Nearly every city has an Asian supermarket that features a wide range of foods, dried goods, drinks, and delicious sweets. Many of these stores also have a handy housewares section where you can find items meant to be used in smaller kitchens or in homes with less cabinet space.
Shops like Japanese-based Daiso or Korean-based H Mart are available in larger cities, but even smaller towns have an Asian grocery or home store where you find some of these smaller-sized and handy items for your RV.
When visiting these types of stores, much of the stock may depend on the neighborhood where it is located and what has been delivered in the past few weeks. You may not always find exactly what you are looking for.
However, tell the owner or a manager what you have in mind and they may be able to order it. The best thing to do is grab a cart and do a full survey of the entire store to see what they have. Just looking at what you might be able to use in your RV is part of the fun!
1. Small appliances
Many Asian countries have miniscule kitchens, so stores stock smaller appliances that can fit perfectly into an RV kitchen. Items like rice cookers, steamers, Crock-Pots, and even single burner stoves can be picked up in a local Asian shop.
Since many of these items are shipped to the U.S. in large quantities, keep an eye out for damage. Ask the shop owner if you can open up a box and take a look at the appliance before purchasing.
2. Butane fuel
Many Asian restaurants and even some small homes use single burner butane stoves to cook food. Your local shop is a great place to pick up fuel for these stoves.
Much of the time they come in packages of three to ten for around $15 to $20. Learn more about butane gas safety from this DIY RV article.
3. Non-breakable bowls
The shelves of the housewares department of Asian shops are full of plastic plates and bowls that are difficult to break. The pretty bowls that normally hold rice are perfect for smaller RVs and they also stack into each other. On nearby shelves, keep an eye out for small coffee and tea cups as well.
4. Single cup coffee filters
Vietnamese coffee is usually made with metal coffee filters over a single mug. These handy little filters can easily be found online or at a local Asian store for a few dollars. They are great if you are a single traveler and don’t want to carry around a full coffee maker.
5. Shelf-stable foods
One of the most fun parts of walking through an Asian store is the plethora of foods to pick from. You may not know what half of them are, but ask the owner if they have a favorite.
Many foods are shelf-stable for years and include noodles, rice, spices, sauces, and other goodies. In addition, check out the Asian drinks section for smaller bottles that fit into RV fridges and coolers.
6. Tiny teapots
If you are a fan of Chinese and Japanese food, you have most likely seen these little metal teapots on restaurant tables. Not only are they perfect for small spaces, but they are virtually indestructible if they fall out of a kitchen cabinet when en route. Many of these pots also come with filters and can also serve tea to two people.
7. Storage containers
Plastic storage containers, such as bento boxes, make excellent options for tiny RV kitchen cabinets and refrigerators. Asian stores also carry stackable storage containers like the Indian-Tiffin which are made of high quality stainless steel.
8. Plastic kitchen items
Other household items made for smaller kitchens can be found at a local Asian store. These include dish drainers, brooms and whisks, garbage cans, and towels racks. Much of the time they are less expensive than similar items at a big box store.
9. Washing pans and strainers
For some reason, these colorful bowls and strainers can be found in spades at Asian stores. The bowls can be used for everything from salads to washing clothes. They also make great dish washing pans for RVers who don’t want to fill up their camper’s water tanks.
10. Children’s items
Children’s items for RV fun can also be picked up at these stores. From tiny chairs and stools to kites and lanterns, these inexpensive items can take a beating. Many of them, like these animal stools, can be stacked inside each other to save space.