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Explore SA’s Ethnic Markets with These Seven Tips

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Photo: Jessica Elizarraras, License: N/A

Get acquainted with your local ethnic market.

Another word of caution before becoming enamored with one particular market is to shop around. While Las Americas Latin Market (6623 San Pedro) caters to all of Mexico and South America with its variety of processed snacks such as plantain chips, kitchen must-haves, every Goya product you can imagine, ready-to-heat arepas and fresh root starches like yucca, yautia and ñame (or yam), the mercado doesn’t carry much fresh meat unlike your local La Michoacana. Ali Baba might be the largest store (it’s almost twice as large as the Quarry’s Trader Joe’s), but may not carry a certain brand of yogurt soda (aka doogh) available at Salaam International Specialty Food Market (3727 Colony Drive). Minnano’s carries an extensive ramen selection, but why not try udon bowls available at Tim’s Oriental & Seafood Market (7015 Bandera, Ste 8) or the Seoul Oriental Food Market (1027 Rittiman, Ste 101)?

Lastly, don’t leave the store as befuddled as you entered it, even if this requires flagging down an employee to help you decide what za’atar spice mix to go home with or what brand of samosas is best. Get ready to have your palate expanded.

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