"This is pretty much the only place in Ballarat you can get Asian groceries without heading down to Melbourne. The prices are okay, and they stock quite a broad range from various Asian countries. If they don't have what you want then the lady will order it for you."
"We have had some very mixed experiences at the afore-mentioned grocery store, which we doubt should be classified as ‘Asian’, as a great majority of the products are not of Asian origin, but more of a ‘mixed-bag’ of ‘multicultural’ products, thus making the name of the store somewhat misleading. Having said this, from what we have witnessed, this little store brings much happiness to Ballarat’s local (and visiting) Filipino community, who are able to purchase many of the products that they hold a genuine affection for.
The majority of the products contained within this little store are of a high quality and can undeniably offer a ‘genuine’ saving. E.g. The ‘red’ and ‘black’ varieties of rice are particularly delicious and because of their anthocyanin pigments, they are a healthier alternative (increased fiber, antioxidants, etc) to the regular ‘white’ variety. Having said this, we have had two ‘less-than-satisfactory’ experiences which essentially relate to food safety; both concerning foreign particles found in two different products (rice and saffron). Such a risk is totally unacceptable and creates a huge health hazard (and legal minefield) for both the company and (even more so) the unsuspecting consumer. Unfortunately, on each occasion, we had (previously) discarded the actual packaging, which prevented us from following through with a formal complaint/notification. However after having been ‘caught-out’ on two separate occasions now (and being forced to discard two entire meals and suffer the potential (medical/dental) consequences, we will not be taking any future chances, as the risks are just too great.
Having said this, it must be made clear that while the afore-mentioned store sells the products in question, it is not (directly) responsible for the packaging and safety standards of the products which they stock. Although we haven’t personally ‘boycotted’ the shop in question, we are however particularly cautious with what we purchase and thoroughly check all goods prior to purchase (where possible) and before cooking.
The female store attendant is polite, friendly and speaks very good English. However the male who periodically lurks about (employer ?) can best be described as ‘creepy’ and has difficulty retaining eye contact with the female populous. This combined with the fact that he has a ‘phone-sex’ line clearly listed (along with other more important telephone numbers) prominently displayed on the front counter is somewhat bizarre and inappropriate.
On a more positive note, the shop contains a steady supply of fresh (Filipino) sweet, baked goods, which many locals enjoy. There is also a frequent supply of duck/quail eggs that can be ordered ahead of time if necessary.
In all honesty, this rating has been a very difficult one to write, as we really want to see this business survive, however the truth remains unchanged regarding our experiences. Under normal circumstances, we probably would not even bother dealing with such a business, however given the fact that Ballarat struggles with the availability (and cost effectiveness) of such products, there is little alternative. Irrespective of this, the majority of the products offered are affordable and offer a comparable level of quality.
"Great customer service! Friendly people! If you are Filipino like me, this is a shop for you in Ballarat! Other Asian products available and I think you can even request if they can get available for you! Not only Asians are welcome, everyone is welcome for those multi-cultured heart and want to try other foods!"