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Spring is in the air, which means one thing – all the Swedes who have been hiding indoors all winter are flooding the streets, armed with sunnies and ice cream no matter what the temperature. YLC knows the best places to enjoy the warm weather – so grab your camera and let’s get going!

Kungsträdgården

This one’s obvious. Located smack in the city near Centralen and Östermalmstorg, Kungsträdgården offers the perfect spot for some nature rehabilitation after a day of work or shopping. The famous cherry blossoms are in bloom and if you don’t go see it for yourself, you’ll suffer severe regrets when your social media is swamped by stunning shots of the flowers.

Bergianska Trädgården

If you’re ever out near Stockholm University or the Swedish Museum of Natural History, keep walking – you’ve almost reached the hidden gem of the Bergian Gardens, or Bergianska trädgården. The garden has been in place since 1885 and some of the plans are over 100 years old. There are greenhouses and indoor sections of the gardens, but now that the weather is warming up the outdoors are in bloom as well. The magnificent magnolias are not to be missed, and there are entire grass carpets of small blue flowers.

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Rosendals Trädgård

Djurgården is always a lovely place to enjoy spring anyway, as the parks open and ice cream kiosks litter the path along the water. But the Rosendal Botanical Gardens are a highlight. Not only can you enjoy a delicious ecological lunch prepared from the produce grown there, you can wander the brick paths gathering your own fruits, flowers and vegetables directly. Enjoy the spring air and then prepare a meal of Stockholm produce you picked yourself!

The surrounding park also features at least one example of every single species of tree native to Sweden, making the trip educational as well.

Fjällgatan

The weather is now warm enough to stroll along Fjällgatan, a little old street on Södermalm, between Erstagatan and Renstiernas gata. You won’t find cherry blossoms or magnolias here, but you will see a stunning view of the city, peppered with green and surrounded with blue as summer approaches. Go when it’s sunny and you’ll immediately be put in the mood - sommartider, hej, hej! 

 

Featured Image: Rebecca Martin/YLC Stockholm
Body Image: Ola Ericson/Imagebank Sweden

For those of you in the mood to go out and about this weekend to sample the best of Swedish Easter – here’s a selection of what’s on in the next few days!

 

Easter Market

There is no place where you can experience Swedish traditions to beat open air museum Skansen. This weekend you can enjoy the beautiful weather at the Easter Market – learn more about Sweden and about what makes Easter so special here.
 

Hunting for Eggs

For those in the mood for a good old fashioned Egg hunt – there are several to choose from. For a royal setting, head over to the Royal Palace  for their Golden Egg Hunt, for the more arty approach, choose Millesgården and for the budding scientists – there is the Nobel Museum.
 

Enjoying the weather

Although today is a bit glum, the forecast for this weekend is absolutely gorgeous – so take the opportunity to get out and about on town on foot or on your bikes. For a detailed guide about the best walks in Stockholm, check out this site – or if you want to explore for yourself, check out our guide to Stockholm neighbourhoods.
 

Easter Fare

Most expats say that Swedish Easter food is more or less he same as Swedish Christmas food or any other Smörgåsbord, but this isn’t strictly the case. To sample some  Traditional Easter Fare why not check out restaurant Fåfängan, which is promising a traditional Easter Buffet in the evening and brunch during the day this weekend. Other places we like that offer an Easter menu include Långholmens Wärdshus and Långbro Wärdshus. 

 

Whatever you choose to do – have a lovely weekend and a very HAPPY EASTER!

 

Featured Image: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se

If your idea of roller derby is women skating around in circles and beating each other up, you are in need of an update! In fact – it is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, not to mention in Sweden.

