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Dec 27, 2007 01:45 PM

Ethnic markets

Just thought I would compile a list of ethnic markets in the Mtl area, so that I can know if I am in a certain neighborhood where to find tthe goodies and maybe it will be useful for others as well:

-Chinese/Asian: several but most inclusive Marche Hawaii (VSL) and Kim-Phat on Jarry E.
-Greek: several locations of Mourelatos
-Lebanese/Middle Eastern: several locations of Adonis
-Italian: Milano on St-Laurent, any other big ones in St-Leonard maybe?
-Mexican: ?
-Latin American: Supermarche Andes on Belanger
-Indian:sveral in Park-Ex, on Victoria and in WI but no real stand-outs. Is there anything fairly big and decent? JT Bazar is not that good. One that sells great samosas would also be appreciated!
-Persian: Marche Akhavan (NDG and Pierrefonds)
-Turkish: Marche Istanbul (St-Laurent and Cremazie)
-Thai: Marche Bangkok, on Maisonneuve E, opening soon I think (drove by there last week and had a quick glance)

Feel free to add your favorites!

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  1. Japaneses : Miyamoto Foods ( on Victoria in Westmount.
    Spanish : La Librairie Espagnole (3811, boul. Saint-Laurent) for some Spannish canned and some meat ( they have local hams, but I think you can order real ones).
    Portugese : I'm not certain of the name, but there is a store on St-Laurent just north of Mont-Royal.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      How could I have forgotten Japanese and Korean! My favorite for both is the one on Ste-Catherine west of Guy and east of Atwater. I don't remember the name unfortunately.

      1. re: hungryann

        I believe it's called "Epicerie japonaise et koréene." Strange, I'm sure, but I've never seen another name on it.
        BTW, they sell the best Bento lunch boxes out there.

          1. re: hungryann

            No, I meant they sell the lunch boxes themselves, i.e. the containers. It makes for more diverse lunches, as long as you use your imagination.

          2. re: rillettes

            I think Epicerie japonaise et Coreene is the one on Sherbrooke and beaconsfield, not the one on St. Catherine. So far, this is my go-to place for korean ingredients. It is one of the few places in Montreal where I will buy kimchi. Their chong kap kimchi (Aka Bachelor's kimchi, made with small elongated white radishes with attached green stalks and leaves, the radishes are about 3-4 inches long and 1 inch wide) is the best in the city by far. (I am not including homemade kimchi).

            Other favorites:

            La Depense at Jean-Talon Market has an astounding selection of hard to find ingredients from all over the world in one convenient location. I was impressed by all the different items you could purchase there.

            Vava (on Parc near the Frit-Alor) seems to have an excellent Russian selection. All sorts of canned and dried goods labelled in Cyrillic got my curiosity piqued. They also advertise making homemade Russian tortes. I don't know how authentic they are, as my knowledge of Russian cuisine is limited to Blini and vodka, but the tortes we had were really delicious.

            Boulangerie & Pâtisserie Motta
            303 Av Mozart E
            Tél.: (514) 270-5952: I like this store near JTM. They have a nice selection of grocery items, not as extensive as Milano, but well chosen. Plus they have great take-out. I love their pizzas, and their mixed olive/marinated vegetable appetizer is one of my favorite in the city.

            Ok, this is't so precise, but... In Chinatown, next to the location where the big Chinese grocery store burnt down, on St. Laurent on the West side just north of dela Gauchetiere... That grocery store. The selection is smaller than soem of the big stores like Marche Hawaii, but it is again, thorough and well chosen. Prices are pretty comparable. The reason I still like that store is for its compact nature, the good quality produce and especially, the butcher. The meat is very fresh as they have great turn around. It is the best place to get pork neck bones for Kam ja Tang, and I will often buy the oxtail there. And the pigs feet are cheap and clean looking. My only beef (no pun intended) is that they cut the oxtails in half, and as i don't speak the language, I have yet to get the exact cut I want. But they are a reliable source for oxtail, and it is very fresh, and a bit cheaper than I've found in other places.

            What a great idea for a thread, hungryann! This will be a very handy reference list.

            1. re: moh

              I'll be even vaguer, but I'm sure someone here can find the precise name. There is a nice modern Chinese grocery store on Clark, between La Gauchetiere (sorry, I'm typing on an English-keyboard laptop and haven't found how to make the accents) and Viger, on the west side of the street. I've found lots of good produce and frozen items there - they have a lot of intriguing herbals. It is part of a little mall of Chinese shops.

              For groceries (not their baked items) I find Motta a bit more expensive than Milano or Capitole.

