KUALA LUMPUR specifically...
TESCO This is a brilliant supermarket with chains all over the country. Expect aisles and aisles dedicated to rice, cooking oil and dried fish. The fresh food is not desperately fresh but come here for dried goods and 'Tesco finest' items. They offer a delivery service which is ideal for heavy, bulky things. There is not a huge selection of recognisable Western brands and there's a no alcohol delivery policy.
VILLAGE GROCER The go-to expat supermarket in a staunch expat area (Bangsar Village). It stocks many international brands and has a decent organic selection, a non-halal area, an OK collection of alcohol and, quite often, British chocolate.
COLD STORAGE If you’re hunting for a Western ingredient, the chances are it’s in here somewhere. The best place for obscure varieties of fresh herbs too.
BEN'S INDEPENDENT GROCER A luxury supermarket, Ben's has an on-site bakery, in-house hydroponic lettuce, deli, chocolatier, an oyster bar and an enormous stock of organic, international products. You get the idea. It's heaven. Bring your credit card.
SRI KOTA The stores are packed in like some sort of grocery tardis: boxes are piled high in the narrowest aisles and it sells, quite literally, everything. Spoiler alert: despite this, you can rarely rely on finding what you want - the stocking policy changes continually and whoever is in charge of buying is idiosyncratic at best. The most random product that was recently displayed by the case load? Tins of Scottish haggis. The flagship store is in Brickfields and is spread over three floors but must carry enough stock on the shop floor for about eight stores. They also offer online shopping.
IKEA Boringly brilliant for kitchen (and home) basics. Check out their kilner jars which are perfect for keeping Patience's Granola (page 23) crunchy and fresh.
TANGS Has a good kitchenware department and a reliable selection of appliances that won't fall to bits in minutes.
- This Malaysia shopping guide was curated by Helen Duncan.