Stop by one of these local grocery shops for some off-the-beaten-path ingredients.
Indian Groceries & Spices
Just the smell makes you think you’ve stepped into Mumbai. All the essentials are here, and the owners even sell products under their own “Nirav” brand. Staples such as ghee and dal sit alongside Indian faves like Thums Up cola and Parle-G biscuits. 10633 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, 414-771-3535.
A stop here can take you from Russia to Azerbaijan and Georgia to Poland. There’s also a deli section with baked goods and a nook for eating your spoils. 1920 E. Capitol Dr., 414-964-7115.
Don’t let the country music confuse you. This is the area’s largest purveyor of Asian foodstuffs. There’s an entire aisle with nothing but noodles – vermicelli, egg, etc. – and loads of frozen foods (more dim sum options than you could fit in a grocery cart). There are also great finds such as the infamous (stinky) durian fruit and whole roasted ducks. 5455 S. 27th St., 414-308-1095.
- Prickly pear (nopal) from El Rey
- Mother in Law’s Tongue pasta from Glorioso’s
- Whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes from Glorioso’s
- Oaxaca Mole Rojo paste from El Rey
- Burghul cracked wheat from Attari Supermarket
- Nirav brand pure butter ghee from Indian Groceries & Spices
- Nirav brand masoor dal from Indian Groceries & Spices
- Azerbaijani pomegranate sauce from International Foods
- Pitted dates from Attari Supermarket
- Fresh papaya from Pacific Produce
- Gingkonut from Pacific Produce
- Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine from Pacific Produce
- Univer Red Gold hot paprika mix from A&J Polish Deli
The name literally means “the king” in Spanish, and with a selection so great, who are we to argue? Come for the exotic fresh produce, Mexican cheeses and hard-to-find ingredients, and stay for the lunch counter. Can you say empanadas, taquitos and tamales? Multiple locations, elreyfoods.com.
Reziq Attari won’t just show you where to find the bulghur wheat, he’ll give you three different recipes and point out the rest of the ingredients at his eponymous establishment, which specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine. And there’s a lot to be pointed out in this tiny store – from halal meats to dates and rice to hookah trappings. 3042 S. 13th St., 414-645-5880.
Glorioso’s Italian Market
Italian food is commonplace in grocery stores, but Glorioso’s pays homage to pasta with dozens of fresh and frozen varieties – not to mention the sauces (puttanesca, Bolognese), artisan cheeses and Italian cookies. 1011 E. Brady St., 414-272-0540, gloriosos.com.
A&J Polish Deli
This tiny shop is located in the heart of what used to be the city’s largest Polish neighborhood. Bordered mostly by Hispanic businesses now, the South Side grocer continues to sell Polish candies, liquor, sauces, and plenty of kielbasa and exotic Polish sausages. 1215 W. Lincoln Ave., 414-643-7733.