              1. re: lagatta

                Point well taken about the prices at Motta. I guess I'm just a sucker for their prepared foods. They also have a house-prepared eggplant pickle (mild and spicy) that is one of my favorites. I love putting those things on sandwiches.

                Also had a chance to look at the products at Marche Hawaii (finally!) I was impressed by the choices of products. For example, instead of the usual selection of 5-6 brands of soy sauce, there were many different brands to choose from. I was quite impressed by the multitude of frozen dumplings one can purchase. The meat counter was clean and the meat looked to be of reasonable quality. But I was a little disappointed nevertheless. (Am I being unreasonable?) I was hoping to find more new products, not more of the same products I can already find in smaller shops downtown. I wanted to see different meat products, more fruits and vegetables, more wacky fermented products. And they didn't have fresh shrimp! We had the choice to buy frozen only! I found that they had a dizzying array of boxed candies and odd cookies, a lot of prepackaged asian junk food. That was fun, but where were the flattened preserved ducks? The dried frog? Unfamiliar tofu products? I know I am being a bit whiny. It is still a great store, and I am very happy it exists. But I am comparing it to a visit to a T and T in Toronto, and I was a bit underwhelmed by Marche Hawaii. At the T and T, I was lucky enough to go on a day they had all the samples out. I got to try all sorts of unfamiliar tofu products and odd dessert items. I saw products that made me go "WHAT WAS THAT?" I guess I want that from Marche Hawaii. Am I being a spoiled brat? Or do others feel the same?

                1. re: moh

                  I guess we'll have to post on the Ontario board about T&T. Is that its real name?

                  I do love the Motta eggplant (I have made those myself, but really don't have the time). Their fresh foods are pretty good too, but I'm not quite satisfied with their tart dough. I have lived in that neighbourhood around the Jean-Talon market, both north (Villeray) and south (Petite Patrie) for many, many years, and have to watch my budget, so I do notice where things are cheaper.

                  I'm trying to think of the name of the Italian supermarket to the east, on Jean-Talon in St-Leonard. Think it is Bonanza, like the old western.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    Yes, I believe that is the correct name, T &T. I also appreciate the tips on cheaper prices! i tend to not think about this, but I should. I am also trying to watch my budget. I wouldn't be a very good contestant on the Price Is Right.

                  2. re: moh

                    Yeah, you're just being whiny...:)
                    But I agree with you. The one thing Hawai is missing is fresh seafood and prepared meats. OK, that's two things. A BBQ section to the meat counter would be nice, with pork and duck and beef tripe stew hot and ready to eat, but hey, I still love the place.
                    Their Indonesian section, while not huge, is still 100X bigger than anyone else's.

                    1. re: moh

                      I've been told by a reliable source, that T&T is looking to open a Montreal location. Currently they are looking to find a suitable Montreal location first.

                      1. re: BLM

                        you have just made my day! What a shame I have to start my diet.... Moderation and a lot of food window shopping will have to occur.

                      2. re: moh

                        I am writing to retract some of my whining about Marche Hawaii. I went in today, and maybe I was lucky and went on a day when they had just restocked, but I was much happier with some of the products. The fresh seafood section still sucks. However, I had a lot of fun checking out the organ meats. Today's selection included pig spleen, liver, kidney, heart, uterus (yes the uterus - I didn't even know it was edible!), and a whole host of chicken parts (feet, livers, gizzards). Saw some interesting Vietnamese sausages.

                        I also saw a lot more produce. They had an excellent selection of Vietnamese and Chinese herbs, I couldn't even tell what some of them were! Thai eggplants, something called "tiny eggplants" (they looked like grape clusters on stems!), wing beans, kaffir limes and kaffir lime leaves, all sorts of chinese melons, lotus root, great selection of fresh chiles, I could go on and on. Everything looked very fresh and everything was well-labelled (Yay! Made it easier to know what I was looking at!). The selection has not been this great on my prior visits! I hope they will continue to have this wonderful selection of produce in the future. Now if we could get them to work on the fresh seafood...

                        1. re: moh

                          Give them time. The whole seafood thing there is fairly new.
                          But I've always liked their produce section. Those tiny Thai eggplants are always used in green curry in Thailand, but they're not actually eaten.

                          1. re: bomobob

                            I'd never heard of that. I've always eaten the little things. I enjoy the taste and texture quite a bit.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              The tiny, slightly-bigger-than-a-pea sized ones? The Thais don't usually eat them. They impart a nice flavour, but they're pretty bitter to munch on. My cooking mentor used to joke about how tourists would say,"Oh, I'm so lucky, Such a nice big pea", then bite it and spit it out in disgust.
                              I cook with them, but never eat them. Maybe I ought to try one here!

