Surya India Foods (Arden Hills, MN)


A week ago Saturday we drove up to Arden Hills to pick up takeout from Namaste India Grill & Brewhouse (the report on that meal is here). On the way up we stopped at Surya India Foods, an Indian grocery that is located just a few blocks south in another strip mall off Lexington. I don’t really have a handle on the South Asian population in the suburbs in that part of the Twin Cities metro—I am eagerly looking forward to reading the census data when it is available. I assume the opening of this store and Namaste India—both in the last 2-3 years, if I remember correctly what I was told by staff at both places—is an indication that the population is growing. Then again there may be more South Asian restaurants and stores in the general vicinity than I am aware of—I also don’t have a handle on the northern part of the metro more generally. Anyway, here is what you can expect to find if you visit Surya looking for Indian/South Asian groceries. Continue reading

Dragon Star Oriental Foods (St. Paul, MN)


Ever since I started posting my looks at immigrant groceries in the Twin Cities metro (the most recent reports came from Chan Oriental Market in Bloomington and Asian Mart in Burnsville) people have been asking me when I was going to get around to a number of local stalwarts. These include United Noodles in Minneapolis, Dong Yang and Pooja Groceries up in Columbia Heights and Dragon Star in St. Paul. My answer has always been “eventually” and for Dragon Star eventually is now. The store is located at Minnehaha and Dale in St. Paul—is that the Frogtown neighbourhood?—and is one of the largest of the major East Asian groceries in the metro, if not the very largest. We stopped in yesterday after many years for a bit of shopping and I took an excessive amount of photographs. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Chan Oriental Market (Bloomington, MN)


I continue my slow-motion survey of the immigrant markets of the Twin Cities metro. My most recent stops in this survey were at Asian Mart in Burnsville and Rong Market in Richfield. Asian Mart, despite its generic name, is really a Filipino store, whereas Rong Market is centrally a Chinese store—though it also carries things used/eaten in various other East Asian cultures as well. The also generically named Chan Oriental Market in Bloomington is in fact at core a Cambodian market, though they carry a lot of Vietnamese and more broadly Southeast Asian products and ingredients as well. It was recommended to me by “R” in the comments on my Rong Market report a month ago and I’ve only just gotten around to checking them out. The boys and I stopped in just last evening. Herewith my report. Continue reading

Asian Mart (Burnsville, MN)


A couple of weeks ago I posted a detailed pictorial report on Rong Market in Richfield, whose focus is on Chinese items (and secondarily on Japanese and Korean as well). Today I have for you a report on a much smaller market in Burnsville which focuses on Filipino groceries, belying its generic name: Asian Mart. It occupies the exact location of the Thai market it replaced, Rearn Thai (which I never got around to reporting on). I believe the changeover happened two years or so ago. It may not seem very different at first when you go in but it is an entirely different market now. Unlike Rearn Thai they do not carry any produce; they make up for this by carrying a much larger selection of frozen meats and fish of interest to more than just the Filipino kitchen. They also carry a number of refrigerated Filipino prepared snacks etc.; and on weekends their deli offers a broader selection of hot dishes (currently takeout-only). I hope to stop in next weekend to pick up some of this food but for now here is a look at the market itself. Continue reading

Rong Market (Richfield, MN)


If you thought some of my previous posts had an excessive number of photographs in them wait till you get a load of the slideshow in this one.

Back in December I’d posted a look at Saigon Market in Burnsville. On Facebook someone recommended that I also check out Rong Market in Richfield (in a strip mall on Nicollet, between 66th and 65th). I was chastened to discover that they’d apparently been located for a few years now in close proximity to the Costco we shop at in Burnsville, only having relocated to Richfield towards the end of last year. The employee I spoke to as I was paying for my purchases last Tuesday said that they moved because the Burnsville store was too small; he also noted that the new location puts them within easier driving radius of a larger segment of their core clientele. That core clientele is, of course, East Asian. Rong Market is primarily a Chinese store but those interested in Japanese, Korean and other East Asian ingredients will also find a lot there. And you will certainly find a lot more fish and seafood there than you will at any mainstream grocery. I do hope my excessive slideshow may encourage you to go take a look whether you are in their core clientele or not. Continue reading

Kim’s Asian Market (St. Paul, MN)


We were back in St. Paul on Saturday for a pandemic takeout run—this time from On’s Kitchen (review coming on Tuesday)—and combined it with some quick Korean grocery shopping from Kim’s on Snelling. Despite the fact that we’ve been shopping here since pretty much our first month in Minnesota back in 2007 I’ve somehow never done one of my grocery store reports on them. And so here now is a quick look at what you can expect to find at one of the Twin Cities’ Korean mainstays, which sits across Snelling Avenue from both Pho Pasteur and Sole Cafe and only a few blocks away from the Twin Cities’ true Eat Street, University Avenue. Continue reading

Spice Bazaar (Woodbury, MN)


