“We want to bring Asian dishes and products to Antwerp kitchens,” says the general manager of the Amazing Oriental supermarket chain, Martin Chan. The first Belgian branch of the chain opened in the Stadsfeestzaal on the Meir on Wednesday.
Dancing dragons and confetti were the signal on Wednesday that the first customers could enter the supermarket and there were already plenty of people. In the passageway of the Stadsfeestzaal, which connects the Meir with the Hopland, dozens of people were waiting to be the first to go shopping.
Amazing Oriëntal is a Dutch chain of supermarkets that mainly offers Asian products and dishes and now has 24 branches in as many cities in our northern neighbors. The center of Antwerp is the first place in our country where the chain sets foot.
“It has been five years since we started thinking about a supermarket in Belgium. We had the opportunity to open a business in Chinatown, but that didn’t seem like the best option. There are already a number of good Asian supermarkets there and we are targeting a different audience,” says Martin Chan.
And that audience is mainly shopping Antwerp residents and day-trippers. “People who are open to getting to know Asian cuisine and products. Close to the Meir we are in what is perhaps the most important shopping location in Belgium. We think we can appeal to a large audience there,” continues Martin Chan.
“No competitors for Sun Wah”
More than 10,000 products are on the shelves at Amazing Oriental. Mainly Asian, but there is also a selection from Surinamese cuisine. “That cuisine, together with the Indonesian cuisine, is doing very well in the Netherlands. Whether this will also be the case in Belgium remains to be seen. That is why we only offer the basic products of these two kitchens for the time being,” explains Martin Chan.
Antwerp is a logical first step in Belgium for the supermarket chain. “The city is Dutch-speaking and is located close to the Netherlands, which makes it logistically interesting. Moreover, Antwerp is known as a city where great importance is attached to food.”
Martin Chan does not fear competition from Sun Wah and the other Asian supermarkets in Van Wesenbekestraat. “And I don’t think they should fear us either. Experience in the Netherlands shows that when we open a branch somewhere, it also benefits other Asian stores in that city.”
Amazing Oriëntal has plans for more branches in Belgium, but these are not concrete yet. “We will first see how things are going in Antwerp and hope to learn something about the Belgians and their culinary taste,” says Martin Chan.