Andale Mercado (Richfield, MN)

I posted a review on Tuesday of a recent lunch at Andale Taqueria in Richfield. We enjoyed that meal very much. We also enjoyed browsing their neighbouring mercado/grocery store after lunch. I’d originally planned to report on both simultaneously, but for the sake of my sanity, decided to break it into two separate posts (resizing photographs is no fun). I’m not sure if the mercado or the taqueria came first for the proprietors of Andale—if you know more about this, please write in below—but they’re an excellent 1-2 punch. Indeed, the market is a good alternative to the restaurant for heartier food to go.

And every time I walk around in a store like this—or for that matter in stores like Holy Land up on Central Ave. in Minneapolis, or United Noodles, or Shuang Hur in St. Paul, or Hmongtown Marketplace or Hmong Village—I mourn the fact that there are no Indian stores in the metro area that offer a similar mix of one-stop grocery shopping and food. Yes, some of the Indian groceries offer snacks and sweets but they’re not quite the same thing. At Andale, Mexican shoppers—or anyone else—can get meats butchered the way they should be, freshly-made tortillas, a range of hot foods from their deli section, fresh bakery goodies, plus esoteric veg and a range of groceries. Meanwhile, the few South Asian stores that sell goat meat have people hacking it up with band saws; all the fish is frozen (and try not to think about when they were first frozen); the sweets are third-rate; and you’re lucky if the savoury snacks are not stale. This despite a significant, and very economically successful population in the region. No, I’m not bitter at all.

Anyway, here’s a quick look at Andale’s mercado. I didn’t take any photographs of the aisles with canned and dried goods but, rest assured, you can get pretty much anything here for your Mexican cooking needs. And as you’ll probably be able to make out, as at the taqueria, you can get by here without any Spanish at all.

This actually makes me want to do a series of posts about grocery stores in the Twin Cities that cater to relatively recently arrived immigrant populations. Will this go the way of so many other things I’ve wanted or planned to do? Only time will tell.

Anyway, next up from the Twin Cities food world, South American food up on Central Ave. After that, Thai and Ethiopian in St. Paul and more Vietnamese in the southern suburbs.

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