My First Report On Searching For Foreign Or Imported Ingredients In Surabaya

Up to this day ( October 14, 2006 ), I have spent uncountable hours dedicated solely for the purpose of finding what is available (in term of ingredients) in Surabaya grocery stores.

Let me tell you how hard I have to look, and it's been an amazing experience to me to get to know my hometown for the first time because when I left this city, I did not even know how to boil an instant noodle. Going to a grocery stores means time to re-stocking my snack pile. I never walked near the fresh produce section. Just enter and go straight to the snack, candy, sweet drink section and get out.

Now, I skip the snack area, the carbonated drink area, the candy isle and go straight to their fresh produce section and their seasoning area. That's what 12 years of living abroad do to me!!! And off course motherhood and marriage...and so on...and so on...

Here is the list of the grocery stores that I have been to:

1. Both branches of Papaya - A popular place for foreigners in Surabaya to buy their grocery. I even found the same brand of Risotto that I bought in Canada there. They carry a lot of western seasonings and Japanese. Not much on Taiwanese and just a bit more on Korean seasonings.

2. Hero Supermarket in Mayjen Sungkono - I found that their meat and seafood section is so pitiful. But surprise...surprise, when I walked out from that place, outside the entrance door, a lady is selling Rosemary plant in her garden stall ( too tiny to be called a garden store ). It cost somewhere between Rp 20,000 to Rp 30,000 per plant depending their size. At first she said that she can sell me Lavender, but after I sent my driver to buy them, I found out that they are not Lavender. I returned them back to her and she really did not know that all this time after selling so many of them to many people over the years, that she is not selling lavender! I asked for more rosemary plants in exchange with the "lavender" that I bought from her and she gladly agreed.

3. Sogo Supermarket in Tunjungan Plaza - I was disappointed that this store because they are under renovation they have to reduce the items that they usually carries. I heard from my friend's wife who is also a Taiwanese that SOGO used to have one isle just for Taiwanese food but now they are gone!!!

4. Sinar Supermarket - I am pleasantly surprise that this old store near my home has been revamped by it's owner into a more trendy place. They carries a lot of fresh organic produce and I am absolutely happy when I found Fresh organic Dill and Mint there! They have many different types of fancy honey which absolutely thrill me. They have red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic, tahini, many shapes of pasta too. I like it that their veggies are very fresh looking, better than in Papaya. The choices of meat is also pretty good, they sell chicken skins, chicken intestine, chicken butt too if you want, hahaha. They have live fish, crabs, clams, shrimps in the water tank.

5. Sumber Rejeki
Plaza Graha Family C-43
Phone (031) 734-5558
My best friend "W" gave me the information for this store. They are a supplier to many restaurant. I bought Abalone sauce, chicken stock concentrate and beef too, the usual rice wines, and even Ching Kiang vinegar too. I also bought chicken stock in powder form that taste pretty good from Thailand. If I am not wrong they also sell a decent quality of Shitake mushroom and maybe dried red chilies.

6. A brand new grocery store just across from Surabaya International School ( my son's school in Ciputra area ). Next to Black Canyon Coffee, a franchise Thai Restaurant. It's hard to miss this store, because it's in a shape of a ship! - They carry a lot of Australian products, Korean instant noodles, and I bought Kochujang there, a Korean hot bean paste that is very important for a lot of Korean dishes. I found orzo pasta, big boxes of cereal like in the States/Canada too.

7. Makro - they sell a lot of Patin fish which is my father favorite fish for steaming.

8. Giant Superstores in Supermall - I bought fresh fish there and they offer to fry or grill them for me. In a Chinese restaurant, my father ordered a HK style steam fish using one type of fish ( Patin fish ), for 2 piece of tiny fish steak on that dish, it cost us Rp 67,000 ( $7 ), but then in here I bought the whole fish and it cost me only Rp 13,000 ( $ 1.4 ) and it's so easy to make anyway.

9. Carrefour - Not a bad place to look for meat and fish.

10. A very tiny store in Jl. Kertajaya where I bought pork intestine and other things too -- I just found out that pork here is so cheap like hell. We bought a 2 kg of intestine ( big and small intestines ), pork fat for making pork rind and pork oil, pork thigh, and total they only cost Rp 40,000 or US $ 4 !

