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Best Ethnic Markets in Los Angeles

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  • Steve J Sep 28, 2004 07:00 PM
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I am trying to compile a list of all the best ethnic markets in Los Angeles. I regulalrly shop at Ranch 99 and Mitsuwa's but would like to hear from others as their favorite markets. The cuisines/regions I am interested in are:
Japanese
Chinese
Korean
Mexican
Lebanese
Persian/Turkish
Brazilian
Thai
Vietnamese

Any help is much appreciated.......

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  1. Japanese: Marukai (Downtown and Southbay)
    Mexican: Grand Central Market (Downtown)

    3 Replies
    1. re: weebie

      Japanese Supermarkets
      I like Marukai too but not close enough to me. Nijiya is very convenient for West LA and Mitsuwa is good too. Both are pricey.

      1. re: weebie

        What's the address of Marukai?

        1. re: blitzy

          Here are the address's of the various locations for Marukai:
          http://marukai.com/location_j.html

      2. Jons Market on Vermont at Hollywood Bl. for Armenian/Russian/Mexican food products (the have the BEST selection of feta cheese in their deli case. OMG)

        Silom Market on Hollywood Blvd. for any Thai product needs.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cynthia

          Add Jon's on Glenoaks in Glendale, about a block east from the big Paradise bakery complex. Lots of Russian/European/Mediterranean deli items, sausages and cheeses.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Add Old Fashion Deli in north Glendale to that list... fantastic prepared foods and great selection of Armenian foods.

          2. re: Cynthia

            Cynthia, thank you for posting about the feta at Jons Marketplace.
            We had visited one Jons Market a few years ago and walked out disappointed. However, today, with your post in mind, we went to Jons at 18135 Sherman Way in Reseda. It is a nice store...perhaps 6 years there.

            We purchased both the Greek feta and the French feta. The French feta is a clear winner...very fresh and tasty without being too salty.
            I thank you, Cynthia, for this wonderful find!

            1. re: Cynthia

              Jon's ROCKS! They also have great Hungarian goodies like bacon, salamis and sausages, plus an impressive selection of fresh olives and really decent super-cheap coffe beans in the deli.

            2. The best Thai market is probably the one in Thailand Plaza, 5321 Hollywood Blvd. I don't know if it has a separate name or if it's just Thailand Plaza market. Bangkok Market, 4757 Melrose, is also pretty good. There's a smaller one also on Hollywood Blvd. called Bang Luck Market.
              For Lebanese/Armenian (really more Armenian because of the large numbers of Armenian immigrants), Jon's on Colorado in Glendale and Jon's on Santa Monica near Western are both good. I couldn't find one as big and bustling as the old Jon's or Ron's on Sunset, though.
              For Vietnamese, A Grocery Warehouse, 1487 Sunset, is good.
              Also, don't forget Russian...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chowpatty

                Oh, right, Silom is the name, as the poster below mentioned. Brain freeze...

              2. m
                miss eatsalot

                There is a good korean market on the basement floor of the mall located at Western and Olympic.

                1. I like Hawaii Supermarket, Valley @ Del Mar in San Gabriel and San Gabriel Superstore, Valley @ San Gabriel Bl., also in San Gabriel. Significantly cheaper than 99 Ranch, so much so that I haven't been to 99 Ranch in years. Both have nice selections of produce, meat and seafood.

                  1. Korean- the market on Olympic one block east of Vermont. Hanami?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jimbo

                      Han Nam Chain. Very good, affordable seafood along with all the usual korean stuff. And I second A-grocery on Sunset.

                      Is everyone hating on the Super King? It's produce usually looks better than it tastes but you can stock up on a lot of good Armenian stuff there (ie. pita, tzatziki, hummus)

                      1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                        No hating, just lots of love for Super King! Yes, it can get massively busy, but I love their cheap fresh produce and their deli section. They have more kinds of feta than I knew existed and you can try them all before you buy : )

                        Also, a nice shout out to Jons - very handy, varied and tasty.

                        No one here has listed HK Market and the one in Glendale is wonderful. Great produce, fun ready made hot foods and sushi quality fish.

                        I also enjoy Seafood Cit, in Eagle Rock for their seafood, meats and produce.

                        1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                          This is an OLD thread and when it was started, neither the Super King on San Fernando Rd. nor the one in Altadena had yet opened. But it is a terrific ethnic market. It's where I do about 80% of my grocery shopping.

