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Why You Won’t Miss Your Ethnic Food in Timaru

love timaru asian food groceries stores

By Jewel Castillon

When we moved from Auckland to Timaru almost nine years ago, one of my concerns was where to get Asian and Filipino ingredients.

Surely, we will not have to drive to Christchurch, which is 165 km away or two hours drive just to get these ingredients we use daily.

But my concerns dissipated after a few weeks living in Timaru.

The first specialty grocery shop I get acquainted with and got my precious ethnic ingredients was at Bin Inn at Dee Street.

Then I found this little vegetarian shop just at the south end of Stafford Street in Timaru a few weeks later. This shop also sells Asian ingredients that sometimes are not available in the leading supermarkets. Sadly, they are closed for a few years now.

Fast forward today, there are already three specialty groceries in Timaru.

The latest addition is the Red Chilli Pantry in Stafford Street. They not only sell Asian ingredients, but there are European, Middle Eastern, Indian, and other ethnic ingredients.

Another one is the City of Spices in North Street, which sells Indian and other ethnic food and ingredients.

For a district with 46,296 people (2018 Census), Timaru has four supermarkets, and each has an international section.

If you’re busy and you don’t have much time to cook, there are several ethnic restaurants such as Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, and even a Greek one 12 km from the main town.

Timaru also has your regular fast food faves like KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Subway.

So, there you go, your palate will definitely be satisfied when you are visiting or living in Timaru.

Do you know that Timaru also produces its local honey, cheese, and preserves and sauces from its local produce?

We will feature these in our next blog.

About the Author

Jewel is a passionate cook and baker. She has the penchant for developing her techniques and recipes.

After finishing her NZ Diploma in Advance Cookery with Patisserie at the former Aoraki Polytechnic (now, Ara Institute of Canterbury), she put up her cafe, Food Haven in 2015. She and her husband operated it for four years.

In between her job as a researcher for the Climate Adaptation Platform, Jewel continues to pursue her passion for cooking and gardening, learning and discovering more.

She will be blogging about food and gardening in LOVE Timaru. Watch out for her articles. 🙂


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