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Latin Grocery Stores in the Seattle Area?

I recieved a couple of Mexican and Southwestern cookbooks as gifts. I'd love to cook from them but am not quite sure where to get some of the specialty ingredients. I love going to the ID for Asian ingredients, are there any areas similar for Latin foods?

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  1. In South Park (across the 12th Ave bridge from Marginal Way) is the unfortunately named Mexi-Mart, and on up the hill behind it to Burien and White Center are a bunch of places, many of which have been mentioned here.

    1. There are a couple of places in the Pike Place Market--one is specifically Mexican and the other is more broadly Latino. A lot of the Southeast Asian places--the warehouse types-- in the ID also sell some Latino ingredients. QFC in University Village also has a surprisingly good Mexican section. And I believe there's a place north of and across the street from Pho Bac, at the head of Jackson and Rainier Ave. South.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PAO

        The place near Pho Bac is Carniceria Azteca. It looked very promising when I looked around: alot of meats, mexican cheeses, chiles, Jarritos sodas, etc. It may have most of what you need depending on how deep your cookbooks are. I don't recall the vegetable selection clearly, but that may have been lacking.

        On Greenwood Ave near 85th there is a place called La Conasupo that is is a market that has been mentioned here for its Sunday barbacoa. They also have a good selection of dried and canned ingredients, especially chiles, but I don't think they have anything fresh.

        1. re: PAO

          The Mexican one, on Pike Place near Starbuck's #1 has fresh masa in bulk, so you don't need to mix your own...

        2. 99/Aurora north through Shoreline and on into Everett also has a number of small Latino groceries. If a place calls itself a 'carniceria', it probably has a butcher counter as well.

          What are some of the specialty items that you might be looking for? Produce, meat, condiments?


          2 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            A little bit of everything! Mainly, some produce, condiments, spices, a good selection of peppers...

            I've just started flipping through the books and haven't decided on any particular recipes, I'm just trying to get a good idea on where to shop/search when I do get ready to cook.

            1. re: katwright

              Many area groceries have a hispanic section. Typically these have many of the same condiments (La Victoria brand, etc), and dried spices (in cello packages) as the specialty stores. Dried peppers are also available in cello packages, though a specialty shop will have them in bulk. Most produce sections also have cilantro, jicama, poblano peppers, some other fresh peppers, plantains, and tomatillos. The quality of this produce will depend on turn over; often it is better in large grocery or general purpose produce stand than in a small hispanic market. Up north, my favorite produce market is appears to have Vietnamese ownership, but the selection spans all the recent immigrant populations.

              The hispanic aisle of big grocery might be stocked by the same distributor(s) that supply the specialty shops. An online shop like http://store.amigofoods.com
              gives an idea of the kinds of items that are imported into the USA.


          2. Guadalupe Market at 1111 SW 128th Street in Burien is a pretty well-stocked Latino market. They make wonderful fresh tortillas right there in the store, too.

            1. Lucy's La Tienda on Aurora Ave N near 153rd is a good little market with a wide variety of Mexican specialties, canned goods, spices, snacks, etc. They have fantastic fresh tamales for sale every Friday afternoon, 6 of them for $7.50, you can buy 'em while they are still warm if you get there at the right time. Also try the Mexican coconut popsicles in the little freezer by the door... great!

              1 Reply
              1. re: lordkoos

                I think you mean Lupe's Tienda. I shop there quite a lot.

              2. I recently moved to the area (Ballard, Seattle), and am looking for culantro ("Thai parsley"), and ajicito (or aji dulce), for making my Puerto Rican sister-in-law's sofrito recipe. PCC in Fremont and Central Market in Shoreline didn't stock either. They seemed better suited to Mexican cuisine. Are any of the stores recommended in this thread wider in the latino-culinary net they cast?

                9 Replies
                1. re: Retsu

                  Might this also be known, here in the frozen North, as "Cilantro", which is found in most major reputable produce sections?

                  1. re: mrnelso

                    No, it's different. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eryngium...