                      2. Some extra ones not asked for. If you're compiling a list to post on chowhound, might as well include as many as you can get.

                        Bharat Bazaar
                        11510 W Washington Blvd
                        - Great for Indian spices, lentils, and other dry goods.

                        Asia Foods
                        10200 Venice Blvd Culver City
                        - A small Indian market for spices, rice, some cheap veggies. They also have a butcher with chicken, goat, lamb. Probably no beef or pork.

                        India Sweets and Spices
                        9409 Venice Blvd Culver City
                        - Similar to Asia Foods, minus the butcher, add a restaurant with cheap yummy Indian food (which seems to always cause gas).

                        Payless Produce & Halal Meat Market
                        10817 Venice Blvd
                        - A good amount of produce at really awesome prices. The quality is hit or miss though. I tend to get lucky with the produce on Thursdays and Fridays. Also good for milk (Alta Dena gallon for $2.69 consistently), butter and miscellaneous Mexican and MidEast/Asian goods. There is also a halal butcher, with chicken, lamb, goat, and beef. Great prices all around with a hint of the developing world atmosphere. Truely ethnic; I hardly see white folks there.

                        Safe & Save
                        2030 Sawtelle Blvd
                        - A nice little Japanese market on Sawtelle. I prefer it to Nijiya because it is less expensive and more neighborhoody (mom & pop), though it is not as extensive. Good produce and select fish at decent prices. 10% discount off fish and produce after 5pm, but I think they close at 6 or 7pm.

                        Santa Monica Glatt Kosher
                        11540 Santa Monica Blvd
                        - I go here for good produce at great prices. Organic tomatoes on the vine for $0.99/lb! There is also a kosher butcher with bad service. But the fish looks tempting at good prices. Then there are the dried goods and dairy products, which are pricey since they're kosher. Closed after 3pm friday, all day Saturday and all Jewish holidays.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Joe MacBu

                          That Payless market is really cool. You have to be willing to dig around for good produce (and occasionally walk away empty), but it's nice to be able to run somewhere on the west side where I can grab everything from European juices in cardboard boxes to inexpensive meat and poultry, to tomatillos and tamarind. The people are all pretty nice there too.

                          1. re: Joe MacBu

                            I also like the India Sweets and Spices on Los Feliz Blvd.

                          2. Persian on Westwood Blvd:

                            Jordan Market -- small selection of beautiful produce, largest selection of canned and packaged products of the Westwood Blvd. markets, generally quite clean.

                            Tochal -- smaller, friendly, clean, now selling Persica as well as Mashti Malone ice creams

                            Rose Market -- moderate sized, reasonable variety, a little dicey with the health ratings

                            Thai: Bangluck Markets, all over town, generally a bit funky, wild selection of stuff

                            Indonesian: there's a little place in Palms, at the corner where National takes a sharp right turn (the cross street is Mentone), across the street from Indo Cafe. Can't remember the name at this late hour but it's very friendly.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: PayOrPlay

                              The Indonesian place also serves food. I like the beef dish.

                              Simpang Asia
                              10433 National Blvd

                              Quoting Jonathan Gold:
                              With a huge selection of Japanese candy and boxes piled neatly to the ceiling, this small Indonesian grocery, with a Web site, is what I’d imagine a 7-Eleven in Sulawesi might look like: immaculate shelves of chile peanuts, dried squid and juice boxes of starfruit drink, kilo bags of fried shallots, and more flavors of instant noodles than you may have known existed. Neighborhood kids drop in, carefully counting dimes for their rations of Pocky sticks or Japanese bubblegum. UCLA students haul off caseloads of ramen. Simpang Asia is almost exotic in its nonexoticism.

                              www.veryasia.com. Lunch and dinner

                              1. re: Joe MacBu

                                Since this 6-year-old thread has sprung back to life, I'll add an update here: Simpang Asia has expanded into the neighboring Cheviot Farms space and no longer has the "7-Eleven in Sulawesi" vibe: it's now more of a substantial grocery store. The dining area has now taken over the old market space and has more of a real restaurant feel, although the service remains friend but a bit haphazard, as it was before.

                                Meanwhile, the deli counter in the market area remains from the Cheviot Farms days and still seems to be offering stuff like Italian sandwiches! (I haven't tried this side, so can't vouch for it.)

