi. Also, make sure to check out Sunrise’s tea selection. It’s a literal wall of tea, sure to send tea lovers careening into fits of joy.
Yi Shen Vietnamese Market
1915 W. 11th Ave.; 683-9386
Yi Shen Vietnamese Market opened in 1997, after owner Phung Tu moved to Eugene from Vietnam. The West 11th market is both a grocery store and restaurant, loved for its Vietnamese noodle salad, barbeque pork and pho. Tu says she sees a wide variety of customers, but she says her student customers usually come in for snacks or something quick — think instant noodles. “You should see them during finals week,” she says. Others come in search of specific ingredients for recipes.
The market is small, with gigantic bags of jasmine rice piled along the main aisle. Cute and cozy, with a small seating area on the restaurant side of the market, Yi Shen is a great place to try delicious Vietnamese food and then pick up the ingredients and supplies — cutlery, woks and dishes — you need to make your own version at home.
Eugene Asian Market
503 E. 11th Ave.; 344-2888
Tucked away near the UO campus on East 11th, the storefront of Eugene Asian Market is a little imposing, with a passageway of stairs and railings to walk through, but once you’re in, you’ll find a nice-sized market stocked with Asian staples. There’s limited fresh produce, but a wide selection of bottled drinks — green teas, aloe juices and fruit concoctions. Eugene Asian Market also features an amazing variety of sake.
King’s Asian Market
2100 W. 11th Ave.; 343-7333
With its orderly aisles, high ceilings and well-stocked shelves, King’s Asian Market has all the markings of a generic grocery store — until you notice the massive statues of Buddha and beautiful wall hangings portraying Chinese waterfalls and other peaceful settings.
Wendy Yeung, whose family owns the market, says that King’s opened in 2013. She sees mostly American clientele, she says, and people typically come to the store looking for ingredients to make their own sushi or Thai cuisine. Most merchandise comes from L.A., Seattle and San Francisco, she says.
Large and comprehensive, the market stocks everything from coconut milk blended drinks to organic mung beans. Oddities (to the Americanized eye) include a bottled drink with ginseng root suspended in liquid and an assortment of colorful kimonos and sandals tucked away in a corner of the store.
Uptown Asian Grocery
3834 Main St., Spfd.; 747-4177
This cute market in Springfield is the only grocery store in Lane County that specializes in Filipino groceries, although it offers a bit of Thai and Japanese fare, as well. As the only Asian market in Springfield, Uptown Asian Grocery is a useful resource for Filipinos living in Lane County, says storeowner Jen Mattes.
She and her husband, originally from the Philippines, bought the store two years ago. Uptown sells fresh fruit and vegetables, including eggplant and coconut, and has a massive selection of sauces and seasonings, from soy sauce to sweet chili sauce. Mattes says some of her most popular items are bright red Filipino hot dogs and noodles.