11. Hokky -- they sell hot bean paste, hoisin sauce. I bought my Cantonese Rice wine there too and the black vinegar. Oh yes, I bought Taiwanese BBQ or Satay sauce there too, they have the normal one, the spicy one and the vegetarian one too.

12. Igor Bakery Store - I am very surprise that they sell Varlhona Cooking Chocolate there!!! I can't even find them in Vancouver. They are one of the best baking chocolate in the world! If you spent about a million Rupiah or 100 US dollars in few month, you can apply for their membership and get 10% discount. The owner of this bakery is very friendly and very kind.

13. Ranch Market 99 in Galaxy Mall - At this time, I can say that this place is THE best place to look for foreign ingredients. I keep getting a happy surprise from finding all kind of hard to get ingredients at this supermarket. Everything they do, they do it with international standard. If you come to this store when they just open, all of their employees will stand at the end of every isles and welcome you there! I can say that they almost carry everything that I need. EVERYTHING! You can buy their membership too, or if you spent more than Rp. 700,000 or US $ 70, you can get their 2 years membership for free. Then, every time you spent at least Rp. 500,000 or US $ 50, you get one free cooking class on that store. I also can say that this cooking class is great because I already went there and what makes it great is not only their teachers are good and friendly, they have unlimited budget ( in my opinion ) from the store, they can use all of those expensive imported ingredients, they can also try them so that in the future they can promote that products to their students to buy.! LOVE IT! I will post my cooking class experience on my future posting ....
For their company website, you can visit it at:

Ranch Market Mall Galaxy
Jl. Dharmahusada Indah Timur 35 -37
Phone: (031) 598-1199
Hotline: 0888-500-9336

14. Lotus at Jl. Prapanca 44-46. They supply hotels, restaurants and even offshore companies with fresh, frozen and packaged items, mostly from Australia. Their HQ is in Bali. Anyone can buy direct from them and their list of items is in the thousands. There are a lot of fresh vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses from them. Ask them to e-mail you a list of their products. They will deliver C.O.D. The telephone number is (031) 562 1139 and e-mail: --> This information is from one of my reader, Mr.Graeme T. Steel, thank you for helping me to update my list, I hope it can be beneficial for other expatriates or someone like me who just love cooking very very much!

15. Ebay, yes The Ebay online auction store! I add this entry because I think for people who truly loves the taste of fresh Tahitian Vanilla beans and I doubt it if I can find it here in a good condition. Before I move back to Surabaya, I tested my favorite Tahitian Vanilla beans online supplier ( The Organic Vanilla Bean Company ) to ship my order straight to Surabaya. Indonesian customs and post office have quite a notorious reputation. So I took a risk to put a large order from this store to ship their vanilla beans to my Surabaya home's front door and they did come on time , in great condition ( just like the pictures ) and for some reason the tax is cheap too ( maybe the customs never saw fresh vanilla beans before? ) . My order is for ½ lb Tahitian Vanilla Beans Govt Cert Organic .
It cost me US $ 27.99 + 11.99 ( for shipping) and I think the tax is only for another one or 2 dollars extra ( total is about US $ 42 )and I can get my greedy hands on this half a pound of fresh, very large, plump, organic, and even goverment certified vanilla beans!!! What do I do with that many vanilla beans? I made Vanilla bean ice cream that according to my father who is a Vanilla ice cream connoisseur taste better than Haggen-daz and even Baskin Robbins. The key of my recipe is on my home-made vanilla essence ( am I crazy or what making my own Vanilla essence? ).

Pic: Look at those plump Vanilla beans!!!

16. Ban Tjie Tong - This is for you who loves to cook authentic Chinese medicine soup ( Ciak Po ) and if you want to get your hands on Szechuan peppercorns. You can buy it here but don't ask for it in it's English name, just say that you want to buy "Hua Jiao", it means peppercorns.

