AZ International Marketplace in Mesa Is Now Open — And It Has Literally All The Things

The candy aisle at AZ International Marketplace will have you feeling like a kid in a, um, candy store.
The candy aisle at AZ International Marketplace will have you feeling like a kid in a, um, candy store.
Evie Carpenter

Where in metro Phoenix can you buy fish sauce, a rice cooker, pig's blood, fake eyelashes, and a 30-pound jackfruit in one place? No, that's not a trick question. The answer is AZ International Marketplace, a gigantic superstore that opened its doors at 1920 West Broadway Road in Mesa on Wednesday. 

As we told you last month, the 100,000-square-foot store aims to be "an international Walmart," stocking not only groceries and ethnic specialty ingredients, but also housewares, office supplies, pet food, and even personal care products.

It sounds ambitious — impossible, even — but walking through the store proves the owners, who are also the folks behind Mekong Plaza, have done their best to make this a truly one-stop shop for all your shopping needs. 

Hundreds of people lined up outside the market this morning.
Hundreds of people lined up outside the market this morning.
Evie Carpenter

About half of the store is dedicated to food products, and about a third of that space is stocked with ethnic ingredients. It'd be impossible to try to inventory everything you can find on the store's shelves, but for some perspective consider that there's a whole aisle of instant ramen, a section with eight types of condensed milk, dozens of types of fish sauce, nearly any kind of noodle you could dream of, and marinades for everything from bulgolgi to kung pao chicken. In the spices aisle, you'll find powdered curries, mixes for Filipino stews, and dried herbs, with every product organized according to the international cuisine for which you're likely to need it. 

It's by far the most extensive selection of ethnic food items anywhere in the Valley and the pricing seems competitive, too. And as an added bonus, the store's running special pricing on many items for opening day and weekend — including a dozen Hickman's eggs for 99 cents and giant packages of dried seaweed for just $2.  

Chile bamboo shoots in a dozen varieties.
Chile bamboo shoots in a dozen varieties.
Evie Carpenter
An aisle of sauces ranging from shrimp and chile to soy and oyster.
An aisle of sauces ranging from shrimp and chile to soy and oyster.
Evie Carpenter
Instant jellyfish may sound gross, but chances are you've had some if you've ever had a seaweed salad.
Instant jellyfish may sound gross, but chances are you've had some if you've ever had a seaweed salad.
Evie Carpenter
Unlike many specialty grocery stores, AZ International Marketplace offers American basics like peanut butter and spaghetti sauce, as well as a vast selection of ethnic ingredients.
Unlike many specialty grocery stores, AZ International Marketplace offers American basics like peanut butter and spaghetti sauce, as well as a vast selection of ethnic ingredients.
Evie Carpenter

The center of the store includes a large produce section with everything from organic Fiji apples to mangoes, jackfruit, bitter melon, and Chinese long beans. In bulk bins you can scoop up jamaica, dried chiles, and dried corn by the pound. Oh, and the chile selection, by the way, includes at least a half dozen varieties such as ancho, Japanese, puya, and arbol. 

There's also a well-sized meat counter where you'll find pre-marinated steaks and other meats, fresh fish, and other seafood including scallops and shrimp. Frozen fish can also be found along the back wall. Whether you're looking for a whole cleaned tilapia, belt fish, baby bonita, or mackerel, AZ International Marketplace has you covered. And that recipe that calls for blood, tongue, liver, or kidneys? Not a problem, because they've got all that, too. 

The produce section of the store includes a small selection of organic produce as well as rarer offerings such as jackfruit and bitter melon.
The produce section of the store includes a small selection of organic produce as well as rarer offerings such as jackfruit and bitter melon.
Evie Carpenter
They may look scary, but the jackfruit at AZ International Marketplace were impressively fragrant.
They may look scary, but the jackfruit at AZ International Marketplace were impressively fragrant.
Evie Carpenter
Dried chiles come in more than a half dozen varieties.
Dried chiles come in more than a half dozen varieties.
Evie Carpenter
Pinto beans available by the pound in the produce section of the store.
Pinto beans available by the pound in the produce section of the store.
Evie Carpenter
You'll find fresh fish at the store's butcher counter.
You'll find fresh fish at the store's butcher counter.
Evie Carpenter

The far end of the store is where you'll find more of the typical American grocery store selections — think, Jif peanut butter and Betty Crocker cake mix. There's also a drink section with sodas, teas, and juices, and a long frozen section that will make ice cream lovers swoon. The selection runs the gamut from Ben & Jerry's and Dreyer's to mochi ice cream in flavors such as green tea and cookies and cream. 

And, finally, at the front of the store you'll find the non-grocery wares, which includes essentials like lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, and even Mane n' Tail, as well as large items such as microwaves, mops, rice cookers, and strollers. You can find a giant bag of Cal Rose rice right across from a display of dog toys, and an array of children's backpacks just a few aisles over from a section dedicated to chopsticks and steamer baskets.

It's hard to imagine what you can't buy at AZ International Marketplace — and our guess is it'll take you quite a while to figure out exactly what's missing. We spent more than an hour wandering up and down the aisles and still didn't get to take in every end cap, freezer, and produce bin. 

Customers stocked up on produce on Wednesday, since many items were on sale in celebration of the store's grand opening.
Customers stocked up on produce on Wednesday, since many items were on sale in celebration of the store's grand opening.
Evie Carpenter
Whatever kind of chopsticks you want, they got.
Whatever kind of chopsticks you want, they got.
Evie Carpenter

AZ International Marketplace is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information and to see the list of opening specials, visit the AZ International Marketplace website or call 602-633-6296.


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