                              1. re: bomobob

                                Are you talking about "thai pea eggplants" like the ones here?


                                That's interesting about them not being eaten in Thailand, I was tempted to try picking up some but maybe not. I tried the green golf-ball sized ones one time and they were not bad. This site says of the tiny pea ones: "They become very bitter and tough when they are over ripe. These eggplants are best when they are harvested and used that day."

                                1. re: kpzoo

                                  Yup, them's the ones.
                                  The little golf ball, mini striped watermelon ones are delicious, and are also used in traditional green curry. They're fried up a bit of coconut cream and the curry paste to soften them up first. Yummy.

                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                    The ones I saw at Marche Hawaii looked similar to this photo, but they looked smaller in size.
                                    They also had the golf-ball sized eggplants (green, striped). I agree, they are really great in curry!

                                    1. re: moh

                                      I can't understand the remarks about not eating the small, marble-seized Thai eggplants. In Thai, these are called 'Ma-khua Phuang,' 'Ma-khua meaning 'eggplant' and 'phuang' meaning 'a group or bunch.' They are widely used in curries and are quite delicious when fresh. The golf-ball sized eggplants are another Thai variety hat are usually quartered when used in curries and other dishes.

              2. Eastern European: Bucharest on Decarie, big time
                Rocky Montana fruit store on Sherbrooke/Harvard has recently expanded, and has a very good selection of "emergency" Asian foodstuffs.
                Korean: Korean Marche at Sherbrooke/Beaconsfield
                Another Excellent Asian market for those in the Outremont/CDN area is Marche Ying on Wilderton

                1 Reply
                1. re: bomobob

                  Google says Marché Ying is on de Darlington, not Wilderton. Easy mistake to make?

                  Marché Ying‎
                  6655 avenue de Darlington
                  (514) 738-8282

                2. Has anyone been to Punjab Foods in Lasalle? I heard it was quite large and well stocked.

                  Punjab Foods
                  9000, boulevard Newman, H8R1Y8, Lasalle, QC

                  1. The latin supermarket on Bélanger is now called Sabor Latino. There's still a Marché Andes on St-Laurent north of Marie-Anne.

                    For goodies from the former Yugoslavia there's Balkan on St-Hubert and De Castelneau.

                    For the best samosas in town just go to Pushap on Paré east of Décarie. It's not a market, but it's worth going just for the samosas and the great Indian sweets. It's dirt cheap, too.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      Thanks I know about Pushap and they are very good but it's not always convenient. I'll definitely have to check out Punjab Foods in the near future.

                      1. re: SnackHappy

                        Other Latin American places not far from the Jean-Talon market are Boucherie St-Viateur on Beaubien, corner Casgrain (not just a butcher's, but a good and economical one for the carnivorous) but also a Latin American grocery. The owners are Argentinean, so mostly foods from Argentina and other Southern Cone countries (Chile, Uruguay...) and a lot of Italian groceries. And Popocatepetl, obviously Mexican, on Belanger a bit east of Christophe-Colomb (corner de Normanville), a tiny shop but great fresh tortillas.

                        Don't confuse Balkan, a bit north and east of JTM, and Balkani, inside the market along the new aisle, Henri-Julien side of market. Both interesting, not exactly the same products - Balkani is Romanian and Russian-Romanian.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          You tried the grilled sausage sandwiches at both Balkan & Balkani? If you tried them both, which you like better(I don't think Balkani at JTM, serves grilled sausage sandwiches year-round however)? Just went inside Balkan for very first time yesterday, but I was in a rush to get home so I couldn't try their grilled sausage sandwiches.

                          1. re: BLM

                            I've never eaten either on the spot - I live a short walk from both - I have bought sausages from both places but the offer varies at each, more at Balkan which is still a little rougher around the edges (and a bit cheaper). They used to have chicken sausages of the smooth European frankfurter type and don't carry them now.

                            Balkan is a wee bit forbidding; there is a very big Balkan (Serbian, I think) guy at the counter who looks stereotypically tough, but he has always been very nice - sure, I wouldn't try shoplifting there, but I wouldn't do that anywhere. There are a lot of interesting meats, cheeses and other products, not very artistically displayed. I wanted to point it out as they have some very good deals and even though they are very close to Jean-Talon Market, Beirut-Erevan (Chez Apo) on Faillon and other chowish destinations, they are a bit off the radar.

                            1. re: lagatta

                              I also live a short walk away from Balkan, and walked in once... The displays are really not attractive, and I did not feel like sorting through the (unknown to me) products. Would you have specific recommendations of things to try?

                      2. Italian: FruttaSi on Chevcehnko in Lasalle, its huge! It is also very cheap.