City Guide 2014
A World of Ethnic Food On the West Side
Published: February 24, 2014
Yes, there are other “ethnic” restaurants in SA apart from the cornucopia of Mexican eats. There’s even whole markets devoted to other parts of the world beside ‘Merica and south of the border. If you’re looking for worldly spices or your favorite brand of hummus, consider visiting the multitude of international markets on the west side of town.
If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, visit Ali Baba’s International Market (9307 Wurzbach, (210) 691-1111) which has a small produce section, a halal meat counter, a bakery that cranks out delicious flatbreads and several aisles of frozen goods including falafel, samosas and Lebanese cheeses. The store also carries a sizable spice aisle and a wide collection of canned baba ghanoush, dolma and olives. For the freshest batch of tableside flatbread, try Pasha Mediterranean Grill (9339 Wurzbach, (210) 561-5858), which is also known for its tender shawarma, meaty kebabs and a lemony tabbouli salad. For the best falafel in town, visit Naara Café (9329 Wurzbach, (210) 558-9800), and indulge in the bubbly hookahs.
It’ll be easy to get distracted inside Minnano Japanese Store (7460 Callaghan, (210) 340-7900) with its aisles of brightly colored packages with Japanese calligraphy scrawled in pink, green and blue hues. Pick up a bento box, sesame and nori-based furikake condiment or short-grain rice for sushi.
Sweet toothed shoppers will delight in the several aisles worth of Japanese candies, cookies, frozen cakes and fizzy Ramune sodas. While Minnano has a serious collection of ramen, don’t forget about Mr. Tim’s Oriental & Seafood Market (7015 Bandera, (210) 523-1688), which also has its charms. The nondescript store carries several brands of Asian beer and sake, along with Peking duck and Chinese pastries. When it comes to Eastern eats, you’ll find just about everything West of I-10. If you’re in the mood for dumplings stop by Golden Wok (8822 Wurzbach, (210) 615-8282) on Saturdays and Sundays for a fun dim sum cart experience. Keep east on Wurzbach and ditch the wonton wrappers for sushi at either the traditional, and longstanding Fujiya (9030 Wurzbach, (210) 615-7553) or try Japa-Mex fusion available at year-old Yellowfish (9102 Wurzbach, (210) 614-3474). If the hankering for a spicy curry dish strikes, Thai aficionados should definitely check out Thai Topaz (9836 Huebner, Ste 101, (210) 690-6000) for its excellent panang, or Thai Taste (5520 Evers Road, (210) 520-6800)—while not much for décor, the restaurant delivers a great Pad King with ginger strips, black mushrooms and choice of meat.
Looking for the perfect blend of garam masala for Indian cookery? Try the back aisle of the Himalayan Bazar (8466 Fredericksburg, (210) 614-8600), which is replete with batches of similar mixes and solo spice bags. Pick up your favorite kind of chaat or chickpea flour for making your own flatbread at home. Keep things simple with jarred sauces, of which the shop carries several brands, along with ready-made frozen dishes. Indian eateries continue popping up–right off Fredericksburg Road, India Palace (8474 Fredericksburg, (210) 692-5262) serves up a buffet lunch and some of the city’s best samosas out of the strip mall location. Just a few miles north, India Chaat House (9903 Fredericksburg, (210) 519-3663) dishes Indian sweets, biryani specials, fresh juices and namesake chaat, or savory roadside snacks. Sure, you can find tortillas at your local H-E-B, but if you want to really taste the nixtamalization, spring for a pack of corn available at La Michoacana Meat Market (multiple locations, lamichoacanameatmarket.com), and stock up on queso fresco and bright orange chorizo while you’re at it. A few extra tacos won’t hurt.
> Email Jessica Elizarraras