Modern-day roller derby has grown and developed dramatically since its revival in the early 2000s into a genuine athletic sport with well-defined rules. The classic roller derby was invented in the 1930s and it was played as a legitimate sport, but by the 1960s theatricality and spectacle had taken over and scripted bouts with predetermined outcomes were common, much like in pro wrestling. This development led to the demise of the sport in early 1970s. It wasn’t until the grassroots revival of the sport in the early years of the 2000s that the current form really started making a mark. Some aspects of the entertainment value were retained, including the colourful uniforms and the campy player pseudonyms, but the athletic qualities of a full-on contact sport took over.

Roller derby is growing internationally and dominated by all-female amateur teams, with a very strong DIY ethic and often a feminist aesthetic.

The sport is organized under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the first Roller Derby World Cup was arranged in 2011 in Canada with 13 countries competing, including Sweden who finished in sixth place. The second World Cup will be held in December this year, with an expected 30 countries participating.

Stockholm Roller Derby (STRD) is the oldest roller derby league in Scandinavia, founded in 2007. While the early years were a struggle in terms of slow recruitment and lack of practice venues, the 2009 movie Whip it! brought on a wave of interest and by 2010 they played their first bout against Helsinki. In 2011, STRD became apprentice members of the WFTDA, gaining full membership in December 2012. The Stockholm league boasts many members of Team Sweden and they are also the reigning Swedish champions.

700-Swede_Hurt_heart_in_bout_vs_Gent

YLC had the opportunity to attend Stockholm Roller Derby’s practice (scrimmage) on a late Sunday evening in Farsta. The roller girls who turned up for practice were from all of STRD’s three teams, the Allstars, the BSTRDs and the latest addition Gonna-Bes. They all really played impressively hard considering it was practice against their own team mates.

The A-team seemed to be in especially good form, including skaters with names like Swede Hurt, Mad Malooney, Lil Slinky, Red E Krueger and Mount NeveRest.

Scrimmage means practicing in the same format as matches are played. Two teams of five members skate counterclockwise on a circuit track. Each team designates a scoring player, the “jammer”, while the other four members are “blockers”. The “bout” consists of “jams”, plays that last up to two minutes. During a jam, points are scored when a jammer laps members of the opposing team. Blockers use body contact, changing positions and tactics to assist their own jammer to score while hindering the opposing team’s jammer.

The Stockholm league also has international members, including Evil Liza who had just moved from Canada two weeks prior to the practice and was already training with the team. She has played roller derby for three years and told YLC she felt her old team had become like a family to her. She said she was missing them, but hoping to gain a new family in Stockholm through the sport. There really seems to be a strong sense of community among the derby girls and a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.

700-Scrimmage-EvilLiza00

When we met up, the Stockholm team were preparing for a historical bout against an American team, the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls from Denver, held on the 19th of April.

“I went to a conference in the US with lots of people from different WFTDA leagues and heard from a Rocky Mountain player they would be playing London and were looking to combine that with something else. So I basically suggested they come over to Stockholm as well” STRD star player Swede Hurt told YLC.

Stockholm Roller Derby is providing Rocky Mountain with a venue to hold a Boot Camp for roller derby players, referees and officials. In exchange they get the chance to play a bout against one of the top teams in the world.

“It’s going to be a great match! It just really hit me that this is the first time an American team is playing in Sweden. That’s kind of a big deal!”

Rocky Mountain is currently ranked number 9 in the world, while STRD is at 123 in the WFTDA ranking. Despite this the STRD are one of the top teams in Europe and the European teams are most likely under-ranked in the official ranking, since they have not played against American teams so much as of yet.

“In early May we are also going to Florida for a tournament, where we will meet several very good teams ranked around positions 20 to 30. It feels like we may be in way over our heads, but it’s going to be a great experience,” said Swede Hurt.

She hopes that playing these international matches will give the team and the sport a higher status at home and help them with their every-day problem of getting training times. Currently the team has to train at different locations around Stockholm and at less-than-ideal times.

“Like this is exactly what I would like to be doing at 10pm on a Sunday night”, she says with a wink after practice.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see world-class sports entertainment and experience the coolest sport around for yourself. It will be well worth your while getting to the Visättra sports hall in Huddinge on the 19th of April at 17:30 to witness Stockholm Roller Derby taking on Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.

