An Asian grocery store in Lille -

F. Launay / 20 Minutes

  • Lille hosts many grocery stores specializing in products from around the world.

  • Since January, three have opened and offer products from India, Eastern Europe or Japan.

  • Failing to be able to take the plane,

    20 Minutes

    invites you on a culinary journey by discovering these different specialties from Asia, Russia or North Africa.

No need to stir the knife in the wound, but it's been months since it has been possible to discover the cuisines of the world at the restaurant.

But to escape through food, it is sometimes enough to walk in grocery stores dedicated to products from elsewhere.

In Lille, we begin to be spoiled for choice when it comes to traveling while shopping.

Because more and more specialized grocery stores have emerged in recent years.

From India to the Maghreb via Japan or the countries of the East,

20 Minutes

offers you a world tour of food by simply walking through the streets of Lille.

Smoked sausages, caviar and pïerogi at Comptoir de l'Est

Until now, the culinary treasures of Eastern Europe had no dedicated place in Lille.

But since the beginning of January, this is no longer the case.

At the entrance to rue Gambetta, Alexandre and Julia, born in Ukraine and Russia, decided to open the Comptoirs de l'Est.

In this grocery store, you can find products from Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and even Russia.

Food products from Russia - F. Launay / 20 Minutes

“As flagship products, we have caviar but also smoked sausages.

We also have dairy products, smoked cheese, Georgian lemonades and even Kvass which is a natural Russian drink made from black bread.

And then, we obviously have pierogi that look like ravioli, ”explains Alexandre, who has chosen to settle in the capital of Flanders where the Polish community is very present.

Curry, garam masala, Indian vegetables and 20 kg bags of rice at Rangoli

Anil is originally from South India.

With Marine, his French wife, they opened Rangoli, an Indian grocery store, since February 13 on rue Gambetta, a few meters from the Wazemmes market.

India, Bangladesh, Pakistan or Mauritius, different food products from this region of the world are gathered in the same place.

Indian spices - F. Launay / 20 Minutes

“There are plenty of Indian products.

We have special flour to make Indian bread.

We also have different rices in different sizes.

We have 20 kg bags of rice for example.

We also have a lot of pickles, different curry pastes and many spices like garam masala.

Not to mention typical Indian drinks such as tea, ”says Anil.

When the health crisis is over, Rangoli will also be a tea room where it will be possible to taste Indian pastries.

Noodles and sauces spiced up in Asian convenience stores

In Lille, it is undoubtedly the most frequent type of foreign grocery store.

North Asia, Minh or even Asia Gambetta, the northern metropolis has no shortage of Asian supermarkets.

Inside, there are plenty of soups, pastas and sauces from Southeast Asia.

The flavors of China, Thailand or Vietnam are easily found there.

Chinese noodles - F. Launay / 20 Minutes

“What works well are the ready-made spicy soups that customers love.

But we also have many varieties of Chinese noodles to prepare your own soups.

As for sauces, there are different kinds such as oyster sauce or sesame oil.

We also have many peppers to spice up all that, ”says the manager of Asia Gambetta, an Asian mini-market open for five years close to the Museum of Fine Arts.

Our Gastronomy file

More than 200 references of spices at counters from Africa and the Orient

It is one of the oldest stores in Wazemmes.

Just behind the market place, counters from Africa and the Orient have been welcoming customers since 1984. The store supplies all the oriental restaurants in the region with raw materials.

Couscous, chickpeas, grapes, harissa, the warehouse is full of products from the Maghreb.

But individuals also come to provide them.

With a wide choice of spices.

Spices (illustration) - F. Launay / 20 Minutes

“We have 200 types of spices.

Coriander, cumin, ground or whole fennel, Tunisian or Moroccan mixtures.

We really have everything.

We also have chickpea purees, eggplant purees, stuffed vine leaves.

We also have Lebanese, Turkish and even Armenian and Romanian products that are crazy about vacuum-packed cabbages, ”says Hakim Agouni, a figure of Wazemmes, who took over the store created by his father.

Kit Kat with champagne, ramen and sake at Petit Konbini

It is the last born of the Lille grocery stores.

Open on March 2, Petit Konbini saw from the first day many customers queuing in front of the open shop on rue du Molinel.

Inside, Japanese culture reigns supreme.

Bowls of ramen, antiques or Ghibli (Japanese Disney) licensed products, there is something to seduce more than a fan of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Japanese products - F. Launay / 20 Minutes

After two years spent as a sommelier in Japan, Quentin decided to launch Petit Konbini upon his return to France.

With his sidekick Simon, a specialist in tea ceremonies, they first set off in Roubaix before moving to Lille.

And beyond the objects, there is also Japanese food and drink at Petit Konbini.

“In terms of alcohol, we have many references of sake and whiskey.

In the food department, we have ramen but also many Japanese sweets such as Kit Kat with strawberry champagne flavor or cheese cake.

We will also soon be making Bento take-out, ”says Quentin.


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