Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Asian groceries in Siena or Florence


Recommended Posts

Mr. Duck and I will be heading to Italy next month. His sister lives with about 20 other people on a farm near Siena. We always eat very well there, but on our last visit, one of her housemates hinted that he wanted me to cook an authentic Chinese meal. I’m delighted to oblige. The dishes that I’ve had in mind are not the fancy banquet-style stuff, but more Ah Leung-type dishes, since that is what I do best. I'm willing to adapt to what is available, and am planning on bringing some jars of sauces and condiments, but:

What type of fresh ingredients I can get in Italy? Ginger? Tofu? Scallions? Greens?

Where can I find them either in Siena or Florence?

…and what can I NOT bring into Italy?

Thanks for your help!

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Duck and I will be heading to Italy next month.  His sister lives with about 20 other people on a farm near Siena.  We always eat very well there, but on our last visit, one of her housemates hinted that he wanted me to cook an authentic Chinese meal.  I’m delighted to oblige.  The dishes that I’ve had in mind are not the fancy banquet-style stuff, but more Ah Leung-type dishes, since that is what I do best.  I willing to adapt to what is available, and am planning on bringing some jars of sauces and condiments, but:

What type of fresh ingredients I can get in Italy?  Ginger? Tofu?  Scallions?  Greens?

Where can I find them either in Siena or Florence?

…and what can I NOT bring into Italy?

Thanks for your help!

I actually spent a summer on a farm just outside of Siena near Rosia and managed to cook an Asian dinner for everyone on the farm. I had a friend bring me sauces and condiments from home (curry pastes, black bean sauce, etc). In Siena there is at least one chinese restaurant where they have a small shop attached. I remember you could get rice, noodles, and coconut milk there amongst other items. To my recollection they don't have any fresh produce. For tofu, soy sauce, shoyu, sesame oil and perhaps some other items, there is a health food store just outside the city centre of Siena. I'm sorry I can't be more specific than that, it's been a couple of years since I have been there.

You can find ginger in the larger grocery stores like the COOP. I couldn't find scallions though which was really disappointing (I wanted to make white cut chicken). I also didn't see any chinese greens in any grocery stores, but you can find things like swiss chards, spinach, broccoli, etc. Also, in Siena I couldn't find any fresh seafood, nor did I see raw frozen seafood, except fish fillets.

Hope this helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Duck: Conduct a search in this forum on Chinese food in Italy first. You'll see references to the growing numbers of Chinese in Italy, with communities concentrated in areas of leather goods and the tourist trade. (You can learn more about that demographic & industry by switching to Google). Most tourists seeking jackets, gloves, briefcases and so forth focus are snapping photographs in Tuscany. For some reason I think the area around Pistoia is promising, but you'd need to do a little research to be sure. In any case, you should be in luck depending on the airport you've selected for your arrival and how you're getting around.

Siena is very close to Florence where the Mercato Centrale is rich in seafood.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ciao

there is a huge market called VIVI, on via del giglio right by the medici chapel ( and the san lorenzo market)

I can get chinese, mexican, philipino ingredients.

I won't be going down until Sept 1...

but soy sauce, oyster sauce, noodles, several kinds..

I can buy won ton wrappers, and even frozen dumplings.

Fresh ginger no problem.. green onion... it is the season now. but they may be a little larger.

I have not seen snowpeas...

have seen bok choy...there are other markets too.. upstairs now in the san loreznzo market some of the new stands are owned by new immigrants and more non ITalian ingredients are coming in.

have fun!

no fortune cookies!!! ha ha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^Perfetto!! Grazie, Divina.

Do you remember which brands of sauces they carry? (I'll probably shlep some there anyway so I can be sure that I have the brand I like.)

This is going to be fun. Mr. Duck requested chow fun, but I have a couple of weeks to perfect my recipe before it goes public.

We're going to be in Florence Sept. 17-20th, and I'm going to try to convince Mr. Duck to take one of your classes.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool, divina!! I'd love to take a dim sum course. My mom stopped making har gows before I was born--my sisters ate them faster then she could wrap them, so she decided it just wasn't worth it. :sad:

I'm leaning towards bringing my sauces and buying fresh stuff in Florence. hathor, I'm curious--what are you envious about?

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool, divina!!  I'd love to take a dim sum course.  My mom stopped making har gows before I was born--my sisters ate them faster then she could wrap them, so she decided it just wasn't worth it.  :sad:

I'm leaning towards bringing my sauces and buying fresh stuff in Florence.  hathor, I'm curious--what are you envious about?

I live in rural Umbria...my food choices are limited. Or, let me say, my 'international' food choices are extremely limited. We can get some stuff in Perugia, but compared to what I'm used to in NY..... well, it just doesn't compare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ingredients will also be ery expensive here..sauces etc.. I would think.

I remember $7 peanut butter!

the store is fun though, i can get phillipino, japanese, mexican and chinese ingredients.

Phyllo dough.. and they have cranberry juice!!!

some great frozen products. won ton wrappers too!

I already make some dim sum... as I learned to do everything.. as there was nowhere to eat it!

I also do some simple sushi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

We're back.

I flaked, and forgot to write down the name and location of VIVI. Somehow I got it in my mind that it was near the Mercato Centrale, so we were walking around looking for it. No luck, but we did find several smaller Asian groceries that sold lots of fun stuff. Yes, much more expensive than we get in the states. Luckily, I brought all the condiments we needed, and found ginger and scallions at the Mercato Centrale. There were also scallions and (I think) ginger at the COOP in Siena.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...