More details about the event can be found here!

A small group of witches pounding on your door?  A gaggle of hags making their way up your garden path? It must be Maundy Thursday in Stockholm!  Clueless but have kids that want to join in the fun? Check out the YLC guide to easy-peasy Easter Hagging!

 
Ok, so we’ve all seen them – the little girls and boys dressed up as Easter hags on Maundy Thursday, going door to door offering home-made Easter cards and getting sweets, fruit, or a coin as a reward. This, the closest Sweden ever traditionally got to trick-or-treating, is a tradition which dates back to at least the 19th century

The tradition to go Easter-hagging (the Swedish verb is ‘gå påskkärring’) varies a little depending on where you are in Sweden. In western Sweden the little hags are seen on Holy Saturday (Easter Eve) but in most of the country – and most specifically in Stockholm – it will happen on Maundy Thursday.

It could be worth while stocking up on some treats yourself – just in case you get a visit from a hag or two. And no, before you grumble about the sweet-toothed Swedes – it doesn’t have to be candy. Most hags will be happy with a packet of raisins or a clementine as well. And if they’re not – then what of it? Remember –  Easter hagging doesn’t include the trick threat of Halloween!

Now, you may not think it is necessary to take part in all Swedish traditions (in fact many Swedes don’t take part in any of them) but if you are going to pick and choose – this one is quite nice. Also – your kids friends will be doing it.

OK, so you’ve decided to have a crack at this? But how to go about it?

Well, the nice thing about this tradition is that you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on fancy dress. Neither do you need to sit up late agonizing over a costume that needs stitching. In fact – all you really need to make your offspring fit right into the hordes of little Easter hags milling about on the day – can be found in your make-up bag and hall closet. That is, unless you want to spend a fortune or create elaborate costumes – then that’s OK too. I just know I’m not gonna. And neither will Anna, Eva and Ingrid down the street. Just sayin’.
 

Anyway – so here’s what you do. You’ll need:

 
1 child, preferably up for dressing up like an Easter hag

Blusher

Eye-pencil

Scarf

That’s it. Optional extras include a pinafore, some sort of brass pot (very popular) and a little wicker basket in which to carry the home-made cards. Note though that as few parents nowadays would let their kids go Easter-hagging on their own – you’d most likely be walking down the street carrying a largish brass pot and a small wicker basket.

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1. Start with ensuring that the child wants to dress up like an Easter hag (I know from experience that this is essential. Otherwise you might as well give up. Really, do.)

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2. Second, using your blusher, paint two large red circles on the apples of said child’s cheeks. (Mine wanted a little on its nose too. ‘Like Rudolph’, apparently. I think she may have misunderstood the exercise a little.

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3. Follow on with freckles. Easter hags are mad on freckles – can’t get enough of them! This, incidentally, was the child’s fave part. ‘It felt funny’, you see.

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5. Add scarf to head. Tie a knot under chin. (Attempt to ignore that child has already wiped a lot of the make up off on your white sofa.) Inquire from child if it requires the optional extras. In my case no. (Phew – would have had locate mentioned brass pot from somewhere under the snow in the garden.)

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5. Keep your fingers crossed that the child isn’t already fed up, now refusing to leave the house and pulling faces like this.

 
And that’s it. Common sense, really. Said child is ready to go out, ring doorbells, give out Easter cards and raking in the rewards.

Now do make sure your kid has made more of an effort with the Easter cards than you did with the outfit – it’s serious business, Easter hagging! :)

Photo: Lena Granefelt/imagebank sweden; private

 

Swedish fashion chain H&M has over 200 stores in the United States and launched online shopping for American customers last year. But despite the lavish lure of Hollywood Hills and marvelous Manhattan, the company has never collaborated with an American designer – until now. This fall the brand will be graced with the flair of none other than Alexander Wang.

