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Jul 13, 2010 06:37 PM

What are your favorite ethnic markets?

And where are they located?

I really like the Indian market by Asia Cafe and Asia Market. It's very clean and has good prices. Helpful staff.

I like Asia Market as well, but I feel a little intimidated asking for help. They help me of course. I just feel funny about it. I was in there today with a book that thankfully had ingredients listed several ways. I could just point and ask. They have good prices too.

So what and where are your favorites? And why are they your favorites?

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  1. For Asian, I like to go to the MT supermarket at the Chinatown center on N. Lamar. Lots of variety, lots of turnover, and lots of staff that can help you find your way around. I haven't tried any of the proteins, but they have a variety of live seafood, along with the usual pork and beef cuts.
    For Mexican, I like going to La Familia on the corner of Research and Fairfield. Good selection of some of the more obscure ingredients (avocado leaf, various chiles in both fresh and dried states) as well as a pretty nice meat counter with skinny steaks and in-house marinated fajitas and chicken. They also have a taco stand on the other end of the store.
    If you're there on the weekend, the meat market makes pretty good carnitas and barbacoa, which they sell by the pound.
    It looks like a Shell station, but don't let that deter you. Their stuff turns around fast enough that they always have fresh veggies and meat, and the prices are very competitive with some of the smellier groceries.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gilintx

      I like MT market, since it's utterly massive and has a large selection of items for many different countries. The produce department is huge and decently priced, and they're the only place I've found that carries pre-sliced meat in big packs--flanken ribs for galbi and thinly sliced meat for all sorts of dishes (I've even used it for cheesesteaks).

      I'm not sure if it counts because it is more or less a regular grocery store, but I like Fiesta. The International section is awesome. I'm addicted to the box mix for pao de quiejo, which I can only find there. Not as big a fan of their produce section, which should have high turnover considering the crowds, but it always looks a bit sad to me.

      1. re: verily

        Han Yang has a pretty big selection of pre-cut meats for the standard korean dishes/hot pots. It's also my go-to market for kimchi. MT only has one kind of kimchi.

        For Mexican, I go to La Hacienda. Hate the service at La Mihocana. White people can't take backpacks in there but the Mexicans who walk in right ahead and behind you, no problem. And the meat and taco counter can be difficult, to say the least.


        1. re: sqwertz

          Thanks for the information! I've passed that store hundreds of times, but have never stopped. I'll have to try them next time for my ribs. The MT ones tend to be too fatty.

          I don't like the kimchi at MT, and I think it's the same Houston produced kimchi that you can find at HEB; it always tastes off to me.

          1. re: verily

            The HEB's I go to only carry Banyan brand kimchi. Which is OK, but not great. I took some to work not too long ago and made lots of enemies with it.

            MT carries Cosmos brand, IIRC. Don't quote me on that, though. That may be the brand of cucumber kimchi that I love at Han Yang, but the one at MT I'm not too wild about.

      2. re: gilintx

        I stop by MT Supermarket at least once a week; lots of variety and decent prices. However I find that I have to carefully inspect the produce and check expiration dates; they do not seem to be very rigorous in purging stuff "past its prime". For example, they always have Japanese yams, which my wife loves. But on about half the visits the yams either have or are about to go bad.

        For Japanese markets, try Asahi Imports, 6105 Burnet Road. They stock very little produce and no fresh meats/fish, but have anything else you need for Japanese cuisine.

      3. Is there a good Indian market south? (I live near Congress & Oltorf)

        For Asian, MT usually has the best prices.

        3 Replies
        1. re: conquer

          Ive never been, but I have seen one(Indian Market), I believe, on the south side of Ben White and S. First. I keep meaning to go by there, because it's the only one down south that i've seen.

          1. re: conquer

            The Indian market TT mentions is in the same strip mall as a bar called Benders. I recall getting a really good hot samosa from an aluminum tray next to the register. There is a fairly new Indian market on William Cannon just west of Brodie - I think it is called Man Pasand. Great selection of frozen items, well stocked spices and dry foods, and a great little produce section with reasonable prices and cool items like fresh garbanzos and big fat bunches of mint for less than a dollar.

            1. re: conquer

              Shree Jee, right next to the transit center off of Ben White and Congress. I think you can get to it from behind on Radam lane rather than just eastbound Ben White.

            2. Sarah's is a great and super-cheap Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery store, located on Burnet just south of North Loop. They have a ton of spices, candy, rice and grains, and imported condiments, as well as cold cases of middle eastern cheeses and drinks.

              4 Replies
              1. re: heyzeus212

                Good call, heyzeus. Sarah's sells "Turkish" pistachios and not the bland "California" ones.

                1. re: heyzeus212

                  Phoenicia Bakery on Burnet Rd is the tops.

                  6 types of feta (including salty bulgarian and french sheep's feta), an olive bar half the price and twice the freshness of Central Market, freezers full of middle eastern and central european delicacies, and Austin's best homemade pita. Plus the people who work there are great.


                  1. re: abd

                    ...don't forget their schwarmas.

                    1. re: abd

                      I went today to stock up on deli meat but they were out of my top two: pancetta and capicola (both dirt cheap when they have it). I still got a pound of gyro meat.

                  2. I have visited the Korean grocery (don't ask me the name!!) in the shopping center at Justin and North Lamar a couple of times. This place has some really bizarre items. The MT grocery is much larger, but I thought this Korean grocery actually had a few items you could not find in the other local Asian stores. Check it out - btw, the Korean BBQ in the same center has a really awesome lunch buffet. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful as I worked my way around the unique offerings.

                    This Korean grocery is one block north of a different kind of ethnic market: The Yellow Rose ;-)

                    Hey - don't forget about the mother of all ethnic markets: Fiesta!!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nw_austin_gourmand

                      Han Yang is the name. Attached to restaurant with the same ownership. Never been in the restaurant. I don't consider the market that bizzarre, but I'm an old hand at Asian markets. I buy some pretty wild stuff. Ask what it is and how to use it later. You should see my fermented fish-stuffs collection. Mam nem anyone?


                    2. We are into the all natural grass fed sheep,beef, and chickens. We are also getting into catfish that are raised in large stock tanks (ponds).

                      We are looking for place to market our product. If it is to a family or to a store. We will work with anyone to make sure our product is what they want and how they want them.
                      We are located 50 miles east of Austin.