Yesterday we went back to pick up takeout from Indian Masala (at the southern end of Maplewood where it’s almost Woodbury). As we did on our last takeout run there, we stopped first for a walk on the trails by the Battle Creek dog park. Here we discovered that those trails are now closed for anything but skiing. Luckily, the walking trail on the other side of Upper Afton road was open for regular bidness and we got in a nice walk around that area with friends we’ve met for these walks a few times during the pandemic. When we got done with the walk we still had 30 minutes before our takeout pickup time (I’d placed the order the night before) and so we repaired to Woodbury proper to check out a South Asian grocery there that I’d read about on the excellent East Metro Foodies Facebook group: Spice Bazaar. There were some things I needed to buy—curry leaves, ginger etc,—and it seemed like a good opportunity to see what else could be combined with Indian Masala outings in the future. Herewith a quick look at the store. Continue reading

Saigon Market (Burnsville, MN)


On Tuesday I posted a quick review of takeout lunch from Saigon Deli in Burnsville. The restaurant, as I noted then, is attached to the larger Saigon Market. When we got to Minnesota the market used to be in Eagan, right off Cedar Avenue and we shopped there often—mostly for whole fish and ataulfo mangoes. Some years ago they moved a few miles west to their current location on Highway 13 in Burnsville. That location took a while to open and after a few thwarted attempts to shop there in the early going I lost track of them. This was a mistake. As I discovered when I stopped in a week ago, the store is much larger than the previous incarnation and more fully stocked with a lot more than just Vietnamese ingredients. And, of course, it helps that their restaurant makes very good food as well. Continue reading

India Spice House, Grocery (Eden Prairie, MN)


We are coming to the end of our 13th year in Minnesota and it’s only this year that we’ve begun to explore the many parks in the Twin Cities metro in a concerted way. This is, of course, related to the pandemic. We’ve been at home with our boys since March—we’ve been teaching from home and they’ve been attending school from home. It’s been going a fair bit better, on the whole, probably than we had feared—our profession and privilege does make it much easier. But we’ve needed to get exercise, and more importantly, to make sure the boys get exercise so we don’t end up murdering them. Through most of the early summer that meant long family walks in town every day. The start of the school year has shortened those daily walks but we’ve been compensating by going for walks in various parks on the weekend. Two weekends ago found us in the expansive Hyland Lake Reserve park in Bloomington (we picked up an excellent lunch from Godavari right after). We liked that park so much—and there was so much of it left to explore—-that we went back again today for a ramble through another part of it for. After a three mile walk to perk up our appetites, we picked up another Indian lunch from an Eden Prairie restaurant and took it home to eat on our deck with friends. Our port of call this time was India Spice House. I’ll have a report on that takeout meal on Tuesday. Here now is a look at their adjoining grocery store, where I stopped in briefly to buy some ginger and curry leaves. Continue reading

Bharat Bazaar (Bloomington, MN)


My slow-motion survey of South Asian groceries in the greater Twin Cities metro area continues. And I mean slow-motion: the last entry was made more than a year ago when I reported on the then new’ish Mantra Bazaar in Apple Valley; the one before that was on Lekali Pasal, the Nepali store in Hmongtown Marketplace. Mantra Bazaar has expanded since my report—it took over the space of the adjacent business and now has a meat counter. I’m not sure if Lekali Pasal is still around at Hmongtown Marketplace—I should check but in the meantime, if you know, please write in. Today I have a report on another Indian store in the suburbs. The suburb this time is Bloomington (also home to TBS Mart) and the store is Bharat Bazaar, which has been around since the middle of 2017. Continue reading

Scenes from the Thursday Market in Assolna (Goa, January 2020)


I still have a few restaurant reports to post from our two weeks in Delhi in the first half of January but I cannot resist first posting this gallery of images from what was one of my favourite outings during the following week we spent in Goa: shopping for fish/seafood at the local village market in Assolna in South Goa. We spent a week in the lovely home of old friends in the even smaller* village of Velim. We spent most of almost every single day there on the beach and ate lunches out. We hired a cook from the village to prepare our breakfasts and dinners (we were the only ones in the house). Quite apart from not wanting to spend too much of the day on cooking, this allowed us to eat Goan food twice a day, and in particular it allowed us to eat a lot of local fish and shellfish. Continue reading

Oysters, Bagels and More (Montreal, June 2019)


One of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip to Montreal was a return to the Jean-Talon Market but this time in the summer. The missus and I went there in late October 2016 and we loved it, but it was chilly and there was not very much produce to be seen in the market. I was glad therefore that my group readily agreed to have the tour we did on the morning of our first full day in Montreal culminate at Jean-Talon. That tour, by the way, was organized by a wonderful group called L’Autre Montreal. They did a custom tour for us that went over Montreal’s immigrant history, starting in Old Montreal and ending in Parc Extension, where many more recent immigrant communities reside. I recommend them highly to anyone looking for an interesting introduction to the city (and I recommend our excellent guide Leah as well). After a three hour tour the bus dropped us off at Jean-Talon and there we dispersed into small groups to eat what caught our fancy and to wander the market. Herewith the photographic evidence. Continue reading

Mangal Bazar (Delhi, December 2018)


