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Cured meats - "exotic" types and where to buy?

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I'm trying to get a nice selection of cured meats as a christmas present for my boyfriend who eats salami like it's going out of style. He normally goes to Garden of Eden to buy whatever looks good at the moment.

Thus I'd like to try to get him something a little more "special" or "exotic". No internet b/c I refuse to pay $50 shipping for perishables when the best food city in the world is my backyard.

Does anyone have suggestions on where to go for some special/different cured meats? Whether special being animal type (know there's pork/beef, read about duck salame, boar, is there lamb?) or a different taste or method of preparation. I unfortunately don't have a meat slicer (maybe that'll be his birthday present next year?), so nothing that has to be sliced impossibly thin, please. And no fresh sausage since they're perishable.

I've done my homework to see that chowhounders like faicco's, despana, and dipalo's - haven't gone to them yet so am curious what i'll find there and elsewhere. Good values are preferred.

Thanks!!! (And happy holidays.... may you all eat and drink and be merry!)

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  1. murray's

    1. DiPalo is pretty great and classic NY. You might also do well in the Bronx at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.

      1. Having a slicer for cured meats is only necessary if you intend to roll the meats or make a sandwich. I would think many would be satisfied slicing quality meats and enjoying them as antipasto with other items.....peppers, cheeses and olives for example with bread or crackers on the side. Please be aware that once a meat hits the slicing wheel, the shelf life of the *cold cut* becomes a week at most. Leaving the salamis whole increases the shelf life of the product.

        http://www.salumeriabiellese.com/

        http://www.salumeriarosi.com/

        1. Depending on where you live, you may want to check out Ideal Cheese on 1st and 51st. (or maybe 50th). They have a good selection of cured meats and sausage products. Their prices are competitive and they will normally give you tastes, especially if you go at an off time.

          1. Grab an R train to Queens and get thee to Muncan's in Astoria (43-09 Broadway). If you get on at the back of the train, when you get out at the stop for 46th Street—the stop after Steinway St.—you'll only have to walk 2.5 blocks after crossing to the north side of Broadway and you're there.

            Muncan's is run by Romanian guys who recently lived in, and emigrated from, Croatia. They have smoked, cured meats/salamis like you would not believe—most of which are things you've likely never heard of. There are usually free samples. Also, tell the guys there what you're doing and see if they'll make up something special. When I lived in Astoria they were always very nice and very helpful. They also have cheeses and a whole bunch of other eastern European stuff. I don't know for sure but I'll bet the prices are low here because it's Queens as opposed to Manhattan.

            If the Queens part of the equation seems a little out of the way, have no fear. It's Astoria, not Far Rockaway. It's only four stops out from Midtown on the R.

            My only concern is that if you go on a weekday, make sure you get there before 6PM as I think that's when they close and around the holidays it can get pretty busy. Probably best to call first (718) 278-8847 to get hours.

            Good luck!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Glendale is hungry

              I second Muncan. There are so many choices that is mind boggling, and talk about good value - the prices are very reasonable. They have very few things that are factory made, everything else is made in-the-house.
              There is a lamb sausage that comes to mind - ask for "babic". It's very dry, flattened and shaped in a loop, and it has to be sliced very thin because of the hardness. Sort of a jerky texture, incredibly aromatic and flavorful. Slices are about the size of thumbprint.

              Set of pictures here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/loladear...
              they were taken at both Muncan locations (there's another in Ridgewood, a bit longer train ride, Astoria is much easier to get to). You have a product and price list there, too.

              1. re: Glendale is hungry

                Muncan is a great suggestion and the first place that I thought of as well.

                After Muncan, you might want to take a walk to 31 street between 30th ave and 31st ave and stop by Euro Market. They have all sorts of house smoked meats and tons of other cured meats. they have salamis from all over and will let you try anything before buying it.

                1. re: Yaxpac

                  I love chowhound! Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.... after reading about Muncan (and seeing those pictures) and Euro Market, sounds like I'll be on a discovery quest this saturday to astoria as well as various parts of manhattan. hope the weather's perfect for walking around and tasting meat!

                2. re: Glendale is hungry

                  Muncan is definitely my favorite as well. Get the tangy lamb salami and the lamb prosciutto, which tastes like blue cheese. They even have a cured chicken sausage which somehow does not taste like chicken. Open until 6:30pm on weekdays. Closed Sundays.

                3. I can't imagine anything more special or exotic than Jamon Iberico de bellota (Iberian ham from acorn-fed black footed pigs) ..try Despana for this. The best is to have it hand carved. Even if slices are not cut thin, there is probably a limit to what you can both consume within the period of maximum freshness. For value, you might want to visit Arthur Avenue, but I do not recall any exotic meats... Teitel had beautiful bresaola last week. Their prices are generally very good.