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Patel Grocery in Sunset Park

5303 4th Ave New York (NY) Phone: (718) 748 6369

Just spreading a little love for this oddly located, small but well-stocked Indian grocery. It's conveniently right next to the 53rd St. R stop. I went in hoping to find a nearby place to buy fresh chiles and curry leaves as I can get my spices at Kalustyan's or elsewhere. They have the curry leaves for $1 a packet which is half the price of elsewhere and they gave me my two chiles for free because they thought I was silly just to want two of them. :) Their selection of dried spices, beans, lentils and rice is above average as is the quality and the prices are significantly lower than anywhere else I've seen. Plus, they were super-friendly and the owner was so excited to see a white girl shopping there that he gave me a personal tour and description of the use of a lot of the spices, introduced me to his wife, and left me with a smile on my face from having such a nice welcoming local experience. I imagine they're not overrun with customers as they're in a strange spot so if you're looking for Indian spices, give them a try!

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  1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll be over there on Wednesday and definitely stop by.

    1. This is very exciting... thanks for the rec!

      1. that's good to know. I went in a couple of years ago looking for curry leaves and they didn't have them. happy to know that they do now and i don't have to trek up to queens to get them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: missmasala

          Yep! They're in a refrigerated case on the left-hand side along w/ the chilies, I almost missed them.

        2. I like this place too. Not too long ago I needed some fresh ginger, as the stuff I'd gotten just a week before at Fairway was already looking desiccated. I thought they might have some and I must say it was by FAR the freshest ginger root I have ever had. So spicy and juicy that it practically chopped itself -- which is saying a lot for a ginger root. The array of spice mixtures and other hard-to-find ingredients is, I think, especially good for the cook who is comfortable doing stuff like sauteeing chicken parts, but maybe not necessarily toasting and blending their own spices for a curry.

          1. I want to thank the original poster for bringing this sweet little shop to my attention. Earlier in the week I had some ground lamb I wanted to use up and I wanted to make something Indian, some kind of kheema. I biked down from my apartment on 18th St. with a friend and as we walked around the shop the owner enthusiastically pointed us to the ingredients on our list. I'll agree with everything said above about the selection and prices, first rate for such a small, out-of-the-way place, and I'll add that as we paid the owner presented us with a free home baked Indian sweet that he said was made with whole wheat flour. Thumbs up for this place, I'll be back (I was eying that block of paneer in the case!)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lochina

              You're very welcome! Glad you had a good experience too. I'm planning another visit soon.

            2. fantastic lead!!!!! that's especially awesome about the curry leaves!

              1. I am so glad to see Patel getting some love on this board! I live around the corner, and if it were not for Patel, the grocery scene around here would be so much grimmer than it is. I stop in at least once a week to get, if nothing else, a half-gallon tub of Desi Dahi yogurt -- rich, creamy, thick stuff, and only $5.50 for the entire tub. SO much cheaper than the tiny little barrels of Greek stuff at fancy stores.
                In addition to all the spices and chiles aforementioned, check out the MTR-brand premade Indian meals -- dishes like Saag Paneer, Channa Masala, etc -- in the boil-in-a-bag pouches. They're all natural, no additives or "natural flavors" -- a great quick emergency lunch with rice or a potato -- as good or better than Trader Joe's Indian meals -- and the best part, just $2 each!

                Also, a tidbit about the neighborhood. This little section once (I'm not sure about the exact time) had a significant Gujarati Christian population. The church on the corner of 4th Ave. and 56th St. SAYS it's Norwegian Lutheran, but in reality, its congregation are Gujaratis whose families have since moved out to Jersey or elsewhere, but come back for church and shopping at Patel on Sundays. On my block (56th between 4th and 5th) on Easter, the sidewalks are full of women in gorgeous pink and turquoise saris, hustling to church.

                1 Reply
                1. re: abijah

                  thanks for this great background post - it was intriguing so I dropped by. Its a nice tidy store, friendly staff, good small selection of indian veg (fresh and frozen) and those indispensible curry leaves! parking was a pain but I was glad to finally get to visit this store - they have an interesting item I hadnt seen before, mali dahi (which sounds like curd made from cream) from the same producer that makes the great tubs of desi dahi - anybody use this product?

                  Also on the corner of 4th and 53rd (NE) were some cold-looking vendors selling tamales (chicken I think) from a cart .. Didnt sample since I was planning a vegetarian-focussed meal but they smelled great.