Ten Favorite International Markets in Phoenix
When you're roaming the aisles of your local chain supermarket, it's not always easy to find exactly what you're looking for -- especially if that something happens to be purple yams, Asian stink fruit, Russian black bread, or Turkish coffee beans.
Unless you consider 45 feet of chips and soda interesting, American supermarkets are B-O-R-I-N-G.
When we're in dire need of a little grocery adventure (or we need to find that one special ingredient), we like to get our foreign fix from these 10 Valley markets.
10. Yasha from Russia -- Park around the back of this shop just off 32nd Street and prepare to enter into the world of Russian eats. Yasha imports just about anything your little Russian heart desires, including a huge selection of smoked fish, Russian sausage, dry goods, pickles, chocolates, and beer. The shop even bakes Russian black bread, which is perfect for slathering with butter and caviar. The owner, Yasha himself, is an interesting character with a huge personality. He's probably going to talk to you. He's super-helpful and can be charming at times. And if he offers to show you around, take him up on the offer.
9. Lee Lee's Oriental Supermarket -- Southwest Mesa has its fair share of Asian markets, but most of them can't hold a candle to the mega-giant Lee Lee's Asian Superstore. We've spent hours wandering the aisles looking at everything the store stocks on its expansive shelves. Each aisle is marked by nationality, and Lee Lee's has even thrown a few tastes of the Caribbean and South America into the mix. Be on the lookout for authentic Colombian cream soda and Jamaican ginger beer, traditional kimchee, African fufu flour, and a huge selection of various rices, rice papers, and Japanese candies. If you don't mind the smell, check out the live fish tanks in the back.
8. Pro's Mesa Ranch Market -- It's a fiesta every time we stroll into this eastside mega-market -- Pro's even has mariachis playing on the weekends. If you're looking for a spot to score perfectly marinated carne asada, fresh housemade tortillas, some of the biggest (and cheapest) jalapeños we've seen, and a refreshing cantaloupe agua fresca, this is your spot. The Mesa supermarket stocks its butcher cases with every cut of beef and pork imaginable and its bakery cases are filled to the brim with beautiful cakes and pastries. It even has a full-blown restaurant inside the store in case you need to take a break from the packed aisles -- and it's always packed.
7.Haji Baba Middle Eastern Market -- Most people visit this tiny Tempe store for their super-cheap gyros and filling falafels. We're just as guilty but when we're here, we never pass up an opportunity to browse the tiny store's aisles for exotic spices and fruit preserves. The store stocks all the Mediterranean staples -- frozen lamb kebabs, beautiful canisters of imported olive oil, and jars of fig spreads. It doesn't have a produce department but you will occasionally find a box or two of fresh squash or onions up by the register.
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