There’s nothing like the personal reward of making an exotic meal at home. With culinary shows like “Chopped” and “The Iron Chef” as inspiration, sometimes finding obscure ingredients is almost as difficult as making the dish itself. Fortunately, if you live in Los Angeles, the four corners of the world are practically at your doorstep. Whether you’re making Italian, Japanese, Armenian or are thinking of getting really creative, check out these best ethnic grocery marts in Los Angeles.
Japanese: Nijiya Market
Hours: Mon to Sun – 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Shopping at Nijiya Market is the closest you’ll get to grocery shopping in Tokyo without
actually going there. From fresh fish to cold sake, you can find everything you need to make an authentic Japanese meal. And if you don’t feel like cooking, Nijiya Market has a wide variety of ready-to-eat meals such as sushi, yakisoba, sandwiches and curry. Be sure to check out the web site for huge sale days.
Armenian: Nairi Meat & Deli
Hours: Mon to Sat – 8 a.m.to 8 p.m.; Sun – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Surf the aisles at Nairi Meat & Deli and you will be delighted to discover little Armenian treasures everywhere you look. The market has fresh meats and fruits every day. You’ll also find delicious Armenian baked breads, chocolate bars, candies and little stuffed pastries you won’t find anywhere else. Be sure to stop in the adjacent Nairi Restaurant for a bite to eat before you leave.
Thai/Indonesian: Bangkok Market
Hours: Mon to Sun – 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Bangkok Market is the only all-inclusive Asian market in L.A. with the largest selection of Indonesian products at your finger tips. From galangal root and lime leaves to kefir and Kimlan soy sauce and every noodle imaginable, you can find everything you need to make exotic cuisine that is sure to your favorite restaurants’ dishes.
Italian: Roma Italian Deli & Grocery
Hours: Mon to Sun – 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you’re thinking of making Italian for dinner, then Roma Italian Deli & Grocery is where to shop. The market is known for “The Sandwich;” the deli only makes the one and it’s comprised of assorted fresh deli meats and cheeses on chewy, crusty bread. The other staple here is the artisan “Good N Ugly” bread, made only on the weekends. The shelves are stocked with every type of pasta, sauce, olive oil, soda and cheese only available in Italy.
Kosher: Glatt Mart
Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun – 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fri – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With a wide selection of kosher meats, cheeses, wines, candy, pastries and nuts, Glatt Mart (located in Little Israel) can fulfill all your kosher needs. Among the kugels, the knishes and the amazing baba ganoush, there are some interesting finds. The store is bright, organized and clean, so shop as long as you want, hassle-free.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.