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Best ethnic markets in Orange county???

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Need suggestions for ethnic markets to visit for a college class on international food. Plenty of Asian places (we're near Westminster's Korean and Vietnamese areas) so I need other types (have plenty of Hispanic choices also). Would love some eastern European (Russian?), Middle eastern, African, etc. choices if they exist here. General area is east of 605 fwy, west of 57, south of Imperial Hwy and no farther south than Huntington Beach. Appreciate any and all suggestions.

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  1. Wholesome Choice would cover the Eastern European and a host of other cuisines...

    3 Replies
    1. re: torta basilica

      Yes -- it's Persian and has a lot of Russian foods as well. And technically speaking it isn't south of Huntington Beach (it's at the corner of Culver and Michelson in Irvine).

      There's a place on Orangethorpe (or maybe it's Commonwealth or La Palma -- ain't I specific!) in Fullerton that advertises that it's an African market. I will make a better note of it when I drive past. I want to say it's on Orangethorpe near State College. In addition, there's supposedly a market attached to Tana Ethiopian Restaurant on La Palma in Anaheim (very close to Buena Park)... if not, I'm sure you could get them to sell you the ingredients you want.

      There are a number of Arabic markets on Brookhurst Ave. between Lincoln Ave. and the 22 ("Little Gaza"), with a couple further south in Little Saigon, including halal meat.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Thanks! I guess I will have to put a bit more mileage on my car than I was planning, but all these suggestions sound good. I am near the junction of the 22 fwy and Beach Blvd. so they are all within a 30- 45 minute drive.

        1. re: Joani Macaroni

          There is a JON'S market on Goldenwest near Bolsa that carries lots of ethnic food items. You might want to give them a call ahead to see if they carry what you are looking for. By the way, they have a mexican deli with hot cooked items that are very good, also.

    2. On La Palma, just west of Euclid, Thai Lao Market specializes in Thai. They even sell Parrot Soap and St Luke's Prickly Heat Powder! It's a more region specific "Asian" market.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

        Thanks Curt - sounds great! What is special about Parrot Soap? (At first I misread it and thought you meant soup . . .!)

        1. re: Joani Macaroni

          Just a Thai brand, a bit obscure.
          It has a pretty wrapper and is quite aromatic.

          http://grocerythai.com/images/92017.jpg

      2. How about Italian?

        Claro's Italian Market.
        http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2005/...

        Or

        Freshia -- which is Korean (one of a few that exists outside Garden Grove
        )http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2007/...

        Or

        Mitsuwa - Japanese (in Costa Mesa
        )http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2005/...

        OR

        99 Ranch in Irvine and Fullerton

        3 Replies
        1. re: elmomonster

          There's a SuperMart (I think it's called) on the S/W corner of Beach and Malvern in Buena Park. It's a Korean market.

          1. re: elmomonster

            Also Cortina's Italian Market on Brookhurst and Orange in Anaheim -- forgot about that, and the Polish delicatessen (ingredients only, no cooked-to-order food) on the corner of Taft and Tustin (that'd be the southern of the two corners, where Taft heads west) in Orange.

            1. re: elmomonster

              You could hit Claro's in Tustin and the Indian Market yvonnechiffon listed as well as a Kosher Market in Tustin all within a few minutes of each other. I don't recall the name of the Kosher market, but it is in the same plaza as the Creme Pan and across from the Beach Pit BBQ on El Camino in Old Towne Tustin.

            2. There is a great Indian store that's in Tustin or Orange. Sorry I don't have the name or exact address. If you are traveling south on the 5 fwy from Buena Park and exit at Newport Blvd. Turn Left. It's down just a bit on the right side in a strip mall. There's a yogurtland (or something like it) near by. It's got a lot of great stuff. Also don't forget Northgate Markets for Mexican foods and produce. Also, in La Habra there is a Ranch Market that has latin (to appeal to the neighborhood) and arabic foods (to appeal to the owners).
              Your class sounds cool - where is it? Can anyone enroll?

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              Northgate Market
              722 N Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: yvonnechiffon

                I guess ocshooter didn't check the date on the original request, but that's okay! I completed the class in Dec. '07. It was a great class - we went 'round the world with food and each week (members of each kitchen group) were assigned to cook one or two parts of an ethnic meal. Instructor (Santa Ana College) provided the recipes & food; four kitchens were busy humming along. At the end of the class we sat down to a complete ethnic meal. The class was originally designed for those (nurses, dieticians, other health care workers) who work with ethnic groups or incoming immigrants, to help them (the nurses, etc.) understand a wide variety of cuisine and culture that impacts the health of those groups. There is a lot of folk knowledge/wisdom/tradition/belief systems involved in food choice, preparation and serving among many ethnic groups and incoming immigrants that can impact their health. The class was not limited to the medical profession though - and it was an excellent class to fulfill the ethnic diversity study requirement.. I would guess that anyone could take it but with the funding cutbacks, you'd probably have to be enrolled for other classes and working toward a certificate or degree. You could check out their website (Santa Ana College). There were also tests weekly.

                Anyway, I ended up doing the report on Russian food which is one of my ethnic ancestries. I used the Moscow Deli (Costa Mesa) to write my report. I got so interested in Russia hubby and I went on a tour of Russia and the eastern European countries in 2008. One of the highlights was a private dinner just for our tour group in Lithuania in an underground room with Lithuanian folk band and dancing.

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                Moscow Deli
                3015 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626