8 Online Marketplaces That Can Help You Find Specialty Groceries

From harder-to-snag imported goods to sustainably sourced pantry staples, these virtual marketplaces will not disappoint.

November 09, 2022

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Photo by: Mischelle Moy/Photo courtesy of Umamicart

Mischelle Moy/Photo courtesy of Umamicart

Resorting to contactless shopping may have been a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has quickly become the preferred method of purchasing goods, meals and more with e-commerce platforms booming like never before. In an era where everything from freshly rolled maki to just-baked cookies is just a convenient click away, the rise of online grocery shopping isn’t exactly breaking news. What may come as a surprise, though, is all that is at your fingertips when taking a virtual stroll through these well-stocked marketplaces. Spoiler alert: It’s a heck of a lot more than your local grocers.

A crop of virtual marketplaces are giving shoppers plenty of reasons to shop from their sofas – from slinging hard-to-find imported eats from Japan and Korea to local finds from trusted purveyors. Some platforms offer a price break on everyday goods, while others feature subscription services giving shoppers exclusive access. At these online stores, grocery shopping feels more like a deep dive than a weekly chore. Go forth, and add to cart.

Photo by: Mischelle Moy/Photo courtesy of Umamicart

Mischelle Moy/Photo courtesy of Umamicart

Bokksu: This online marketplace puts the spotlight on gourmet Japanese snacks you won’t soon find at your local grocer. A monthly subscription gets you a curated box of sweet and savory snacks, candies, and teas, built around a theme like Autumn Kouyou or Matsuri Nights. Items like lotus root chips and individually wrapped yuzu souffles are sourced from longtime artisanal makers in Japan, and by way of Bokku’s thoughtfully prepared boxes, are made available to snackers around the globe.

Hive: Shop guilt-free and with a clear conscience at this market which doesn't allow any product onto the virtual floor of its online store without evaluating for overall sustainability. Hive’s trusted makers are chosen by using the Hive-Five vetting criteria, which puts a spotlight on things like using recyclable packaging and committing to inclusion practices. Products range from jarred condiments, snacks and rice and grains to baby food and self-care products like vitamins and lotion.

Misfits Market: Misfits Market gives shoppers a convenient, budget-friendly option to regular ol’ online grocery shopping. The company cuts out the middleman and sources organic produce, meat and seafood, and pantry staples direct from suppliers. Items like misshapen fruits and vegetables, or simply products which are considered a surplus, are available as part of a weekly grocery plan. Shoppers may customize their carts as they wish, and the orders are delivered to their door with a flat rate shipping fee.

Mouth: No reason to be green with envy of your out of state pals who are raving about their prized local provisions – Mouth gives online shoppers access to a curated selection of small batch food items from around the country. Products can be perused by state or region, or by categories like gifts, snacks, and cooking ingredients, and can be purchased à la carte. Alternatively, shoppers can opt for monthly subscriptions of snack, cocktail and cheese boxes, scoring access to Mouth’s pick of the lot each month.

Portugalia Marketplace: This 35-year-old, family-owned Portuguese grocer has a 20,000-square-foot storefront in Fall River, Massachusetts, and its many perishable and non-perishable offerings are available to ship nationwide. At its online marketplace, shoppers will get access to a collection of more than 800 Portuguese wines and spirits, specialty foods like Cocagne sardines in olive oil, mackerel pâté and various loose leaf teas, plus prepared foods like cavacas de pombal.

Kim’C Market: Kim’C Market is an online shop for Korean groceries, but its offerings span well beyond pantry staples. A tour of the digital marketplace reveals offerings including fresh, dried, and pickled seafood, aged kimchi, and kitchen tools and essentials.

Umamicart: This online Asian grocer stocks all of the produce, meat, sauces, condiments and pantry essentials that an eager home cook could hope for. There are more than 2,000 ingredients and products spanning Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and a range of Southeast Asian cuisines, with a focus on prioritizing immigrant-led businesses and the “mom-and-pop” suppliers behind beloved heritage brands. Beyond purchasing individual items, Umamicart features occasion- and activity-specific kits like holiday roast duck, dumpling making and DIY sushi.

Weee!: As its name hints, a quick click through this online marketplace slinging Asian and Hispanic groceries will have you squealing in delight. The selection may vary based on your location, but after supplying your zip code, Weee! reveals its available bounty which ranges from fresh produce and seafood and extends to such specialties as fried fish balls with roe and dried tofu spiced with chili. As a bonus, Weee! operates sans any subscription fees and offers free shipping.

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