New Horizons

I found a recipe online that I wanted to try, but it needed two items that I’d never heard of. A quick search made it clear that the only place I would find these items would be in a specialty market.    These days you can find so many different kinds of things in regular grocery stores and I don’t visit any specialty markets (think Asian grocery or Mexican grocery) often.

So there I am in the middle of aisle upon aisle of items that I don’t recognize, some of which I can’t even GUESS what they are. Unfortunately I was on my lunch break so didn’t have time to wander and linger.  I asked about my two items, was shown where to find them, checked out and went back to work.

But now I think I’ll have to go back next week when I have more time. I hope I don’t spend too much when I do!

Do you have a favorite ethnic/specialty market or restaurant?

28 thoughts on “New Horizons”

  1. i have a favorite chinese grocery in savage. it used to be more convenient when i offices down that way but i still go there to stock up on sauces noodles and to wander best bol choy and mushroom selection ever 50 different kinds of rice on pallets in 50 lb bags up in the front of the store

    bills imported foods has the best olive selection for cheap ever

    i just read avacado prices are way up after mexico got locked down. better stock up at aldi quick

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fargo has a surpising number of specialty Asian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. We stock up on East Indian ingrediants and Turkish olive oil when we are there, In our town, the Ukrainian Cultural Institute has traditional Ukrainian meals suring Lent. I don’t care for perogies but lots of peoole here love tbem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I lived in Chicagoland we were near a fantastic Italian market/deli/butcher shop that was the real deal. Not a large place, but stocked with just about everything in the world of food that is Italian.

    Around here, there’s a terrific butcher shop called Steve’s Meat Market in Ellendale MN. They’ve won so many awards for their smoked meats and other products they don’t have room for any more plaques and trophies. Bacon to die for. Blueberry-wild rice bratwurst. Cheddar brats, all sorts of smoked sausage. Breathing the air in that place is often worth the 20-mile drive.

    Chris in O-town

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There a few somewhat esoteric ingredients we can sometimes find here and sometimes we can’t. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is one. It is made from cane, not corn, and we prefer it to Karo syrup. I try to get it here when I see it, but usually have to get it in Fargo. Oxtails and turkey wings are other commodities that are hard to come by. Son is an ace at Thai cuisine. We start Thai peppers for him every year and he grows them in big pots on his patio. He freezes the little peppers whole in tbe fall and uses them in Thai dishes all winter.


    1. Re: Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Have you looked on Amazon? More that once we have had to go there to get products our local stores had discontinued.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t looked there but I bet I could get just about anything on Amazon. I find solace in knowing I can order fresh yeast from Amazon if my local supplies go away.


      2. There used to be a brand of watermelon pickles called London Lodge. I thought if I googled the name, someone might have them on a web site somewhere. No luck, though – London Lodge watermelon pickles seems to be too obscure for the 21st century.


        1. london lodge pickles were established in 1950 they’ve stopped being a registered trademark since 1992
          they appear to have been out of business for at least 27 years. pickles keep but i don’t think i’d try them even if i found a jar

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Winnipeg had such wonderful little grocery stores for each of the multitude of immigrant groups in the city. German, Indonesian, Hungarian, Greek, Italian! Our Italian landlady took my to DeLucca’s one day and admonished the butcher that he had better treat me right (their fathers were from the same village in Calabria).


  6. Sometimes we have to go to the fancy HyVee instead of our regular HyVee for specific gluten free items or the fancy thin bread that I like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What is the “fancy HyVee”? Does it actually have “Fancy” in its name? If not, how can you tell if a particular HyVee is or isn’t fancy?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sincerely curious. It might come in handy when I “move” to Rochester to know the difference.


        2. Ljb, there are 4 HyVee’s in town. The newest one out on ‘West Circle Drive’ is the Fancy one. It has electric car chargers and is the largest, and, seemingly fanciest one in town.
          It has the charcuterie section and clothing and all that stuff. Two of the other HyVee’s are just kinda the normal store. And then there’s a third one, in Barlow Plaza, that is larger, but not quite as fancy. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I think all the Hy-Vees in the Twin Cities are the “fancy” Hy-Vee’s. That’s what they seem to be building these days.