“We are of course happy about the collaboration, and we look forward to giving more information closer to the launch,” H&M press secretary Karin Bringevall told YLC when the news was made public.

The chain has hosted designs by fashion elites such as Isabel Marant, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Versace. Alexander Wang is the next in an increasingly impressive legacy.

Wang’s typical approach to fashion is irreverent and relaxed, or as H&M describes it, a seamless blend “between the refined and the imperfect” – a perfect match for Swedish sensibilities”.

“Alexander Wang is one of the most important voices in fashion today,” said H&M creative advisor Margareta van de Bosch in a statement to the press.

“He understands exactly what people want to wear and does it with an energy and passion that’s infectious.”

Ever audacious, Wang announced the collaboration via his Instagram account, and the official statement came during the Coachella Music Festival.

Wang said he hopes the collection will bring elements of luxury lifestyle and fashion to a wider audience, and that he is honoured to work with H&M.

Wang Lookbook

Wang’s designs from Spring 2014. Images: Alexander Wang Lookbook

“The work with their team is an exciting, fun process,” said Wang in an official statement.

“They are very open to pushing boundaries and to set a platform for creativity.”

The collection, including both apparel and accessories, will be available online on November 6, 2014, and will be sold in 250 H&M stores across the globe.

 

Featured Image: Collage of logo and press image by Steven Klein

Learning to live gluten-free in a new city can be a challenge. YLC contributor Hannah Bradley spent 6 months exploring options: the result is her fantastic guide to gluten-free Stockholm.

Navigating a new city can be tough for anyone but to find your way around the gluten-free options in a new town, new country and in a new language is even tougher. To start we begin this guide with some important words to help you when finding gluten-free food in Sweden:

The lingo

Glutenfritt – gluten-free

Glutenfria – gluten-free

Glutenintolerans – gluten intolerance

Celiaki – Celiac disease

Vete – wheat

Råg – rye

Korn – barley

Dinkel – spelt

Spelt – spelt

Kamut – Khorasan wheat

Rågvete (triticale) – a hybrid of wheat and rye

 

Semla from ‘Friends of Adam’

Gluten-free options in and around Stockholm

 
Friends of Adam - Hornstulls Strand 13

A bakery specialising in gluten-free baked goods. Some highlights include semla, muffins, crisp bread, pizza bases and gluten-free loaves ranging from fruit bread to seeded breads. You can also order cakes from their website. Prices start at around 35 kr for semlor/muffins.

 

Vurma - Bergsunds Strand 31

A very popular café all year round. As well as the usual salad options, they have gluten-free bread available, which means that you can have any of the sandwiches on the menu made gluten-free. They have a small selection of sweet treats available.

 

Pizzeria MosebackeMosebacke Torg 9

Mosebacke offer a great gluten-free pizza base. They add a surcharge, which makes it quite an expensive option but it is the best gluten-free pizza I have had in Stockholm. This would make a large lunch or regular size dinner. You can takeaway or eat in.

 

Crêperie Fyra KnopSvartensgatan 4

They do French galettes – pancakes made with buckwheat flour. There are lots of savoury options from ham to fish, with lots of vegetarian options too. Prices range from 72 to 112 kr.

 

Café MacchiatoHornsgatan 63

Similar to the above, they offer gluten-free galettes – a savoury pancake made with buckwheat flour. I can recommend the parma ham and mozzarella one served with sundried tomato. Delicious as a lunch option. Prices start at 69 kr for a mini galette to 115 kr. They also offer jacket potatoes and salads, you should ask for it without the bread.

 

Urban Deli - Nytorget 4

Urban Deli have a dagens lunch offer every day for 110 kr. You need to ask the wait staff but it is often gluten-free, and if the special is battered fish, they have offered in the past to grill it for you without the batter. You can also request gluten-free bread to go with your meal at no extra cost. They stock Friends of Adam bread. The salad bar and coffee is included in the price (as well as bread and biscuits for those who can eat them). Urban Deli is one of my personal favourites as you get a hot meal with good quality ingredients.

