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Jan 19, 2011 09:16 AM

Looking for huge international market in Houston

I'm moving to Houston soon, and I'm wondering if there are any huge international farmer's markets. Up here in ATL, we have this huge store called Buford Highway Farmer's Market. It has tons of produce from all over the world, literally. It also has sections devoted to Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indian, etc. It has a butcher with hard to find items like pork belly, a seafood market, a tortilla press, and a bunch of other stuff. I only discovered it in the past few months, and I'm sad to leave it.

So, will my love of international cooking ingredients be fulfilled in Houston? Besides H-Mart, are there any other stores that are comparable to Buford in Houston?

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  1. The Fiesta Mart on Bellaire and Hillcroft should not be missed, even if you don't buy anything. Outside is a sort of flea market, with everything from cowboy boots to stereos. The store has large produce, seafood, and meat selections, along with aisles and aisles of international foods. It is very ethnic, hispanic, and truly an experience.

    1 Reply
    1. re: James Cristinian

      I'm pretty sure the Fiesta James C. mentions has the OP covered in one stop shopping. "Aisles and aisles of international foods: yup, by country. I had to go to the Italian aisle to find regular ol' spaghetti noodles, which kinda made me crazy one day until I figured it out.

    2. And 99 Ranch is huge, with excellent produce and seafood departments. Another one for you to check out.

      Houston is the fourth-largest city in the nation and has an enormous international population. You should have no trouble finding whatever it is you need.

      1. There isn't, to the best of my knowledge, a single market that will satisfy all of your needs, however, there are places that each deal in a sub-specialty.

        For all things Asian, head out Bellaire to Beltway 8 - there are several markets and ethic groceries out in that vicinity that will supply your needs for Chinese, Vietnamese, perhaps Thai.

        For Japanese, you should go to Nippon Daido - Wilcrest and Westheimer while you're out at the other Asian markets (same side of town).

        Indian / Pakistani - there are markets on the near southwest side, around Hwy 59 and Fondren that specialize in these cuisines.

        Middle Eastern - Phonecia Deli

        Korean? No idea

        For farmers' markets, you should hit the original Houston Farmer's Market, which is on Airline Dr., inside the loop (near the Heights). You will find much ethnic (primarily mexican) produce.

        For seafood, I'd recommend Airline Seafood on Alabama St., inside loop 610 - they're a wholesaler and sell to many restaurants in addition to sales to the general public.

        For a butcher, I'd recommend Pete's Meats on Richmond, just outside of loop 610.

        4 Replies
        1. re: grbroderick

          "Korean? No idea."

          There is a Koreatown along Gessner, just north of I-10. There are a great many Korean shops, restaurants, etc., in that region, and a couple of large and well-stocked supermarkets.

          And, by the way, that 99 Ranch Market I mentioned in my previous post.

          1. re: Jaymes

            The H-Mart mentioned in the OP is a Korean market.

            Here's a link:

            I only know that because of the thirty varieties of kimchi they sell!

            As mentioned above, we don't have a single locale for all of the cuisines, but they are all represented, (and most of them multiple times).

            I'm sure you'll find whatever you are looking for with numerous opportunities to experiment with ingredients you never even thought of.

            At least I know that I have.

            1. re: DoobieWah

              On Long Point between Gessner and Blalock, there is a very comprehensive Korean community. My very favorite restaurant there (and one of my favorites in all of Houston) is Bon Ga. I always think I'm going to order something besides the bulgogi, but I always break down and get the bulgogi. It's just so good. And all the side dishes are also outstanding.

              I love this place.

              Anybody that's looking for good Korean food should try it. And anyone that's not familiar with Korean food, but fears ordering something too 'exotic' should also try it.

              And get the bulgogi.

          2. re: grbroderick

            Just wanted to throw 2 more cents in.........Phoenicia Deli is fantastic! There is both a restaurant (which I think is called "Deli") and a store (which I think may be called "Market"). Great bread, a bakery counter, a deli counter, etc. A complete store too - many of the "middle Eastern types" who go there obviously do all their grocery shopping there.

          3. Houston is an immigrant city. There are all sorts of nationalities represented here and with them come restaurants and shopping places. But Houston is also very spread out and you're probably going to have to get used to doing a lot of driving to find everything you might need. I don't know of any place like the one you mentioned that specializes in produce other than the ones already mentioned. There are several large Fiestas that will be worth visiting. Besides the one on Hillcroft at Bellaire, I like the one on S. Main near Reliant Park, also. Phoenicia Specialty Foods is the big international foods place; it's been called a Sam's Club of spices but it doesn't have that big a produce department and not that much specialty produce compared to some other places. In the new China Town/Asia Town or whatever it's called on the far West side are numerous large Chinese and Vietnamese supermarkets; with huge produce departments. There are Indian grocers all over town but several are concentrated in the Mahatma Ghandi district, also known as Little India, around Hillcroft and the SW Fwy (59S); there are also several Pakistani grocery stores. Way out West on Beechnut at Hwy 6 is World Foods, a competitor to Phoenicia. Not nearly as nice a facility it does have a much larger produce department and a big Halal meat market, plus amazing long rows of other products from India, Pakistan and the Middle East. There is a 50' long aisle of just the various pulses that are used in Indian/Pakistani cooking.

            I don't know of anybody that has compiled a list of ethnic markets but it would be a good resource to have. There are several reference sites such as a guide to China Town, etc.

            The majority of ethnic markets in town however are small and generally have limited produce departments. There are of course hundreds of Mexican and Central American Supermercados. carnicerias and fruiterias.

            Once you get settled in and start needing supplies, come back to this board for specific advice about what you're looking for.

            1 Reply
            1. re: brucesw

              World Foods - Beechnut just west of Hwy 6.

              Never heard of it. Thanks for the rec. I'll be checking it out.

            2. I've been to Buford a couple of times. One of the larger Fiesta Marts may fit the bill. For upscale items, try Central Market. If you want to dig deeper into a particular type of cuisine, all the stores mentioned in this thread are worth a visit.