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

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

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

Holy Land Market (Minneapolis)


Holy Land, located on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis, is a Twin Cities institution. It is not only one of the most iconic immigrant markets in the area, it is one of the most iconic markets period. When I began my series of posts on immigrant markets I didn’t think I would ever profile a place like Holy Land because, after all, anyone interested in finding out more about these markets wouldn’t need to be told about Holy Land. But then in the last few weeks I had conversations with a number of people who’ve lived here longer than we have and who’d never been to Holy Land. In the hope therefore of reducing by even a little the numbers of the sorry people of whom this is true, here is an extensive look at what you can find in Holy Land and why you should go shop there this weekend.  Continue reading

Viet Hoa Lao (Eagan, MN)


We lunched yesterday at Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill in Eagan (writeup coming in a week or two). On the way out of the strip mall we noticed a sign for the Viet Hoa Lao market and decided to stop in and and see if they had one of the brands of white rice we like. They were out but I took the opportunity to take a look around the market for future reference. There used to be another Vietnamese grocery in the area—very close to The Cellars, a liquor store I used to stop in at (which seems to have turned into Atomic Liquors at some point*)—but it moved further west to Burnsville. The presence of another viable market where we could pick up rice and Asian vegetables and coconut milk and fruit and so forth without having to go very far from the highway would be a good thing. I am glad to report that Viet Hoa Lao fits the bill.  Continue reading

Lekali Pasal: A Nepali Store in the Hmongtown Marketplace (St. Paul. MN)


I happened upon Lekali Pasal in mid-May, the last time I was at Hmongtown Marketplace and have been meaning to write it up briefly ever since. Well, better late than never. I didn’t actually go looking for it. I had a friend in town from Bombay and took her to Hmongtown Marketplace. While wandering the outdoor market, vaguely South Asian signage caught our eyes and when we investigated it turned out to be a Nepali store. Now it’s true I hadn’t been to Hmongtown Marketplace for a few years but I think this place is relatively new. At least I’d like to believe that I’d otherwise have noticed it. Anyway, here’s what you can find there.  Continue reading

Hana Market (Bloomington, MN)


Korean food does not have a very high profile in Minnesota. This is not because there are very few Koreans in Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the numbers were not so far below the Vietnamese and the Twin Cities are dotted with Vietnamese restaurants. On the other hand, in the metro area there are very few Korean restaurants worth comment. This is probably down to the fact that despite decades of immigration, Korean food remains on the fringes of mainstream American consciousness—well behind Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian and even Vietnamese. Unless you’re in Los Angeles or New York or the Bay Area, you’re not going to come across a concentrated Korean population with an ecosystem of restaurants catering to in-culture diners; and for whatever reason, awareness of Korean food remains low elsewhere in the US among those who don’t habitually eat outside their own cultural comfort zone. So it is in Minnesota, even though the number of families here with Korean connections via adoption is quite high relative to most of the USContinue reading

TBS Mart International Foods (Richfield, MN)


Continuing with my series on markets that serve Minnesota’s more recent immigrant communities, here is a quick look at a store with a name both innocuous and misleading: TBS Mart International Foods, which is in fact an Indian grocery, and my go-to Indian grocery in the south metro at that. It is located right off the 494: going west from the 35 you get off at Portland, turn right, and it anchors the smaller strip mall on the right hand side of the road. Indeed, it is one of three Indian food-related businesses there: there are also two Indian restaurants—Kabob’s Indian Grill and India Cafe (as yet unexamined by me). But first, a bit of context.  Continue reading

Shuang Hur (St. Paul, MN)


I’ve posted a number of write-ups of outdoor and covered markets in Minnesota (Hmongtown Marketplace and Hmong Village), Montreal (Jean-Talon) and London (Borough Market). I’ll have more of these as the opportunity arises (there’ll be another from London soon enough). However, in 2018 I’ll have a far more regular series of write-ups of formal markets/grocery stores that cater to various immigrant communities in the Twin Cities metro area. I’ve already posted one of these—a quick look at Andale Mercado in Richfield. Here now is a look at the Shuang Hur mothership on University Avenue in St. Paul, one of the mainstays of the Southeast Asian scene. I’d call it a quick look—it’s light on text—but there are rather a lot of images. The main goal of this series of posts is to give people who’ve not shopped in these markets a decent sense of what’s available there and hopefully give them a reason or two to go. Hence the maximalist approach to images.  Continue reading

Hmongtown Marketplace: Shopping


On Tuesday I posted a brief writeup of our recent lunch at Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul. Lunch was only part of our visit. We spent as much time after the meal walking around the market and buying vegetables etc. If you’ve never been to Hmongtown Marketplace, you should know that the market sections are by far the largest part of the space. The larger part of the market is indoors, in two large warehouses/sheds that sit on either side of a central outdoor space. This outdoor space has stalls selling clothes and cds/dvds and also a large green market. During the height of the growing season, this green market is filled with produce sellers (there’s also live poultry available); currently, it is filled with vendors selling vegetable and plant starters—and if you’re a home gardener, you should go check them out this weekend. There’s also a green market indoors all year around, and this part of the market is already on the go. In other words, you don’t need to wait another month to go vegetable/fruit shopping here. Go now.  Continue reading

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. Continue reading