As well as a restaurant, Urban Deli also has a shop on the side selling many gluten-free items including gluten-free bread and cakes.

 

Chutney - Katarina Bangata 19

A vegetarian restaurant serving a range of stews and curries, e.g Indian, Thai, French or Mexican stew served with rice. They are full of flavour and they have at least 2 gluten-free options every day. They allow you to go back for seconds at no extra cost and they have a selection of gluten-free cakes. They also serve dinner in the evenings until 22.00.

 

Under Kastanjen Kindstugatan 1, Gamla Stan

A great café with a nice courtyard area tucked away from the more touristy areas of Gamla Stan. They have a large selection of gluten-free cakes – often at least 6 cake options ranging from gluten-free semla, chocolate truffle cake with a hazelnut base, carrot cake and lemon cake, to name a few. They bake their cakes on the premises and offer gluten-free bread so they can make sandwiches at your request. They are licensed and have gluten-free beer.

 

Vetekatten - Kungsgatan 55

Vete-katten is a well know option for lunch and fika in the city. For lunch they offer ‘matig’ which is like a mini baguette. If they don’t have any on display you can usually request it and choose your filling e.g. you can have brie and salami with sundried tomato for 69 kr. They offer gluten-free semlor for 38 kr, as well as a selection of mousse-based cakes.

 

Food Chains

 
McDonalds

Not a favourite of mine but good to know that is an option. They offer gluten-free burgers and their fries are gluten-free. The website tells you every gluten-free option.
 
Burger King

Again, not a favourite but their gluten-free burger is actually not bad and their fries are also gluten-free.
 
Pizza Hut

All of Pizza Hut’s pizzas are available with a gluten-free base in a single size. I have not tried this personally but have heard that it is good.
 
Wayne’s Coffee

Gluten-free bread rolls available in some branches. They also offer a gluten-free chocolate cheesecake.

 

Vurma gluten free sandwich

Gluten-free sandwich at Vurma

Safe options when dining out

Certain types of food tend to be gluten-free and can be a safe option if you’re in an area you don’t know. Indian food is an example; Indian restaurants don’t tend to use any gluten in their curries. A personal favourite is Happy IndiaSankt Paulsgatan 35, in Södermalm.

Roast dinners and meat or fish dishes are usually a safe option too as they are usually just roasted or fried and served with vegetables, you just need to check that any sauce it is served with is gluten-free. For lunch, many cafés offer salads, jacket potatoes, soup and quinoa or rice dishes – be careful that they are not served with bread on top or croutons, as these are not always mentioned on the menu. Sushi is mostly gluten-free if you stay away from the soy sauce, but always ask as sometimes the mayonnaise or crab sticks may contain gluten. Lots of larger hotels in Stockholm offer a variety of gluten-free options for breakfast including pastries and bread. You do not usually need to be staying in the hotel to dine there so these are an option as well.

Most restaurants are getting used to requests for ‘gluten-free’ options, but there are still people who don’t know exactly what foods contain gluten. It is worth asking wait staff to check with the chef if they do not sound confident.

 

Gluten-free shopping

For food shopping, Hemköp, ICA and Coop all have separate gluten-free sections offering everything from corn-based pasta to flour and gluten-free biscuits. You will find many other gluten-free options such as quinoa and sausages etc in the regular aisles. It is also worth checking out the freezer sections as many of them have a separate gluten-free section in the freezer aisles as well, this is where they keep gluten-free breads, cakes and pizza bases.

Smaller health food shops also stock a good range of gluten-free foods, although these are usually a higher priced option. There are many health food shops on Södermalm around Slussen, Mariatorget and Medborgarplatsen.

 

If you’re new to Stockholm or a recently diagnosed celiac, this will hopefully give you a starting point. Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments!


