6:33 AM EST
Best of New York Food Shopping
Where does 500 Tasty Sandwiches procure all the amazing ingredients that go into the recipes you read online? The following represents the test kitchen’s go-to shops for everything delicious…
Apna Bazar (2975 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ): Indian specialties including inexpensive spices, produce and fresh paneer. Best store to build (or refresh) your spice collection without breaking the bank. I’ve experienced especially friendly service at Apna Bazar.
Bangkok Center Grocery (104 Mosco St, NYC): One of the few specialty groceries completely dedicated to Thai cuisine. Tucked away on a small street in Chinatown, it is worth the adventure of finding it.
Buon Italia (75 9th Ave, NYC): Well priced and extensive selection of Italian specialties including grains, seeds, herbs, cheese, meats and hard to find frozen seafood items like diminutive polpetto.
Eataly (200 Fifth Ave, NYC): The brainchild of Oscar Farinetti, Mario Batalli, Lidia Bastianich, Joe Bastianich and Slow Food. The gourmet counterpoint to Buon Italia with a wonderful selection of fresh seafood, meat, cheese and pastries in addition to a crazy variety of non-perishable staples like pasta, olive oil and vinegar. Some prices are high (but you get what you pay for) and some are inflated (you’re better off at Buon Italia or Whole Foods).
HanNam Mart (1475 Bergen Blvd, Fort Lee, NJ): A large outpost of the Korean grocery giant HanNam Mart, better known simply as “H-Mart”. Wide variety of high quality fresh and frozen seafood, Korean and American produce, house made Korean pickles, and aisles of every Korean ingredient imaginable (and then some).
Hong Kong Supermarket (157 Hester St, NYC): Chinatown mostly consists of small specialty vendors but Hong Kong Supermarket has it all (produce, meat & seafood, dry goods). It gets busy and a little hectic but this is the place to go if A) you don’t have the patience (or time) to visit numerous shops and/or B) you are more comfortable with a conventional grocery store experience.
Kalustyan’s (123 Lexington Ave, NYC): What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Kalustyan’s. Whether you’re preparing an Indian curry, a Turkish feast, a regional Italian menu or a Wiccan potion, Kalustyan’s will have what you’re looking for. Besides their specialty, herbs and spices, they also carry a huge selection of grains and pulses, oils, condiments, dried fruits and nuts, fresh Middle Eastern sweets, a host of prepared foods, teas…the list goes on.
King Arthur Flour (www.kingarthurflour.com): Quality ingredients = quality products. I swear by King Arthur Flour and only buy baking ingredients through them.
The Lobster Place (75 9th Ave, NYC): Best selection of fresh seafood with knowledgeable staff. Store can get crazy, especially with hoards of tourists buying read-to-eat lobster but the experience is fun and you never feel rushed.
Mitsuwa (595 River Road, Edgewater, NJ): The complex is anchored by a giant Japanese grocery. Specialty shops include numerous restaurants, a bakery, and my favorite, Mikawaya, a very high-end shop selling Japanese confections. Shuttle buses from the city will take you to and from Mitsuwa. A fun culinary day-trip.
Murray’s Cheese (254 Bleecker St, NYC): Classic West Village cheese and charcuterie shop. Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Extensive but well-curated selection. Worth the hype? Absolutely.
Nha Trang Market (251 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ): Freshest Southeast Asian produce available. Great selection of mostly Vietnamese ingredients. Always a few high-quality read-to-eat products like giò lụa (Vietnamese ham) and bánh tét (banana leaf-wrapped sticky rice snacks) available. Refreshingly friendly and helpful staff. If you haven’t explored Jersey City’s Nha Trang Market it’s about time you did.
Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market (285 Bleecker St, NYC): My stop for hard to find meats and cuts prepared by old-school butchers who respect their product and their craft.
Union Square Greenmarket: NYC’s largest farmers’ market. You’ll find me here three days a week. Local produce, seafood, meat, dairy, eggs, honey, maple syrup and baked goods. Can be overwhelming if you’re used to the sterility of your local grocery store but you’ll be rewarded with the Greenmarket’s best quality, seasonal ingredients.