                    Another place worth a look is the ABC Supermarket in Beacon Hill. http://www.yelp.com/biz/abc-supermark... I found epazote there, and I noted other Latin herbs.

                    1. re: equinoise

                      I believe it has a Vietnamese name. Find that, and check at an Asian grocery, such as the one that replaced Larrys near Northgate. Or if you know what it looks and smells like, find it without asking. I've only read about so can't help with identification.

                      1. re: equinoise

                        Thank you equinoise for advancing my taxonomic education. Eryngium foetidum is a new one on me. Growing in USDA zones 10 and 11 (though some say 8 can work), it may not be a garden plant around here, but might do in a cool greenhouse.
                        Along the way, I stumbled into an assertion that this plant is planted across a wide range and has been recorded under at least 77 vernacular names and dozens of cuisines.
                        (some) NAMES:
                        Fitweed, culantro, recao, long coriander, mexican coriander, ngo gai, spiritweed, bhandhania, shado benni, false coriander, daun ketumbar Java, sawtooth coriander, Mei guo ci yan sui, Chardon étoilé, Panicaut fétide, Coriandre chinoise, Coriandre de Java, Coriandre du Mexique, Mexicanischer Koriander, Stinkdistel, Pereniaru koriandaa, Ketumbar jawa, Ketumbar landa, Walang

                        1. re: mrnelso

                          There's a fullsized Mexican grocery in Burien called Guadalupe that should have everything a person could want. I've mentioned it here before, but don't miss the real, non-hydrogenated lard they have. It's on the right of the store between the bar soap and the carniceria in unmarked tubs. Little slice of heaven, that lard.

                          1. re: allisonw

                            Descriptions of differences in appearance, taste and use of cilantro and culantro (and pictures too) can be found at:
                            In Thai circles, culantro is usually referred to as 'Vietnamese Coriander'.

                    2. re: Retsu

                      I've purchased culantro or ngo gai (the Vietnamese name) at HT Market on Aurora and also in the ID at at Minh Tam's Market (1040 S Jackson) in the same strip mall as Tamarind Tree. I think they might carry it at Uwajimaya as well, but I can't remember for certain.

                      1. re: SeaGal

                        I have rarely seen ngo gai at Uwajimaya, but the Viet Wah supermarket on Jackson near 12th has always had it when I've been.

                        1. re: terrier

                          Uwajimaya had ngo gai today (labled kulantro, saw leaf and ngo gai to cover all bases) for about 80 cents in a plastic clamshell container, but I agree that the Vietnamese markets are a more consistent source for it.

                          In regards to Guadalupe market, I love it and buy lard, tortillas, meats and other grocery items there, but I feel that the produce section is their weak area. Most times I've been there, much of the fruit and veg has been in pretty bad shape, ymmv.

                    3. Has anyone found fresh epazote in the Seattle area? Ideally I'd like to try growing it, but I have yet to actually find a source for fresh and would like to try it fresh before getting more ambitious.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kkbriggs

                        I've found it in a little tienda in Redmond (at the eastern junction of Cleveland St. and Redmond Way), and have found it as a little growing plant at City People's Garden Store in Madison Valley, across from the arboretum entrance.

                        I got a plant of it last fall, stuck it in the ground, and it grew like gangbusters through most of the winter, outdoing most of my other crops! It grows well here - and is super cheap to get seeds. I'd say go ahead and grow it and see what happens. The flavor is bizarre, but worth a little extra effort to come by for well-flavored beans. There's no real substitute, although a blend of turpentine and tar might come close!

                      2. Has anyone found these items? I just moved to Seattle and I would like to find them to make sofrito

                        " Retsu Sep 21, 2008 10:47 PM

                        I recently moved to the area (Ballard, Seattle), and am looking for culantro ("Thai parsley"), and ajicito (or aji dulce),"

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ksack001

                          I have found culantro under its Vietnamese name ngò gai' in various Asian groceries/produce stands.

                          Haven't seen aji dulce.

                          I'm not familiar with Ballard area, but suspect that HT Oaktree Mkt (10008 Aurora Ave N) may be closest large Asian grocery.