Useful websites:

 Swedish Celiac Society: For 250 SEK a year you can become a member.

Allergimat.com - Swedish website about celiac disease, it contains a number of useful fact-sheets and recipes.

 

Featured Image: Tuukka Ervasti/ imagebank.sweden.se
Text and Photo: Hannah Bradley

Hat Exhibition, Halwyl House

As always there are heaps of fun things to do in Stockers this coming weekend. To help you out (we’re nice this way) YLC has found some gems. You’re welcome.

For filmbuffs and other culture fiends – the  Russian Film festival KinoRurik kicks off Friday the 4th with  Poisons, or the World History of Poisoning (subtitles in English).

For those that appreciate a good beat flavoured poetry reading – why not drop in at Izzy Young’s Folklore Centrum for On the Road Again on Saturday (5th) in the afternoon? A nice eclectic crowd is a given at Izzy’s place and you might even get to hear the lyrics to one of the songs that Bob Dylan wrote especially for him…

If any of this just simply isn’t risqué enough for your sophisticated tastes why not dig out your glad rags and dark pearls and swing by Burlesque Night at Melt Bar on Saturday night?

And for the kiddywinks, you ask?

Of course, there is the pillow fighting on Saturday – you shouldn’t miss that! Fun for all the family – just bring enough pillows!

And why not take them to Zebradans new dance show Lövkoja this weekend, or perhaps to see the hat exhibition and the hat workshop at Halwyl house on Saturday? On Sunday, the whole family would enjoy a trip to Tolv Stockholm to enjoy their child friendly brunch.  

So there you have it – go forth and enjoy! We know WE will!

For more ideas on what to do in April, check out our guide to what not to miss in Stockholm this month! 

Featured Image: Erik Lernestål

 

Spring spells birds, bees…and all things bridal! It’s the season couples spend big on bubbly, bouquets and bridesmaids. Small wonder that there’s little cash left for THE DRESS. YLC checked out a vintage wedding fair to get the lowdown on how not to spend an arm and a leg…

While being a cheapskate on your wedding day is not recommended, tight budgets are forcing couples to get creative. From hand made invites, upcycled decor and roping in the family to do the catering – there’s an endless way to make your nuptials affordable.

But what about the dress you ask?! New ones cost a few thousands of crowns. If you’re lucky. If you’re not, best start selling a kidney or two to finance the thing. The whole shebang is enough to turn a girl into bridezilla in a flash of lace and beading.

dresses2So is there a solution? In the name of science, I swallowed my fear of excessive tulle and went to Beyond Retro’s Vintage Wedding Dress Fair to find out. For over a year, vintage experts scoured the length and breadth of North America to dig out the choicest bridal gowns across the Atlantic. Meticulously hand picked for their historical AND trend factor, 300 of these babies went on display at their Zinkensdamm store last week.

Theres definitely nothing Corpse Bride about the collection. The 300 gowns ranged from exquisite lacy offerings straight out of the silent film era to fun, flirty affairs that end above the knee. The cheapest cost no more than 400 crowns.

Turns out, you can look a million dollars without having to spend a million!

“April is the traditional month for trying on wedding dresses,” Anna Svensson, PR Manager, told YLC.

Despite sambo status being the norm, marriages are making a comeback in Sweden. According to Svensson, wedding dresses are even bigger here than in England where Beyond Retro’s flagship store opened. The idea is to attract the growing number of couples getting hitched.

Kicking off the 3-day-fair with a suitably girly evening of champagne and chocolate, over 200 brides-to-be crammed the store with their entourage of mums, girlfriends and even a supportive male or two.

“It was so inspiring to see strong, independent women looking at the dresses with their fiancées, who cares if the dress is not expensive,” said Kiara who works at the store.

Think one of a kind pieces, channeling old Hollywood glamour, flapper suave and gothic chic. There’s romance and style a plenty. Luckily, not a shred of crushed velvet in sight (told you they were experts). If you’re game, you can even buy their oldest piece from the 30’s and wear a bit of history down the aisle.