        4. hy vee has been a normal store out of iowa for years.
          a short while back they decided to go after the hoity toity crowd ala kowalskis minneapolis only gets the mega hy vees


  7. We’ve been shopping at United Noodles and its previous incarnation as Golden Star for over 40 years and at Holy Land for more than 20. Then of course there’s Ingebretsen’s for things Scandinavian. Delmonico’s Market in Northeast used to be a fun place to shop for Italian specialties—a small store piled high. Morelli’s is good for some of that and their Italian sausage is great. The late lamented Morgan’s in West St. Paul has been discussed here previously. Living where we do near Lake Street, there are lot’s of mercados to choose from but the local Cub also has an extensive selection of Mexican ingredients. I haven’t explored any of the African groceries and, like Sherrilee, I suspect I wouldn’t know what to do with many of the ingredients there.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Living where I do, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention El Burrito Mercado as a great source of just about anything you need for cooking Mexican food, or for authentic Mexican food, for that matter. During lent, an assortment of freshly made tamales are a treat. The Flatbread Company is another small, local gem that satisfies my occasional hankering for some Lebanese staples such as freshly made garlic sauce, humus, several different kinds of flatbread, as well as lamb or spinach pies. I generally have a container of their garlic sauce in the fridge; you just never know when you’ll need it.

    I have previously mentioned Huang Shur and Dragon Star markets, my go-to Asian markets, along with Hmong Town. There’s another Asian market that has opened up in the old Byerly’s on Suburban Ave; it’s the new kid on the block, but it’s already as fun place to shop.

    On University Ave near the UofM, there’s a small market that I love for ingredients for Mediterranean foods, the Caspian Sea Bistro and Marketplace. If I can’t find what I need there, I go to Bill’s Imported Foods, and if I’m in that neck of the woods, might as well visit Ingebretsen’s.

    Two St. Paul markets with excellent selections of ingredients for Italian food are Cossetta’s, and Buon Giorno.

    I have visited a few of the stores that cater to Somalis and other Africans, but because I’m not that familiar with their cuisines, it’s limited what I have bought there. I’m grateful for the internet where recipes are just a few clicks away.

    Sorry to be hogging this topic, but I’m so excited to be living in a time and place where I can explore practically any cuisine my heart desires. Tonight is my sous vide course, can’t wait to see what that’s all about.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I like many of the markets mentioned above. Sun Foods on University Avenue is another Asian market that has some off-the-beaten-path stuff. I have probably told this story before: I was standing in line at Sun Foods when the young woman in front of me asked the cashier, “What kind of eggs are these?”, holding out a carton of rather ordinary looking eggs. “Chicken,” the cashier replied. She set the carton down and said “Oh, I guess I don’t want them, then. I thought they were just regular eggs.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. i forgot about my recipe from 2 weeks ago
    spicy tofu crumbles was my daughters choice
    it had not one but 3 ingredients had never heard of and 3 more i didn’t have in my pantry

    today i pulled some pear garganzolla ravioli out of the freezer and puzzled over a sauce

    butter balsamic vinegar honey salt pepper and pine nuts was/is the best combination i ever ran into

    there is some sauce left over do i’ll see how it is with a days water under the bridge

    i will look up the spicy tofu crumbles and do them again too. i used it for a week raman soup it was delicious

    spicy tofu crumbles


    1 pound extra-firm tofu, sliced ¾ inch thick
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced
    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons mirin
    2 tablespoons Sriracha or gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
    2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
    1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

    Arrange tofu slices in a single layer on a paper towel–lined plate and cover with a few more paper towels. Press down firmly on tofu with your hands to expel excess liquid.
    Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. Cook tofu, turning once, until browned, 7–10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
    Meanwhile, whisk chile, soy sauce, mirin, Sriracha, vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger in a medium bowl to combine.
    Crumble tofu into small pieces and add to bowl; toss to combine.
    Do Ahead: Crumbles can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.


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