In Minnesota, in Montreal, in London, in Hong Kong I’ve taken pictures of green markets and posted them in slideshows on the blog. But though I’d been back home to Delhi three times between starting the blog and my most recent trip in December, I had not done the same from there. In some places you’re a traveler and in some places you’re just at home. Going to the market when I’m back home is no more remarkable an affair than going to Cub Foods here. But on this trip, perhaps because I’d made two market reports from Hong Kong, I took my camera with me on a visit to the weekly haat (or open-air market) by my parents’ neighbourhood of Sector 25, NOIDA (a suburb of Delhi). Here are most of the photos I took. Continue reading

Duke of York’s Square Market (London, June 2018)


Okay, here it is finally: the last report from our London trip in June. Yes, almost exactly nine months ago. We spent 10 days in London after a week in Scotland; it was mostly a nostalgia trip. We spent three months there as a family in the spring of 2017 and loved it to the point of fantasizing about ways to move there, either now or in retirement (there are no such ways). We particularly loved being there with our kids—with wonderful parks and free museums and a wide range of food, London is really a wonderful place to visit with children. And so we’d hoped we’d be able to go back with them. We didn’t expect, however, that it would happen as soon as it did. But a conference in Edinburgh that we could both attend presented itself and we decided to splurge and take the boys with us and add on extra days in the north of Scotland and in London. They’re still so young that they’re unlikely to remember their longer time in London clearly without added reinforcement; and with work paying for airfare it was doable without too much of a wrench. Continue reading

Mantra Bazaar (Apple Valley, MN)


We enjoyed our dinner at Darbar India Grill in Apple Valley fine a week ago but far more exciting than that dinner—well, other than the drive up and back through foggy roads—was the discovery of Mantra Bazaar, an Indian grocery located a few doors down, both in the massive shopping complex alongside County Road 42 between Cedar Avenue and Pennock. This is exciting because this is now the closest Indian grocery to us and because it stocks all the essentials I need for cooking; thus making it a viable option to the much larger TBS Mart in Bloomington, which is 10-15 minutes further away, which is even more significant in bad weather—which as you may have heard, we get some of in Minnesota. I stopped in after our dinner last week to buy a few staples and check them out; and I went back again today for a larger grocery run in the wake of last week’s snowcalypse. And I took the opportunity to take some pictures so I could add them to my survey of grocery stores in the Twin Cities metro that serve immigrant populations.  Continue reading

Seafood and More at Sai Ying Pun Market (Hong Kong, 2018)


As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy walking around food markets in cities I’m visiting. Whether in Montreal, London or even St. Paul, if there’s a big produce market and I have time to visit it, I am there. Of course, Hong Kong is the ideal city for one with such preferences. I’ve already posted a couple of reports from the Graham Street wet market, located fortuitously right next to my hotel. Today I have a report from a covered market (well, two actually) about a 20 minute walk away: mostly from the Sai Ying Pun Market and a bit from the Centre Street Market. My interest in the former stemmed from having read about its seafood section and that is what this report is heavy on. The vegetarians should console themselves with the pictures of vegetables that start the slideshow and those of tofu etc. from Centre Street Market. Or just go back and look at the post on roadside fruit and vegContinue reading

Roadside Fruit and Veg in Hong Kong (December 2018)


On Sunday I posted a slideshow of images taken on walks around my hotel on my first day in Hong Kong. This may have led you to believe that there would be a separate report for every day after that as well. But when not in meetings, I’ve spent most of my time walking around the city and taking photographs rather than posting them to the blog. But as they pile up in my folders I remember that I’m not yet done posting reports on my trip to Scotland in the summer; and so faced with the prospect of reporting on this trip for the next two years, I’m going to try to speed it up a bit. Accordingly, here is a slideshow of pictures of fruit and veg taken at roadside markets and stalls. Hopefully this will mollify the vegetarians among my readers who may have found the meat pictures in the previous Hong Kong post to be a bit much.  Continue reading

Midtown Global Market (Minneapolis)


The Midtown Global Market was the first place I ever ate at in Minnesota. This was a little less than a year before we moved to Minnesota, and just a few months after it opened in May, 2006. I was visiting St. Paul on work and my friend Mike and I drove over to check it out. I got some wonderful octopus tacos from La Sirena Gorda and Mike got tacos from Los Ocampo’s counter, if I remember correctly. It was a vibrant, fun space and it made an impression on me that was quite different from the image of Minnesota I’d put together from my years in the western US. (This impression was bolstered later that weekend at a meal at Saigon in St. Paul.) A few months later we had to decide whether to remain in Colorado or make a jump to Minnesota, and this impression of a culturally diverse Minnesota helped make up our minds—it also probably didn’t hurt that it was very warm in the Twin Cities during my visit in early November, 2006.

Well, November isn’t always warm here, and La Sirena Gorda, alas, is long gone—as are some of our other early favourites there—but the Midtown Market is still going strong, with new food outlets and merchants who are excellent in their own right; indeed, it seems very entrenched now in the local scene. Here is a quick look at it for the benefit of those who have somehow never been, or have not been in a while. Continue reading