With vintage, there’s always an element of luck. Is it too long? Was it owned by dead royalty? Why were people so THIN back then (the answer is usually ‘war’)? But when you DO find your dress, you can be assured that it’s a one off.

dresses3While the fair is over for this year, you can still buy other bridal must haves. Lace brollies, gloves, flower garlands, embellished headdresses, vintage lingerie (still not sure about second hand underwear factor), feathers, faux fur, sequins and shoes. Its not all about the ladies either. Guys can suit up with their impressive bow tie selection, waistcoats and head gear. Whether you go vintage, retro or throwback you’ll impress the socks off the congregation. All that extra cash you save means more money for the wedding liquor fund! Who says we don’t look out for our readers?

Beyond Retro, Zinkensdamm
Brännkyrkagatan 82
www.beyondretro.com
 
 
 
 
For other vintage gems, check out our guide to Stockholm’s second hand shops! There’s also a Vintage Fair going on in the city this weekend!

 

 

Want to recreate overpriced pad thai (because, let’s face it, who can afford to eat out in Stockholm)? Want to impress your mates with a sushi party but don’t know where to find ingredients? YLC to the rescue!

Every self-respecting city has legions of Asian grocers. Stockholm is catching the trend like a hipster in heat, but the stores can be a minefield of pungent, slimy and scary textures for the uninitiated. Fear not, YLC’s guide will help you tick gochujang, shrimp paste and lemongrass off your shopping list like a pro.
 

First, mental preparation.

You need to be prepared before diving into the jungle of Asian supermarkets. You’ve got to have the right mindset. When you enter a store, remember:

1.  Be adventurous

2. Poke, prod, sniff and squeeze (politely of course). You’ve got five senses, use ‘em!

3. Ask advice from shoppers and staff about ‘thousand year old eggs’ or ‘vacuum packed jellyfish’

4.  Use Asian Market Shopper or Asian Ingredients 101 apps (yes, they exist) to decode mysterious ingredients

5. Giggle at hilariously translated English labels

6.  Buy something awesome sounding each time

 

 Mapping the Landscape

Most stores follow a basic format. The guide below helps you find stuff and prevent you from hyperventilation when confronted with jars of fermented anchovies that give surströmming a run for its money.

Dried Goods

You’ll find enough ramen brands to last you through a zombie uprising á la The Walking Dead. Also test your strength with 20 kg sacks of rice (under 200 SEK). Huge selections of pulverized, whole and semi-crushed flavoring agents – think ring-of-fire inducing chilies or the components for a seriously divine curry – all for a pittance.

Boost your health with fox nuts and wolf berries or buy tea in all its Asiatic varieties – just because you can.

Photo: Ting Yiu

Photo: Ting Yiu

Condiments
The backbone of Asian cuisine, what would we do without our bottles of witches brew? Stock up on curry pastes (Mae Ploy or Aroy-D), ‘Cock’ brand sriracha (I’m not joking), at least 10 varieties of soy sauce, anything by Lee Kum Kee for authentic Cantonese and fish sauce – the simultaneously icky smelling yet delicious concoction of fermented anchovy runoff (‘Baby’ or ‘Squid’ brand). Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

Refrigerator
Dozens of soy incarnations from tofu (organic, silken, firm and fried) to tempeh, bean sprouts and soy milk.

Forget the additive laden, expensive concoctions from Swedish supermarkets, this stuff is cheap and fresh.

The only ingredients being water, beans and sugar (“osötad” means unsweetened). Ogle the Asian vegetables, fresh herbs, kimchi, green papayas, mushrooms, cured meats, spiky durian (doubles as both bludgeoning weapon or formidable sweet fruit) and dream up your next culinary creation.

