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Jan 24, 2008 12:00 PM

Ethnic Markets in San Diego

OK, I'm hoping to compile a list of ethnic super markets in San Diego along with people's thoughts and experiences about them. I'll start use off with a few listings.

Ranch 99 Market - Located in Clairemont Mesa this is hands down the best Chinese supermarket in town.

Lucky Seafood - Located in Mira Mesa this is probably the second best Chinese supermarket in San Diego as it is smaller and tends to have slightly higher prices then Ranch 99 but it is still a good option for hard to find items or people located in the North County inland area.

Vien Dong - With two locations (one in Linda Vista and the other on University) it seems to be the largest and best stocked Vietnamese market in San Diego though I honestly haven't spent much time in either.

Mitsuwa Marketplace - A Japanese market located off of Balboa and the 163. I haven't been here in years, my impression was that prices were a bit high though selection was good.

Bombay Bazaar Indian Grocery Store - An Indian supermarket located in Mira Mesa's Little India center. This place is near my house and I love Indian food so I spend a fair amount of time at this grocery store. Excellent price and selection for all things south Asian. There are also several other Indian shops mixed in with the restaurants in that mall.

Seafood City - Filipino supermarket located in Mira Mesa. I live 3 blocks away but I never seem to go here that much though the parking lot is always packed. I do like the ChowKing restaurant (Filipino fast food restaurant) located in the store though.

Northgate Gonzalez - A Mexican/Latino supermarket chain from LA which recently opened a store in Login Heights south of downtown. I haven't been there and I'm hoping someone can tell me more about it.

That's all the large ethnic supermarkets I know of though there are several small markets which might be interesting for people to puruse.

Tip Top Meats is a great German Butcher shop & deli on Palomar Airport Rd while Sausage King on Washington St is the best German butcher in San Diego itself.

Kabul Market on Convoy has Central & south Asian goods.

Mona Lisa and Filippi's are the best Italian deli/markets in San Diego itself though I've heard in North County there are a few more.

Persepolis International Market on Rancho Santa Fe Rd is supposed to have Iranian/Persian foods.

D.Z. Akins is the best Jewish Deli & market in town. It mostly specializes in Kosher goods and items from Israel.

Anyone know of any more? I'm sure there are lots of small ethnic markets around here so let's pool our knowledge and build up a list for our fellow foodies.

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  1. North Park Produce - Specializes in Middle Eastern, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, Indian & Mexican food & produce, if you can call that specializing. They have 2 stores, one in Normal Height & one in Poway @ Poway & Pomorado.

    1. Nijiya Market
      3860 Convoy St # 109
      San Diego, CA 92111
      (858) 268-3821

      Zion Marketplace
      4611 Mercury St., San Diego, CA 92111

      (Just across the intersection from Marukai Market on Mercury, opening next month.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: trentyzan

        Smaller then Zion, but has many good points:
        Korea Mart
        4689 Convoy St, San Diego, CA
        (858) 573-0900

        El Asadero Market
        6866 El Cajon Blvd,
        San Diego, CA
        (619) 337-6544

      2. Another in that neighborhood:
        Parsian International Market
        4020 Convoy St
        San Diego, CA 92111
        (858) 277-7277

        This one used to be better, but seems to be coming back:
        International Groceries
        3548 Ashford St, San Diego, CA
        (858) 569-0362

        1. I went to Northgate Gonzalez last week and let me say it is amazing.
          The hot foods area is delicious and cheap. Try the street tacos or the Empenadas.
          The fresh meat counter is out of this world. They have so many pre-made taco meats, steaks, chicken etc it'll blow your mind. Just take a number and wait to hear it in spanish.
          The fruits and veggies are cheap and fresh. For example at Ralph's serranos cost like 5 for a dollar, but at northgate I got a pound for a dollar which is like 25 serranos. There is also an exquisite baked goods area with things I have never seen for almost nothing. Just go It's work the trip. And they have fresh made tortillas for nothing as well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: milojon

            India Spices and Sweets on Clairmont Mesa just west of 99 Ranch is really nice and the new owner is really helpful and friendly.

            1. re: keena

              I also like the brands of Indian instant meals you can find there. Very good for microwave lunches at work.


          2. Hi,
            I just got home from Northgate. It is outstanding. The flagship store of the Northgate Gonzales chain I've visited in Santa Ana cannot hold a dribbly candle to this mammoth.

            One discovery I made today, after some snooping around is that they carry real romeritos - a herb-like veggie which is traditionally paired with shrimp for the Lenten season. It is in the frozen section and their english translation is smth akin to 'swamp veggie.'
            Near by is all the fixins for your Peruano style cebiches - rocoto, cancha etc. as well as pulps of many rare fruits NOB for your Aguas frescas bases.

            I just finished off my Picadillo I made last night with their Purple Corn tortillas. They were still warm! I was eating them even plain.

            They even have a little dulceria cart set up out front with a nice woman helping everyone to candied fruit. I asked for acitron but they didnt have it.

            The Pan dulce here is baseline - you can do better elsewhere at the little Panaderias.

            I have always seen chilacoyote, huazontle, pepicha among other rarer Mexican produce and herbs here. Their epazote is pretty fresh looking.

            My "First" and go-to Mex market is El Tigre and it should not be overlooked. I really like the Fallbrook store - the staff is especially friendly and the Panaderia is top. The Escondido store is also nice - and is next to Ritmo Latino if you want to pick up some Cumbia. Next to Ritmo is the best Mexican ice cream and paleta shop in the entire county. I have not been to the El Tigre in the Southbay but I have been to the one in Vista as well.

            Pancho Villa's on the Blvd, I've shopped at a couple of times now - but I'm not crazy about the meat or prepared foods counter. The produce is ok.

            Tropical Star on Balboa would probably be a good place to pick up South American and Carrib. supplies.

            4 Replies
            1. re: kare_raisu

              I purchase my peruvian products (frozen ajis from Peru, Inka Cola, purple maiz, sublime, etc.) at Latin American Travel & Services 3636 Fifth Ave
              San Diego, CA 92103. Really great people and many products. Close to Hash House.

              1. re: kare_raisu

                k.r., as posted elsewhere, you may be able to find acitron now at Northgate market; in LA there are candy stands recently provided by AJ Produce (Mexico D.F. based supplier).

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Northgate is Nat City is worth the drive. I purchase fresh oyster's there for .58 each and sometimes at Seafood City also in Nat. City for the same price range. Hard to beat both of these places for items you want of this food group.