Best "Ethnic" Neighborhoods and International Markets in the US
One of my favorite things to do is visit neighborhoods with a high concentration of immigrants and find authentic food and/or interesting grocery shops. I live in NJ so I've done some exploring in this area but I'd like to plan road trips around "ethnic" neighborhoods in other parts of the country (or local spots I've missed). What are some of your favorite places to visit and/or if you are a recent immigrant yourself where do you go to get an authentic food experience and/or shop for ingredients to make dishes from your country of origin?
Some of my stops have been:
Indian food in Edison/Iselin, NJ
Italian in NJ, Philly, Providence, Manhattan and Staten Island
Korean in Central NJ, Queens and Manhattan
Mexican (Oaxacan) in New Brunswick, NJ
Salvadorean in Elizabeth, NJ
Spanish in Newark, NJ
Russian in Brighton Beach
Some local places I want to visit:
Korean in Palisades Park, NJ (Apparently has the highest concentration of Koreans outside of Korea? Don't know how I haven't been there yet.)
Mitsuwa Japanese Market in NJ
So help me broaden my horizons! What part of the country do you live in and where would you suggest somebody go for an authentic experience of another food culture?
Jackson Heights/Curry Hill/1st Avenue near East 6th Street for Indo-Pak
Woodside for Filipino
Spanish Harlem for Mexican/Puerto Rican
Washington Heights for Dominican
Chinatown (Manhattan, Sunset Park and Flushing) for Chinese and general Asian goods
Brooklyn Heights/Bay Ridge for Levantine/Yemeni
KTown for Korean
West Village for British
Woodlawn/Woodside for Irish
Astoria for Greek/North African/Egyptian/Brazilian
Stuyvestant Street for Japanese
Greenpoint/1st Avenue near East 7th for Polish
Brighton Beach for Russian
Yorkville/West Village for German
Can't imagine how anyone would miss Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for the best bread, fresh pasta, cheese, fresh fish, and all around anything Italian food and dining--the densest concentrations anywhere. There are 3 superb old world bread bakeries just blocks apart--any city would die for even just one. The ambience, too, is completely unique.
Atlantic Ave between Court St and Clinton St has several fabulous Middle Eastern markets. Malko, Oriental, Damascus Bakery and Sahadi.
In Manhattan Kalustyan's has almost everything ethnic that you could imagine.
Annandale, VA for Korean.
I haven't been, but I saw a TV show that made me wild to check out Hamtramck, MI for Polish and other ethic cuisines.
In southeastern New England, we have significant Portuguese-Lusophone diaspora communities in an arc from Gloucester to East Cambridge to New Bedford, Fall River and East Providence. In NJ, I think you're missing the Portuguese-Lusophone diaspora communities around Newark.
Watertown MA has an important Armenian-American community.
South Tucson AZ is the heart of Sonoran Mexican cuisine in the USA.
I always think of Dearborn MI as the heart of Syrian-Lebanese cuisine in the USA.
re: Karl S
True, it's handier, but not sure if that was the criteria. As for my experience while living in the Boston area, I really had a hard time finding some of the great homemade Armenian ingredients I can easily find in LA. Otherwise, I found the quality to be below what I was used to. If I were going to promote an ethnic niche local to the Boston area, I would say Cambodian in Revere. Although I'd again argue that you'll find a larger one in Long Beach in LA.
Adding on to raytamsgv's and Searching4Dunny's LA list:
- The South Bay, mainly Torrance and Gardena, parts of West LA, and downtown LA's "Little Tokyo" (to a lesser extent) for Japanese as well.
- Hollywood/North Hollywood for Thai
- So many parts of California have Mexican food - good to great examples can be found in many neighborhoods. But as raytamsgv listed, a heavy concentration is in and around East LA.
- raytamsgv's mention of Chinese in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) is too modest. The extent and the breadth of Chinese cuisines in the San Gabriel Valley is hard to fathom unless one has been here. This area is roughly 200 square miles, of which probably half of the population is Chinese, then Vietnamese, and to a much lesser but growing extent Korean. Most have come across an ethnic restaurant where knowing the language helps. In many of the cities within the vast area of SGV, knowing Mandarin, Cantonese or Vietnamese is de rigueur.
- E Eto already mentioned Armenian communities in the general Glendale area as well as Little Armenia. But there is a growing population of Armenians in the western half of the San Fernando Valley area as well. This area is also becoming popular with the Persian and Israeli communities.
Chicago: Devon Avenue (pronounced deh-VONN, for those who have not visited--as counterintuitive a pronunciation as Houston St. in Manhattan). Runs the gamut from Pakistani/Indian to Azerbaijani/Georgian/Russian. Also in Chicago you have the Maxwell Street Market, which in another burst of illogic, is not on Maxwell Street (it used to be). Great Mexican food, among much else.
Falls Church, VA: Eden Center, the best Vietnamese shopping center in probably a thousand-mile radius.
Nashville, TN: Nashville Farmers Market. In one of those "only in America" situations, Nashville has become one of the largest settlements of Somalis in the US, and there is a large community of Bosnian immigrants, too. The Nashville Farmers Market has a lot of stalls that you'd think were airlifted direct from Lagos, or elsewhere in Africa. The food choices there are astonishing.