We have just begun experimenting with cooking Indian food. I've seen several Indian grocers in Frazer but I'm wondering if there is one grocery store with Indian food supplies that is better than the rest. Doesn't have to be one in Frazer...that's just what I've seen in my travels...am specifically looking for things like fresh foods that aren't in Whole Foods/Trader Joes like fresh curry leaves...Thanks for any help.
If you're up for the hike, Shiva Grocery in Trooper (Ridge Pike and Park Ave., next to the Shell station) has fresh curry leaves and a bunch of produce I have no idea how to prepare. Tons of spices, rice, canned goods and teas as well. They've been there for almost 20 years, so they must be selling OK.
You may want to check out Assi Market in North Wales. It's not specifically Indian, but it has a wide variety of Asian-specific spices and produce. However, it's so large that it can be a bit overwhelming--in my opinion, a good thing.
though i haven't been out there in two years since i worked in that area, royal india on rte 30 near the intersection of rt 29 had a great little grocery store attached to their restaurant (though did they remodel, i thought i read? is the store still there?) that's a place to start.
i'm in philly and i do most of my shopping at the place on walnut st around 42nd next to the 7-11... i think it has the word international in its name but i can't recall for sure. if you make it down to the city, they'll definitely have anything you need. the place is huge. though i've been working such crazy hours lately, i'm ashamed to admit that most of my groceries from there consist of instant paneer tikka masala and frozen pakoras (and they are tasty.). there's also rice & spice around the corner, which i haven't been to yet but plan on going to soon for a non-food item that the former place doesn't stock: meswak toothpaste. it's absolutely the best stuff on earth. it does concern the taste buds (it's got a strong licorice flavor), so i supposed it was worth mentioning. :) but on a totally non-food-related note the soaps they sell there (the green bar by pears specifically) are amazing as well.
makkah market is also a half-block away, for more middle eastern stuff. they are open 24 hours a day!
and though i wholly support all of these places over a trader joe's any day, i found out it is possible to make an amazing garam masala in a pinch with whole spices found in almost any ordinary grocery store + a toaster oven and coffee grinder. :)
Im Indian, and I specifically signed up so that I could respond to your post.... :)
The answer to your question is an unequivocal "Yes!". You want to go to "Patel Brothers" in Bensalem. Its about 20 minutes from Center City Philadelphia, but it really is worth the drive. BY FAR the freshest food, by far the greatest variety around the philadelphia area, and the store is not unclean either.
I strongly suspect that other indian stores in philadelphia city are supplied by Patel Brothers.
While at it, grab some good indian food at "Food Castle" which is nearby.
I've been to the Indian grocer in Exton, and it's pretty good. The other place I've shopped for Indian spices and other canned/jarred ingredients (but not fresh foods) is Wegman's. They have a really nice selection at very good prices.