Get To Know Thai Hoa, the Inala Grocer That Supplies Many of the Best Restaurants in the City

thai hoa grocer
The owners of Thai Hoa Grocer (Photo credit: Thai Hoa Grocer/Facebook)

Have you shopped at the Thai Hoa Grocer at the Inala Civic Centre? They may seem like a typical specialty produce and marketplace, but did you know that they supply several restaurants across Brisbane with ‘specialist’ and hard-to-find produce?

Read: Supermarket Giant Unveils New Distribution Centre in Heathwood

Michael Nguyen, one of the owners of the establishment, says they supply the likes of Gerard’s Bistro, Japanese restaurant Yoko, Thai eatery sAme sAme, and Fortitude Valley’s Agnes Restaurant. 

Not only do they supply these restaurants with basic produce, Mr Nguyen says they also help these businesses get specialty stuff for their menus. For instance, they supply Agnes with shishito peppers and Gerard’s Bistro with spicy radishes and rich tomatoes.

Mr Nguyen helps Joy, a restaurant in Fortitude Valley get mustard greens and corn for some of their Japanese-inspired dishes, as well as sAme sAme for their banana blossom, which is an important ingredient in their salad. 

In fact, there are items that they grow only for restaurants, such as the shishito peppers for Agnes restaurant, because there’s not enough for retail.

As with any other venture, the grocer’s success did not happen overnight. When Mr Nguyen and his wife Kimberley Tedi, along with brother-in-law Nick Mah took over the business seven years ago, it was mainly a dry goods store. 

Photo credit: Thai Hoa Grocer/Facebook

Knowing that there were a lot of growers near Inala, he went around to all the farms to see what they were growing. That’s when he discovered micro-growers for weekend markets and over time, he has also developed relationships with growers such as Loop Growers and Neighbourhood Farm.

The first restaurant owner who put faith in his business was Tyron Simmon, former co-owner of Longtime, a Fortitude Valley restaurant which was quite well-received at the time. 

From there, the grocer’s popularity grew by word of mouth and some of Brisbane’s top chefs started contacting them to source their much-needed produce from them. 

thai hoa
Photo credit: Thai Hoa Grocer/Facebook

Today, around 30 percent of Thai Hoa Grocer operates on the wholesale side, whilst most of it still caters to locals shopping for fresh produce.

You can find Thai Hoa Grocer at Shop A of Inala Civic Centre, seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.