Kam-Yuen Asian Market, Brussels

By - February 6, 2009 (Updated: May 30, 2016)

Frequent visits to the Asian grocery are one of the perks of living in our new loft in Brussels. I’ve just returned from such a trip with two full bags of goodies for 30 euro. Mostly though it’s the fun of exploring the aisles that I enjoy. I never know quite what I’m going to find.

The first time I ever visited an Asian grocery was in Amsterdam. There were two markets there that I frequented. One was big and bold and covered in dragon carvings on the outside. Inside, in addition to groceries they sold clothes, shoes, decorations and swords. It was all pretty high-end stuff. The other grocery was across the square and a whole other world. The customers were mostly Asian. The aisles were maze-like and the items on sale were a total hodge-podge and likely to have packaging written only in some Asian language.

My Asian market in Brussels is similar to the latter Amsterdam store. The Kam-Yuen market, or KY, as the huge purple and green sign unfortunately reads, is quite possibly the most random store I have ever been in. I can wander in there aimlessly for hours just picking things up and wondering what the heck they are, what do you cook with them and why the heck would anyone buy them in the first place. It is truely Asian in the sense that you can find foods from China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, England and the US (appearantly these last two have changed continents since the last time I looked at a map). The “organisation” of the store is also totally mind boggling. I’m sure in someone’s mind it made sense to put the “American” peanut butter beside the deep fried crispy anchovies

Despite these curiosities, Kam-Yuen remains one of my favorite places to shop. It’s the only place I’ve been able to find Pak Choi and today I discovered frozen edamame… Yay! I did however take a pass on the corn juice

We’ve  created a database of all of the great international grocery shops here in Brussels for you to enjoy.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison Cornford-Matheson
- 9 hours ago


  1. Comment by Sue

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Sue February 6, 2009 at 17:08

    mmmm…you are very lucky. I really miss the chinese grocery store in Halifax! And the wonderful chinese vegetables at the Farmer’s Market, grown by Ted in his no-GMO greenhouses.
    I have been able to track down my most important ingredients between Montreal and Ottawa, and I plan to go to the Ottawa Chinatown soon, as I hear I might do well there.
    “KY’s” website looks great…did I see a jar of guacamole there?
    Frozen edamame rocks…

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Alison February 6, 2009 at 17:12

    It is guac! Although that particular brand is terrible… then again most guac from a jar is terrible… and I have never, ever seen that there. It is possible that it’s hiding amongst the Korma curry paste and the freeze dried mango though…

  3. Comment by Shannon

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Shannon February 6, 2009 at 18:23

    ha ha.. so funny how you mentioned the “unfortunate” abbreviation. I was wondering if you went to that shop… it’s really fab though.. I love all the little bowls in the back, and often curse at the fact that for the time that I had enough money to shop extravagantly in BXL, I didn’t have a freezer.. which would have been great for storing all of those yummy dumplings!
    Can’t wait to visit and see your place 🙂

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