                                -----
                                Simpang Asia
                                10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                1. re: PayOrPlay

                                  I had lunch with an Indonesian friend about a month ago and IT WAS GREAT. I don't know jack about an Indonesian menu and therefore cannot tell you what we had but it was all really good.
                                  Especially good was an icy frozen "beverage" with avacado and fruit. Lovely.

                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                    I've been meaning to try this for weeks and will return soon with an update

                            2. Brazilian: Good fortune hasn't come to my two top choices, the late, great Portazil in Artesia and Sugar Loaf in Long Beach, both since ceased operations. In a pinch, I now go to Supermercado Brazil in Culver City.

                              Japanese: Marukai is amazing however it is by membership. If not inclined, Mitsuwa, formerly Yaohan, has a nice selection as well.

                              Asian: Forget Ranch 99, the two consistent best IMHO are Seafood City (West Covina, Panaroma City, Los Angeles, Carson) and Island Pacific (Panaroma City, Cerritos, Los Angeles). Well-stocked, fresh and cleaner.

                              1. I didn't notice anyone in this thread yet mention El Camaguey, on 10925 Venice (at Veteran). One of many Latino markets in that area but not typical for LA, because its focus seems to be more South American than Mexican or Salvadoran. Aisles and aisles of dulce de leche based products and other fun things.

                                And they have rather good Cuban sandwiches made to order at the meat counter.

                                1. Well now, how can anyone leave out TOZAI MARKET, in So. San Gabriel, on Potrero Grande... Made-on-the-spot sushi, and my local place to get clean groceries that are strictly Japanese.

                                  1. There's also Bahay Natin on Venice in Culver City for Filipino groceries. It's not the most extensive market in the world, but at the very least you can grab some ube ice cream and a bottle of banana sauce (I don't recommend eating them together...).

                                    -----
                                    Bahay Natin Food Mart
                                    9903 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                    1. I like:
                                      Japanese - Mitsuwa in Torrance and Santa Monica
                                      Chinese - 168 Market in Alhambra (good/cheap live seafood selection)
                                      Korean - Galleria Market/Han Nam in Koreatown (both on Olympic)

                                      1. Super King on San Fernando if I need phyllo, dates or hookahs. Sunland Produce in Sun Valley for middle eastern and Mexican. Cost Plus for German cookies, Schreiner's in Montrose is ok for German but if i need to do a big shopping trip I usually hold out for Tip Top Meats (see San Diego board). The grocery store in Alpine Village has a big selection but is expensive.

                                        -----
                                        Sunland Produce
                                        8840 Glenoaks Blvd, Sun Valley, CA

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: badvlad

                                          Super KIng in Altadena is great for Middle Eastern and Mexican and great people watching.

                                          1. re: mc michael

                                            Agreed, mc michael. I much prefer the Super King at this location in Altadena to the one on San Fernando Road in Los Angeles.

                                            Super King Market
                                            2260 Lincoln Avenue
                                            Altadena
                                            #626.296-9311

                                        2. Catalina's on Western just South of Santa Monica.

                                          Peru and Argentina

                                          Great empanadas and wine selection and the only place I have found for Peruvian spices.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: magdazine

                                            Valley Produce market: http://vpmarketsimi.com or http://valleyproducemarket.com
                                            Middle Eastern with a great cheese and meat counter. They also fresh grind coffees including Turkish.

                                          2. Little Tokyo Marketplace (in the mall on Alameda and 3rd) is great for inexpensive Japanese/Korean groceries.
                                            Also, SUPER KING for Middle Eastern and even Mexican goodness. Just try to go during off hours.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: thestratbrat

                                              "Just try to go during off hours"

                                              And when would that be?

                                              1. re: thestratbrat

                                                I second Little Tokyo Marketplace on Alameda and 3rd in Little Tokyo adjacent to downtown Los Angeles. Especially for fresh poultry, beef and seafood.

                                              2. Tehran Market on Wilshire in Santa Monica -- between 14th and 15th -- has well-priced produce, olives, feta, flatbreads, all sorts of jarred and canned goods, as well as big tins of oils and sacks of rices and beans. The prices are low and the quality has been high on everything I've bought, and I know people who drive in from all over LA to shop there. I highly recommend it!

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: youngconstance

                                                  YoungConstance -- I love that place. There is a woman who makes homemade "Horesh" (stews) and they are in the freezer. AMAZING, homemade, of course. Beautiful Horesh Sabzi, and the one made from pomegranites, damn, I forget the name, but it's the Persian equivalent of Mexican mole sauce. The olives are cheap and you can buy a giant can of virgin olive oil for 9.00. The feta is also amazing. Persian breakfast: feta, tomatoes and flatbread. Yum!

