Chanhda Grocery Store is much more than an Asian market. There are also delicious soup dishes, the best Kaiser rolls in the city and two friendly owners who enjoy finding the best products.
The name Chanhda is no stranger to Quebec foodies. Maxime Chanhda and his partner Olivier Parent ran an excellent Thai restaurant in Sainte-Foy for seven years.
In the fall of 2021, they decided to close the door on another adventure: purchasing the Lao Indochina Grocery Store, an establishment that belonged to Maxime's aunt.
Maxime Chanhda and Olivier Parent have been running the grocery store since fall 2021. Photo Stevens LeBlanc
Since then, the shop in the Saint-Sauveur district has become a destination for fans of Asian cuisine.
“Our desire was to bring grocery shopping back into the spotlight and do it our way while keeping the essentials. People who have been coming here for 30 years are disoriented, but fortunately,” says Olivier, who was a journalist before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship with his partner. Since then, the duo has continued to impress and surprise with their projects.
“We are committed and invest a lot of time in what we do,” admits Olivier, leading me through the narrow corridors of their company.
For the love of scooters
The owners have brought a breath of fresh air to the grocery store while maintaining what made it famous: Maxime's aunt's Kaiser rolls.
The scooters are very popular with customers. Photo Stevens LeBlanc
“The rollers are the soul of the place. At least every second customer comes for that!” exclaims Maxime.
Three of his aunts and his mother help produce rolls, which can reach up to 400 dozen per day.
The chef had the brilliant idea of adding his famous egg rolls to the menu. I fell in love with this reinvented classic with ground chicken but no cabbage (hallelujah!).
Their ready-to-eat counter also offers wontons, banh mi sandwiches, kimchi, soup dishes, as well as an excellent Thai soup broth if you want to play chef at home.
Spring rolls are also available. Photo Stevens LeBlanc
Finely selected products
I was impressed by the very comprehensive offering of Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Japanese and Korean products.
“We are generalists, but at the same time we are specialized. We like to surprise and look for unique products,” explains Olivier, who wants to please both his Quebec customers and those of Asian culture.
The cozy eatery stocks a large selection of ramen and treats as well as kitchen accessories. There's also a section at the back full of fresh vegetables and herbs not found in supermarkets, including Vietnamese coriander, fresh Kafir lime leaves and tia to, an herb reminiscent of the flavor of mint with a clove finish.
There are also fruit and Asian sweets. Photo Stevens LeBlanc
Do not hesitate to ask for advice from the owners who will be happy to advise you.
The building that houses the grocery store at 538 Rue des Oblats will soon undergo major renovation work. For the duration of the work, operations will be relocated to 626 Rue des Oblats from mid-February.
Open Tuesday to Sunday.
5 favorite products from owners
- Golden Mountain soy sauce: Maxime's favorite dish, especially for fried rice. It is seasoned and has a lot of flavor. Note that the sauce is pale. Therefore, combine them with a dark soy sauce if you want more color.
Golden Mountain soy sauce. Photo Marianne White
- Fish sauce: the mark Octopus offers excellent value for money. If you want to treat yourself or your dish contains fish sauce, give it a try Red boata premium sauce prepared in a less industrial way.
Red boat fish sauce. Photo Marianne White
- Thai sambal chili paste: It is used like Sambal Oelek but is spicier. “It gives the court a kick. It's not vinegar, it's the pepper that takes over,” explains Olivier.
Thai chili paste. Photo Marianne White
- Maesri curry pastes: These little jams are delicious and resemble homemade curry paste. Store the paste in a glass or plastic container.
Maesri curry pastes. Photo Marianne White
- Unagi sushi sauce: This sweet soy sauce is used as a side dish, for example on poké or noodles.
Unagi sushi sauce, in the middle. Photo Marianne White