I really dislike terms like "Asian grocer" and "Indian shop," although I do use them. My family think I am oversensitive, but I don't like referring to the supermarket as the supermarket, the fish shop as the fish shop, while the place we buy our fish sauce and noodles from, and the other place we buy our lentils and spices from have ethnic tags, like they are somehow separate to us. I also grate at lazy, catch-all terms like "Asian" and "Indian," but the fact is, I can't detect the difference between a Chinese grocer and a Vietnamese one like I can an Eastern European-run deli and an Italian-run deli. *Sigh*... As my husband often says to me, I'm probably overthinking it.
Nathan Thai Video & Grocery has made it easy for me - it's very clear that it's a specialty Thai grocer. All your favourite spice pastes are there, plus interesting pickled ingredients like tiny pea eggplants.
It's a fun shop to poke around in, and reminds me of expat Aussie shops overseas, with lots of beauty products and junk food from the homeland. There are interesting teas:
The freezer is full of interesting goodies, like Thai sausages. They don't always have the brand below in stock, but do often have a homemade one in a ziplock bag, which is more of a sour style. On Saturdays, they may have the sour sausages on the counter, ready for you to take home and leave to mature on the bench. My sister has tried these and said they were just great, very garlicky, and that they could have easily stood in for continental sausages.
This Thai sausage is just delicious, "Thai-hot" and so flavoursome with big bursts of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. It's nice to have as an accompaniment to other Thai dishes with plenty of white rice, as it's very rich.
Quiz for the day: What is this? Look closely - it's a sort of rope encased in a hard, fragrant coating, somewhat like clay or very stale biscuit perhaps. Is it A. a chew toy for the police dog on the tea canister; B. part of some sort of brutal colonic cleansing regime; or C. something else? Leave a guess in the comments section!
Nathan Thai Video & Grocery
9 Paisley St, Footscray (map)
Phone: 9687 8588