Exploring the Vast Potential of the Chinese Market
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Exploring the Vast Potential of the Chinese Market: A Deep Dive into the Chinese Online Supermarket Phenomenon

There was a time when Chinese food was considered strange and exotic by UK diners, which is ironic when you realise that so many of the dishes that are now synonymous with what we consider to be “Chinese Food” are in fact heavily anglicised versions of dishes adapted to cater for the post war British palette and to make use of the limited varieties of produce that were available to that first wave of pioneering Chinese restaurants and take aways.

The British food scene has come a long way in the last thirty years though. As supply lines improved it became possible for restaurants and specialist stores to source more authentic produce while at the same time people have been able to travel more widely which has introduced them to the real dishes of Asia which they have wanted to experience again when they have returned home.

However, until recently anyone who wanted to cook deliciously authentic Chinese food at home needed to find a good Chinese market which stocked the same authentic products and ingredients that would be found in a domestic Chinese kitchen. That meant either living in or being able to visit a town or city that was home to a large community of Chinese heritage which could support such a specialist Chinese supermarket which for many people was simply not possible.

The real seismic shift came with the rise of online commerce and fast, reliable, affordable shipping. This in turn enabled the emergence of the Chinese online supermarket, which has finally enabled British home cooks who want to explore the wonders of Chinese cuisine but do not have the privilege of living near a thriving Chinese community. Hiyou has been a keen player in bringing the traditional Chinese grocery to an online audience. Authentic Chinese products, exactly like the ones you would find in a Chinese market in Beijing or Shanghai are easily available to anyone who wants them, from Barnard Castle to Southampton.

Home cooks who want to create authentic Chinese dishes can take that authenticity beyond the ingredients too. There are many who would argue that true authenticity demands that a cook should also use the right tools and techniques. Our Chinese online Supermarket can provide everything from the right kind of knives (because you really cannot claim to be making Chinese food if you never use a cleaver) to authentically Chinese pots, pans and kitchen gadgets to fully equip your kitchen the Chinese way.

We earnestly believe that using the right tools for the job not only makes the Chinese meals that you produce even better and more authentic, the process of creation also becomes even more satisfying. Certainly you will feel more in touch with the food culture when you are performing the same processes in the same way as the cooks who come from that food culture.

Also, and we cannot stress this enough, we were not exaggerating when we said you needed to use a cleaver – not because it is immensely cathartic to chop things up using one (although it really, really can be) but because mastering the use of such a large knife with the required precision and delicacy, as you must to make your Chinese meals authentic, is a fabulous learning experience. The concentration and thought that is needed really helps to understand the philosophical approach that underlies Chinese food culture.

It is also incredibly important that home cooks keep in mind when they explore a Chinese Online Supermarket such as ours that there is a lot more to Chinese cuisine than the food you will be familiar with from restaurants, take-aways and even visits to the country. China is an immensely vast and varied country, so it is hardly surprising that it boasts a food culture that is equally vast and equally varied. Even talking about “Chinese food” as though it were one single monolith is to underestimate what we are dealing with. Indeed, it is as absurd as talking about “European food” and failing to recognise the difference between the way people eat in the sun drenched Mediterranean food cultures of southern Italy or Greece when compared to the way people eat in the colder climes of the North of Scotland or Germany. When you explore a Chinese online supermarket you should expect to discover many new and exciting things – because there is an awful lot just waiting to be discovered.

So when they come to explore our Chinese Online Supermarket we hope that British home cooks will come ready to challenge themselves and bring with them an enthusiasm to discover these new things. For our part we have an immense variety of authentic Chinese brands and ingredients to experiment with.

Let’s start with rice. In Chinese food culture – and indeed the other food cultures of Asia – rice is never simply “rice”. Getting the right kind of rice for the right dish really matters, and we have them all, including popular Chinese brands such as Beidahuang. Noodles too are never just noodles, just as with rice the wrong noodle in the wrong dish can ruin everything. We have every style of noodle imaginable, including popular Chinese brands such as Shuangzi and Super Q, helping you to build your dishes on an authentic foundation.

We also have all manner of fresh and frozen meats, fish and vegetables from regular supermarket staples like ginger and garlic to slightly more unusual fayre such as Mooli and Iron Yam. This allows you to avoid substituting authentic ingredients with more alternatives which neve quite give you the same effect.

Freshasia pork

Finally we have the finishing touches. From Freshasia pork and Chinese sauerkraut dumplings to Wong’s Pork Chinese mushroom bun, to sauces like Lee Kum Kee premium Oyster sauce and truly unusual ingredients such as Wang Lao Ji herbal jelly and Yu Feng black grass jelly. Brands that would be found in any Chinese domestic kitchen, as familiar to Chinese cooks as Heinz and Hellman’s are here in the UK.

Yu Feng black grass jelly

That is the potential of the online Chinese market. It gives regular UK cooks the ability to extend their culinary comfort zone by making new tastes and textures available. Being able to experiment and try new things in the comfort of their own kitchen helps to give people the confidence that comes with experience, and of course when people shop with us they also have the advantage of knowing that everything is of the finest possible quality.

And of course, here at Hiyou we can supply more than Chinese groceries. We are a one stop online Asian food shop with an array of products and ingredients from food cultures across the whole of the Asian continent – from Korea to Vietnam, Japan to Thailand and every point in between. Authentic Asian Food is our mission and our passion. When you shop with us you can discover not just the many food cultures of China but of a whole continent!

The potential is immense. A whole new world of food experiences is no more than a click away, with fast delivery right to your door you can explore the cuisines of China without ever leaving your kitchen!