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Mar 20, 2007 08:23 AM

Interesting shopping areas in American cities

I'm looking for interesting food streets in American cities. The kind of multi-ethnic places that have cheese shops, Asian grocerys, wine shops, etc. all within range. The kind of places that can be called a foodie heaven. Not restaurants so much as food shopping. Any suggestions?



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  1. One place I'd love to spend more time is the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. If I lived there, I'd explore more. We only had a few hours and I had so much fun walking around, and thought, if I lived closer, I could actually shop.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      I also was on a day trip to Philly and although haven't had a chance to visit the RT Market, I spent few hours at the 9th street Italian Market. I sooo wished we were driving and had a big cooler with us.

      1. re: welle

        The Italian Market in Philly was my first thought when reading the OP. Two excellent cheese houses, spice and tea and coffee shops, fresh pasta shops, a chocolatier, wonderful bakeries, and a good variety of fresh produce. And I don't eat meat, or I'm sure I'd be talking about all the butchers and fresh meat and seafood counters (which I've blocked out given that the critters hanging in their windows usually resemble at least a few of my pets). It is right near a vietnamese area, so you can grab some inexpensive & delicious bahn mi once you've had your italian hoagie fix from Sarcone's. This place just plain makes me happy.

        I'll second RTM, too. Philly is a very underrated food town.

        1. re: spyturtle008

          I was just in Philly for King Tut and I agree it is underrated. Thanks to Philly chowhounds I had an amazing meal at Nan. I did get to explore RTM, but it was the weekend of the flower show as well and was crazy packed. I did manage to get this fabulous pork sandwich at DaNics. I would like to get back and explore it when it is not so crowded. I kept thinking I wish DC had something like it. I think the Eastern Market may be the closest thing.

    2. The Strip District in Pittsburgh. My husband calls it "around the world in seven blocks." Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, & Latino markets, produce stands, sausage shops, butchers, fishmongers, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Greyhoundgrrl

        I agree - I was there on a visit from Manhattan and found it fascinating.

      2. Well, in Manhattan there are the ethnic enclaves -- Lexington Avenue around 27th/28th street has a few good Indian shops, Chinatown, and Little Italy of course. There are also yuppier options, such as Bleecker Street west of 6th avenue, where there are some great Italian bakeries, cheese stores, etc. -- Chelsea Market is also one of my favorites -- on 8th avenue and 16th Street, it's a converted warehouse with a bunch of food shops -- a decent produce shop (sell wholesale to a lot of markets -- not the most superlative in terms of freshness/ripeness, but a great selection for hard to find stuff and great prices), a store that sells foodie gift baskets and the things that go in them, several bakeries, a great fishmonger, a good butcher, a great Italian deli, etc. It's definitely a fun one-stop food shopping destination. There's also Grand Central Market in Grand Central Terminal, which is on a smaller scale, but is great for stopping on the way somewhere.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Amuse Bouches

          The areas around Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside and Jackson Heights Queens. An incredibly multi-ethnic area containing everything from Irish to Indian, with Philipino, Thai, Korean, Eastern European, and an amazing variety of Latin American stuff available. It's a neighborhood, so stuff is a bit spread out unlike in a concentrated market area, but it is as residentially diverse an area as exists in the U.S. and most likely the world.

        2. If you're ever in San Francisco, the SF Ferry Building Marketplace is excellent. They've got great food shops (fresh cheeses, meats, produce, pastries & gelato) and restaurants. And if you go on Saturday, the farmers market right outside can't be beat. And you can have lunch at some of the take out places (Delica has a Japanese Potato Croquette that is the best I've ever had in my life!) or enjoy some tea at Imperial Tea. It's a great place to spend the afternoon.

          1. The North End of Boston -- start from Haymarket and plunge in.

            Columbus/Grant in San Francisco where the old Italian merges with the Asian

            Old 3rd St., Milwaukee -- Maders, Usingers Sausage, the Spice House, African Hut, and more

            1 Reply
            1. re: zebcook

              usingers sausage! oh yum... love those...