The Valley is no New York City, but it’s also not as whitewashed as some would have you believe. Case in point: In a 2016 study by WalletHub, Phoenix ranked in the top 50 most diverse cities in the nation. And we all know what that means… amazing ethnic food! From flavor-packed Ethiopian to level-five-spicy Thai to authentic Mexican, there’s always a veritable around-the-world restaurant crawl just waiting to happen. And if you want to try your hand at actually making Grandma’s recipe from the Old Country, the Valley’s got you covered at one of its many ethnic markets.
1. Los Altos Ranch Market
This Mexican marketplace contains a panaderia, carniceria, tortilleria, taqueria — so basically, everything-you-need-eria. Los Altos is a large, fully-stocked grocery store with a Latin twist, including an entire bar of aguas frescas (juices), pan dulce (sweet bread) of every kind, fresh masa and a whole selection of meats for the most daring among us — lengua (tongue), cabeza (head), buche (pork stomach) and tripa (tripe) to name a few.
1602 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix
Check online for other locations: losaltosranchmarket.com
2. Haji-Baba International Food
Haji-Baba brings the Middle East to the East Valley with a little café counter serving up all the classics, including baklava, gyros, chicken shawarma, hummus, pita and more. The rest of the space is taken up by a market full of Middle Eastern imports at wholesale prices, with a particularly good selection of spices and unique regional treats, including halal meats, roti flat bread, Turkish coffee and Middle Eastern snack foods. There’s also a section for utensils and hookahs.
2131 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe
3. Yasha From Russia
This Eastern European take-out deli and grocery offers freshly tandoor-oven baked challah, black bread, piroshky (fried stuffed dough) and leposhki (a pita-like bread found throughout Central Asia), along with a number of cakes and sweets (and tea up to the eyeballs to go with). Among the imported goods are cookies and jams, smoked fish and a large selection of cheese and cured meats.
10240 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
4. DeFalco’s Italian Deli & Grocery
Fun fact: Food Network’s own bleached-tips maestro, Guy Fieri, gave this place his stamp of approval. But whether or not you consider that particular endorsement a positive, you should still visit DeFalco’s. The deli-side offers a wide array of hot and cold sandwiches, pasta and pizza along with assorted antipasti to take home by the pint. (Insider tip: order the caprese sandwich and add prosciutto and pesto. You can thank us later.) Grocery items range from a selection of Italian wines, to cans upon cans of imported tomato sauces, to take-home pizza dough for under $2.
2334 N. Scottsdale Rd., A133, Scottsdale
5. French Grocery
Though the name implies otherwise, French Grocery is more of a bistro/bakery than full-on grocery. Some imported food items are available for purchase, but the real draw is made-from-scratch confections such as beignets, macarons, pomme frites, duck confit, pâte, croque madame and croissants.
5345 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix
6. Old Heidelberg German Bakery
Old Heidelberg has been baking up soft, chewy pretzels since 1969, in an array of shapes and sizes. Pretzel ropes, croissants and rolls are just a few of the varieties. As far as groceries go, mustards are available in every flavor imaginable, as well curry ketchup, jams, pickles galore, staple sausages and the best ‘wursts – put one of these babies on a pretzel roll at your next barbecue and swoon.
2210 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix
7. AZ International Market
Don’t have time to drive all around the Valley to shop around the world? Not to worry – one trip to West Mesa will get you clear across the globe. Groceries are imported from all over: from Cambodia to Burma, and India to Mexico and beyond. The major focus, however, is on Asian cuisine. If you are in the market for Japanese shrimp balls, Chinese plum sauce, Vietnamese pho seasoning, or any variety dried mushrooms, fish or noodles, there is no better place to look, and prices are always unbeatable.
1920 W. Broadway Rd., Mesa
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