I hate myself for not finding the new mini Asian Supermarket in Bangor (World Foods) before the whole self-isolation and COVID quarantine goings-on. As I’ve been itching for months to do a run to the Asian Supermarket in Belfast only I was unable to due to essential travel regulations. And a tasty Pad Kaprao or Creamy Tom Yum don’t really come under the essential travel list. So instead I resorted last month to reviewing every pot noodle/cup noodle brand on the shelves of Tescos.
A Mini Asian Supermarket in Bangor
I kind of expected World Foods to pretty much cover food from all over the world. But it is pretty much 95% Asian where specific regions include Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South Asia, weighed in that order. With separate sections for Chinese, Japanese, Thai food, and the Philippines. In short, I was like a kid in a candy shop, which is somewhat literal as it’s got a big section for retro/global candies when you first walk through the doors.
World Foods on Church Street
I guess the name ‘World Foods’ reflects their wider ambitions where they have a savvy wee online store as well as delivery services available through North Down Ards, and Belfast (bottom of page). And I suspect there is a lot more to come. Otherwise, as local folk, who love Asian food, it has everything we need and want. From the essential Asian ingredients and sauces to the nostalgic snacks of Asia’s convenience stores. And while I’d normally drive 20-miles to Belfast for these, I pretty much found everything straight off, or, at least, a decent substitute.
Asian Supermarkets: Bangor vs Belfast
The Belfast Supermarket is just massive in comparison, so it’s probably best to sum up what Belfast has over the new Bangor Asian Supermarket. For example, in Belfast, they have a big car park and an upstairs cafe. They have a big butcher and fish market, a huge section for fresh veg, and it’s really a bit like a Tesco for Asian food. In comparison, the Bangor Asian Supermarket is more like a small Spar where it stocks only the essential brands instead. Easy to navigate and browse. And ultimately I have no need for what feels like a day-trip to Ormeau Road/Ormeau Embankment when shopping in Belfast.
Fresh Food Deliveries
Every Wednesday the fresh fruit and veg are stocked up, which is similar to Belfast from what I remember, only when I made the trip to Belfast on Thursday mornings I’d find empty boxes and the best bits nabbed by the restaurants etc. So Wednesday/Thursday are again the best days to call at World Foods in Bangor. And they have a rather impressive/unexpected range of fresh fruit and veg with hard to find items like unripe (green) mangoes and papayas, boxes of birdseye chillies, and they even had bitter gourds, which are like the Brussel Sprouts of Asia. They even stock Thai basils etc. when they can which even in Belfast are hard to find due to ridiculously short shelf-life.
Essential Asian Ingredients
I first called to World Foods on a Friday to find my favourite Healthy Boy Soy Sauce was all out of stock. So I called back again on the Monday after to find it back on the shelves where it sits right next to my favourite Thai oyster sauce and fish sauce. Again these are the things I’d otherwise drive to Belfast for. But when they’re out of stock in Belfast, there is no way I’m driving all the way back for a 2nd visit. Anyway, on the shelves, I find all the essential Asian foods, like S&B Golden Curry roux, a range of Lao Gan Ma chilli oils, and bulk bags of Jasmine Rice (we normally have to lump for Sainsbury’s Basmati).
Asian Snack Shop
While the essential Asian ingredients have made life a lot easier, my excitement is more for the snack shelves, and just poking around to find something new. And this is normally the instant noodles/instant ramen shelves for me which are packed top-to-bottom with noods from all over Asia. Including favourites like Indomie Salty Boys (Indonesia), Mama Tom Yum Creamy (Thailand), Super Hot Samyang (Korea), and loads of Nissin/Cup Noodles (Japan). At the same time, I’ve never seen half of them before 😮
My Shopping List
What I ended up buying was all a bit random, where the list includes my essential Thai soy and fish sauce which I use pretty much daily. Then there was Laoganma for my noodle soups, Prik Pao chilli jam for my Tom Yums, and pickled mustard greens to go with my Khao Sois. Also a Laab mix for when I’m lazy, and Sichuan peppercorns to grind into a mala mix for chuan’r kebabs. Then some obscure instant Noodles which included a tantanmen-like Nissin Demae, some Samyang knock-offs called Paldo, and Sichuan-style noodles from the birthplace of mala hot pots in Chongqing. Everything comes under £15.
Sharing my Excitement
“Chongqing Instant Noodle” “Spicy Hot Noodles” and an image similar to ‘Dandan noodles’. Exciting. “Non-fried” “sweet potato instant noodles”. Amazing. They are proper Chinese, with no English instructions, so I wing it by boiling the noodles in water, before stirring in the chilli oil packet, and the dehydrated cabbage and stuff. I then top it with a ramen egg, some spring onions, ground peanuts, and a lump of Lao Gan Ma. But ultimately it’s the Sichuan peppercorns I’m excited for, and, in short, this is some of the most authentic Sichuan or even Chinese food flavours I’ve eaten outside of Chongqing or China. For less than a quid.
Where is the Asian Supermarket in Bangor?
World Foods Bangor opened back in September 2019 on Church Street. It is located directly next door to Colin’s Chippy and opposite Bangor Abbey. On-street parking is found outside, and there’s a free car park just opposite.
Asian Supermarket Bangor Address?
World Foods, 5 Church St, Bangor BT20 3HX, United Kingdom
Fresh food deliveries arrive every Wednesday, and for everything else it is pretty much daily. To catch the more exciting arrivals World Foods regularly update their Facebook Feed and they also update new product and availability on their online shop. They also have a delivery service through North Down, Ards, and Belfast.