                                                  1. re: FoodKitCat

                                                    Fesenjen.

                                                    1. re: FoodKitCat

                                                      Wow! Good to know! I went to this market recently and noticed the frozen stews, but wasn't sure they would be any good. Thanks for the tip!

                                                      1. re: junglekitte

                                                        They have Fesenjen frozen?!

                                                        OMG - I need to get there. Awesome, awesome information!

                                                  2. This thread is begging for a Google Map!

                                                    1. Golden Farms in Glendale (near Burbank) market has a great selection of Armenian, Persian, Russian, and Mexican items. Their deli stocks incredible hummos. No preservatives and garlicky :)

                                                      http://maps.google.com/places/us/ca/g...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: burratabelly

                                                        Golden Farms has great produce and a halal butcher counter along with a deli and a hot food counter. They will cook your kabobs for you, too. This store is almost like a mini-mall with nearly every service one could want in an adjoining shop -- dry cleaners, florist, pharmacy, liquor store, check cashing, beauty supply, etc. all in the same building. The deli has close to a dozen kinds of feta, and closer to two dozen kinds of olives, in addition to all the usual -- and unusual -- meats and cheeses.

                                                      2. No one mentioned Vallarta?! This is a chain of about 15 Mexican grocery stores in the valley. Ridiiculous meats, great pre marinated ones. Of course awesome salsas and chips. Avocados and limes by the dozen for nothing. And the butchers are delightful. You can find anything there; very, very fresh. You walk into the meat department and it smells of blood, the way it should, instead of bleach in American markets. Can you tell I"m a carnivore? Must have been that experience as a kid when my Lithuanian grandmother made me watch my grandfather kill and I had to gut the pig.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: FoodKitCat

                                                          I love Vallarta for great produce, fresh meat, the hot foods section, and the bakery. Oh, and of course for the great prices.

                                                          -----
                                                          Vallarta Restaurant
                                                          563 W Ventura St, Fillmore, CA 93015

                                                        2. you have a lot of great responses. i love the thai grocery on melrose and with ranch 99 you need to go to the one in san gabriel on valley blvd and del mar. its huge and better than the one in van nuys or downtown. great idea!

                                                          1. Keep this thread going! I'm particularly interested in Middle Eastern and Persian.

                                                            Bay Cities is the best Italian market.
                                                            For Indian, the stores on Paramount Blvd in Artesia (e.g., Pioneer Cash & Carry) are best. In LA proper, the store next to Samosa House has a lot of good stuff, as does India Sweets and Spices.
                                                            For Thai, the place next to Sanamluang on Hollywood Blvd is pretty strong.

                                                            -----
                                                            Pioneer Cash & Carry
                                                            18601 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA

                                                            Samosa House
                                                            11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: sushigirlie

                                                              Not Paramount Blvd, but Pioneer Blvd in Artesia for Indian markets.

                                                            2. I'm not sure if this counts as a true ethnic market, but the Alameda Swap Meet is one of the best and most comprehensive places for Mexican food and Mexican ingredients in LA. You can get great deals on socks too.

                                                              1. Do any of you know of a Korean market on the Westside?

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                  The closest I know is Han Kook on Western...

                                                                  http://www.yelp.ca/biz/han-kook-super...

                                                                  I go to HK Market in Glendale, on Pacific and adore it, and I think it's part of the Han Kook family. Just a slightly snazzier location : )

                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                    Thank you so much for the quick response! So far away...I guess I know what I am doing tomorrow. Road trip!

                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                      if you're coming from the westside you're better off going to Galleria market on Western and Olympic. it's much more fwy friendly and if you avoid rush hour it's not such a bad drive. it's a nicer market, to boot.

                                                                      1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                        Although not as nice as the Galleria Korean Market, there are two others to consider in Koreatown: the Korean Plaza Market and the newest of the lot, the Zion Market.

                                                                2. LAX-C? It's like a Thai Costco

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ExZeRoEx

                                                                    How about Rivera food Service....a Chinese Costco, perhaps.

                                                                    1. re: selfportrait93

                                                                      Thanks, selfprotrait93!
                                                                      Rivera Food Service is new to me and I can't wait to go there this weekend!