Toko Ban Tjie Tong
Jl Jagalan 16 Surabaya
Tel : 031-353-7559

17. CV Sinar Young - Jl Kedundoro 24-26. This store is specializing in selling baking ingredients. You can buy it prepacked or by the bulk. The only thing that I couldn't find it here is pectin, but they have a quite extensive number of products there. They carries a lot of imported stuff too such as Dutch cocoa, German milk powder, and many more. If you love baking, this store is must. This store has been opened for jeez... maybe older than my age! My real age that is ( 33), not the "forever-21-age". This store also sells a lot of baking tools, but I would rather go to other stores for more selection on baking equipments, for example like :

Toko Arlisah
Jl Urip Sumoharjo 86 Surabaya
Tel : 031-534-1656

18. PT Sarana Indoguna Lestari - huge range of food items for hotels. Will sell to private consumers. They can give you printed list of 1,000s of items. Very much like LOTUS. The contact there is Nelly. You can ask for their printed out catalog.

PT. Sarana Indoguna Lestari
Jl. May Jen Sungkono No. 150
Tel. 031-565-1210
Fax. 031-565-1209

19. Korea Mart - A very small grocery store. I found the basic ingredients for making Kimchee in this store. For example, the fermented shrimp ( saeujeot ), black beans, red chili powder, pine nuts, red chili paste ( kochujang), soy bean paste, korean fish sauce, korean soy sauce, korean corn syrup, Sweet-potato starched noodles ( dangmyeon) that they use to make Japchae, seaweed, dried fishes, dried squid, roasted corn tea, frozen thin sliced meat, and a lot other thing that I can't write them here. This store may not be complete but I guess it can supply enough stuff for the basic Korean cooking. For the fermentend shrimp ( saeujeot ) I was told by a Korean mom in my son's school that she usually buy from a Korean Church member in Surabaya that only make this once a year. She said it's better than what the Korea Mart sell. She gave me one container from her freezer for free....

Korea Mart
Kompleks Surya Inti Permata
Jl. HR Muhammad
( 031) 734-3989

So that's what I did in the past 2 month.


Eliza said…
memang ranch 99 yg di jkt juga gitu, lumayan lengkap. papaya itu ada juga di jkt, tapi aku belum pernah pergi. masak iya di vancouver kamu gak pernah liat valrhona? disini banyak, di williams sonoma pun jual toh? oh, ya, kemarin ke fred meyer lupa beliin kamu seeds! ahahhahaa....sorry, pelupa banget nih!
kalian udah pake lagi ya BBQ yg dibeli disini, asyik banget tuh sih. aku kasian juga sama interior design mu, dia gak pernah liat org kayak kamu ya. untung2 masih mau dikerjain bikin kabinetnya...
Yohana Wu said…
I wish you can see the interior designer's face. Normally he has such a happy face but all of a sudden his face just "fell". It cost me US $ 90 to buy the propane tank but it will cost me only $ 8 to filled it up again. I better use my BBQ machine a lot huh?
Yohana Wu said…
Dear Yohana,

I am really enjoying reading Yohana's Culinary Journey which I stumbled
across when looking at food blogs. What I especially like is that much
what you say is about Surabaya, where I live. I know your face and I
think where I have seen it before.

Thanks for posting that great list of places to buy food items at. It
really helpful. I can't wait to see 99 Ranch Market. Other expatriate
teachers at my school say that it is really a wonderful place for

To add to your list, do you know of Lotus at Jl. Prapanca 44-46 in
Surabaya? They supply hotels, restaurants and even offshore companies
fresh, frozen and packaged items, mostly from Australia. Their HQ is in
Bali. Anyone can buy direct from them and their list of items is in the
thousands. I buy a lot of fresh vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses
them. Ask them to e-mail you a list of their products. They will
C.O.D. The telephone number is 562 1139 and e-mail:

I am really enjoying your culinary journey. I cook for myself each
and love the food of Indonesia but I also just love to cook Thai,
Italian, Moroccan and Mediterranean food. I have lived here for 18
from my native Australia.

I look forward to continuing to read your culinary journey. If you want
edit any of this and place it in Comments on your blog, please feel

Kind regards,


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