Freezer
Want exotic species of fish or fowl to liven up your meal? Asia’s wet markets now come in frozen form. Prawns, octopus, mussels, fresh and saltwater fish, ducks and geese are available for prices that won’t make you sob hysterically. Also find wonton skins, dim sum and hot pot ingredients to help you survive Swedish winter. Or “spring”, for that matter.

Miscellaneous
Cleavers, chopsticks, steamers, pots, pestles, mortars and pretty porcelain all sold for peanuts. Pick up a proper wok and ditch your crappy IKEA one. There’s also incense, makeup, cleaning products and everything you never knew you needed.

Snacks
If you haven’t tried Asian junk food, you have not lived!Change that with wasabi peas, mochi, Pocky sticks, prawn chips, lychee juice and neon coloured drinks .

If the “inspired” flavors don’t entice you, the psychedelic packaging with doe-eyed anime characters will.

Buy Lotte, Nong Shim and Oishi brands.

Photo: Ting Yiu

Photo: Ting Yiu

The Jungle

Hua Xia, Herkulesgatan
Thai-China Supermarket, Fleminggatan 49
Sun Ai, Tegnérgatan 15
Japanska Torget Tegnérgatan 6
Korean Food, Luntmakargatan 76
…Plus don’t miss YLC’s Favourite Five

 

Now you are ready to tackle Stockholm’s slew of Asian supermarkets! But there are a lot of ‘em – why not start off with one of YLC’s TOP FIVE?

 

Featured Image: Denna Jones/Flickr (file)

Ready to go shopping for your next Asian-inspired meal? It’s a jungle out there! The markets are almost innumerable. But YLC is here to help with our own Top Five favorite Asian supermarkets. Chow down!

Oriental Supermarket

Where: Sergelgatan 16-18/Sveavägen 17

What: This new kid on the block beats all competitors. Hidden in the Hotorget T-bana station (Sergelgatan exit), the unassuming glass doors hides a huge, well stocked and clean supermarket. Prices are higher, but their variety and quality makes it worth the trip. Mostly Chinese goods and expanding Korean, Japanese and south-east Asian sections.

Bonus: In-house roastery (Peking duck, roast pork, cha siu, dim sum, appetizers). Signs in English, Thai and Chinese. Labels indicate country of origin. Food documentaries on their flat screens to inspire your next meal.

 

 Asian Market

Where: Olof Palmes Gata 12

What: Two glorious floors stocking 70% Thai goods, the friendly owners speak at least 5 languages. Their shelves are never empty and the constant stream of people is a good sign.

Bonus: Fresh coconut juice. Ridiculous selection of eggplants (round, thin, berry sized, white, purple or green varieties). Ready-to-eat meals and desserts in the fridge. Hand-made rice dumplings on the counter.

 

Mai Mai 

Where: Holländargatan 9

What: Pinoy products galore! Run by a Swedish-Filipino couple, it’s a marvelous must for a taste of the Philippines.

Bonus: Jumbo bags of chicharrones that’s both cholesterol inducing AND addictive. Day-glow pandanus drink with basil seeds, more delicious and less toxic than it sounds.

Kina Li Trading

Hong Kong Trading

Where: Olofsgatan 5

What: Atmosphere, 20 year history, and low prices. The staunch boss-lady is straight out of a 90’s Hong Kong triad movie. Don’t be offended if she talks business on the phone while serving you.

Tip: Don’t commit a major faux pax by using the stacks of paper with orange and gold squares for home decor.  The Chinese burn them as money for the dead.

 

Kina Li Trading

Where:  Ringvägen 129 K

What: While the food offerings are not as comprehensive as the first four, this vast emporium gets honorable mention for its dollar-store kitsch and sheer volume of the weird and wonderful. You have to see it to believe it.

Bonus: Paper lanterns, dress up gear, cloth shoes, mahjong sets and the best selection of ceramics.

Ceramics at Kina Li Trading. Photo: Ting Yu

Ceramics at Kina Li Trading. Photo: Ting Yiu

 

Featured Image: Chloe Lim/Flickr