Flavors of the world: The best specialty grocery stores in NYC

Posted On Tue, August 27, 2019 By

Posted On Tue, August 27, 2019 By In Features, NYC Guides, Restaurants

Not only can you eat nearly every type of cuisine in New York City, but you can also cook it. Thanks to the many specialty grocery stores across the five boroughs, no fare is off the table. Whether you hit popular stores like Kalustyan’s selling Middle Eastern and Indian spices in Murray Hill or check out the more obscure shops, like Sri Lankan-supermarket Lanka Grocery on Staten Island, there are endless options when planning an international menu.

Photo of seasonings; courtesy of Industry City

Photo courtesy of Japan Village

Sunrise Mart
4 Stuyvesant Street, East Village, 934 3rd Avenue, Sunset Park

Sunrise Mart has been selling traditional Japanese goods in the East Village for over two decades. Imported items sold range from fresh fish and a wide variety of miso to Japanese eggplant to daikon root. The grocery store has since branched out from the East Village, with locations in Midtown, Soho, and Sunset Park’s Industry City complex. In Brooklyn, Sunrise Mart sits within the massive Japan Village, which includes 11 vendors, a restaurant and cocktail bar, and a Japanese liquor store.

The Kosher Marketplace
2442 Broadway, Upper West Side

This family-owned marketplace is the place to go for Kosher groceries. They have a wide selection of prepared dishes, as well as organic vegetables and meats. Their dedicated approach to providing quality meat and sustainably-sourced fish make the Kosher Marketplace a staple for even those who don’t keep Kosher. Make sure to stop by early on Friday if you need anything for the weekend. The store is closed Friday evening and all of Saturday for Shabbat.

408 Broome Street, Nolita

Offering traditional (and delicious) Spanish cuisine, Despana is the perfect place for anyone craving jamón, chorizo, or Spanish cheeses. Grab a few orders of tapas at their SoHo location, and make sure to stop by their wine shop, conveniently located next door.

Photos © 6sqft

H Mart
38 West 32nd Street, Midtown West

Not only is H-Mart the largest Asian supermarket chain in the U.S., but it also got its start in Woodside, Queens. Although the chain initially had a focus on Korean food, they now carry a wide variety of foods and products from around Asia. Some locations even have full-service food courts.

Brighton Bazaar
1007 Brighton Beach Avenue, Brighton Beach

Located in the primarily Eastern-European neighborhood of Brighton Beach, Brighton Bazaar has all of the fare you’d expect from a Russian market, including freshly baked bread, fruit, and imported sweets. However, they also have a large prepared food bar, where you can load up on blini and borscht.

El Tepeyac
1621 Lexington Avenue, East Harlem

El Tepeyac is a hidden gem in East Harlem. The Mexican grocery has an attached meat market, as well as freshly made guacamole and a large selection of imported beer. They also serve mouthwatering tacos al pastor, if you can’t wait until you get home to chow down.

Photo © 6sqft

Labay Market
1127 Nostrand Avenue, Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Find all the fresh Caribbean fruits, vegetables, and spices you can dream of at Labay Market in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The owner imports his goods from Grenada, giving the Caribbean community in the neighborhood a taste of home.

3 Aunties Thai Market
64-04 39th Avenue, Woodside

This family-run market has become a neighborhood staple. The storefront may be small, but the shelves are well-stocked with tea, spices, and candies. There’s hot food prepared in-house, and they even carry dried crickets and silkworms, for the adventurous.

Mediterranean Foods
30-12 34th Street and 23-18 31st Street, Astoria

Mediterranean Foods has been feeding Astoria the best of Greek specialties since 1974. The grocery store offers cheeses, olive oils, coffees and teas, and frozen foods like moussaka and spanikopita. The store, which has two locations in the Queens neighborhood, boasts an impressive cheese collection, with 20 types of feta alone.

Photo © 6sqft

Photo by Jazz Guy on Flickr

123 Lexington Avenue, Murray Hill

Kalustyan is as historic as it is expansive. Located in Murray Hill and established in 1944, the Indian market is best known for its spices. Foodies, home chefs, and professional gastronomers alike all rave about the wide selection of obscure spices and herbs. There’s also a deli-cafe upstairs, and with celebrity chefs like Padma Lakshmi and Martha Stewart frequenting the so-called “spice mecca” of NYC, you might find yourself rubbing elbows with some of the city’s culinary elite.

Phil-Am Foods
527 Thompkins Avenue, Staten Island

Since 1985, Phil-Am Foods has offered Staten Island’s growing Filipino-American community a place to connect and shop for authentic grocery items. In addition to selling groceries and ready-made meals, the grocery store also will ship “balikbayan” boxes to the Philippines. In 2014, Phil-Am Kusina, a sit-down restaurant connected to the store, opened, serving up specialties like adobo chicken wings, sauteed noodle dishes, and shaved-ice dessert Halo-Halo.

Lanka Grocery
344 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island

Home to the city’s Little Sri Lanka, Staten Island’s Tompkinsville and St. George neighborhoods contain the best options for home-cooked Sri Lankan cuisine. Lanka Grocery, also known as Apey Kade (“our market”), sells hard-to-find chilis, spices, and fish chips.

Photo © 6sqft

New Kam Man
200 Canal Street, Chinatown

This Chinese emporium offers a wide selection of goods, from BBQ roast pork to plates to Chinese beauty products. Spread out over three floors, the grocery store’s main draw is its low prices, and its selection of otherwise hard to find imported snacks.

Adja Khady
251 West 116th Street, Harlem

Located in an area of Harlem sometimes referred to as “Little Senegal,” Adja Khady is one of the few Senegalese markets in NYC. The store is small, but you’ll find all sorts of West African staples, like roasted peanuts, palm oil, blazing hot peppers, and a variety of grains. There’s even a selection of homemade teas.


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