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Looking for a rare spice/grain/ingredient shop (similar to Kalustyan's in NYC)

alkonost Sep 27, 2012 10:04 AM

In search of great places to stock my pantry! I'm wondering if there's any notable places throughout DFW that specialize in unusual spices (sumac, grains of paradise, szechuan peppercorns, saffron, etc) hard-to-find grains/legumes (bamboo rice, kamut, beluga lentils, fregola, etc) and international cooking ingredients. So far the only place heard about in DFW that might be what I'm looking for is World Food Warehouse. I know Central Market and Whole Foods has some of this, but I'm looking for a specialty shop similar to Kalustyans in NYC.

Thanks!

  1. twinwillow Sep 27, 2012 10:08 AM

    Penzey's has many of the items you listed but not (the grains) all of them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: twinwillow
      alkonost Oct 1, 2012 01:58 PM

      Thanks! We had a Penzey's at Grand Central Station but it closed :( Good to know there's one in Dallas.

    2. f
      foiegras Sep 27, 2012 09:31 PM

      You're not in Kansas anymore ;)

      I feel lucky to be able to get absolutely fresh arborio at Central Market. Same thing with steel-cut oats. I could find this stuff, but it was never fresh. Anything truly exotic--I hope you packed well. I would just put in a call to your old shop & have them ship you what you want. You're in Texas now--but UPS delivers.

      4 Replies
      1. re: foiegras
        alkonost Oct 1, 2012 02:13 PM

        Thanks for the info on Central Market. In a pinch Kalustyan does ship. In doing the relocation research I've noticed that Dallas has a lot of what NYC has, it's just a matter of asking people who know where to find the good stuff (for food and restaurants, that would be here in this forum :) ). I liked Central Market when I was in town, I'll be doing a lot of grocery shopping there (and getting lunch).

        1. re: foiegras
          alkonost Nov 4, 2012 09:17 PM

          I found fregola and sumac at Central Market. Woo hoo! Little by little my pantry is growing.

          1. re: alkonost
            twinwillow Nov 5, 2012 09:16 AM

            I don't think anyone here including myself suggested the Indo-Pak stores. They're a great source for middle Eastern and Indian and Pakistani spices and food.

            1. re: twinwillow
              alkonost Nov 5, 2012 12:00 PM

              I remember driving by one in Lewisville, I'll check it out!

        2. LewisvilleHounder Sep 28, 2012 06:28 AM

          You might not be in NYC or even Kansas but you are in Texas!

          The closest store I have found to what you are looking for is in Houston. I beat the recommendation to death, Phoenicia. Just save your list for the one trip every three months or so for what you need. They will not have the bamboo rice but a store a few miles away will have all the asian ingredients you will ever need, Hong Kong Supermarket.

          Houston also has better Pakistani, Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants than Dallas.

          If you ever find yourself in Austin I prefer Savory Spice Shop on 6th st

          5 Replies
          1. re: LewisvilleHounder
            alkonost Oct 1, 2012 02:37 PM

            In the back of my head I had the feeling I might be setting myself up for "You're not in Kansas anymore.." when I wrote the original post :)

            I just downloaded Phoenicia's product list- they've certainly got a lot of what I'm looking for. Thanks for the recommendation, if I make a trip to Houston this is one of the first places I'm going to shop!

            How is the seafood at HK Mart? I also planned on heading to Super H mart, Kazy's, Komart and a few others to see what they have (and which ones are the cleanest :)

            1. re: alkonost
              LewisvilleHounder Nov 5, 2012 08:59 PM

              Hong Kong Supermarket has no comparison unless you are in Souther California. The seafood is ultra fresh and the place is as big as a Super Walmart! Good luck on the seafood at Super H Mart as it can be hit or miss, with more misses.

              If I were shopping for seafood I would hold off and go to 99 Ranch or Asia World Supermarket both in Plano. Kazy's is good if you are looking for Japaense type seafoods. Komart is on par with Super H Mart......Cleanest - 99 Ranch or Asia World (I go on weekends only though)

              1. re: LewisvilleHounder
                alkonost Nov 9, 2012 09:25 PM

                Thank you very much for the valuable info on the seafood freshness and overall hygiene of the stores. The HK mart Grand Prairie location looks closer to me than the one in Richardson, I'm going to try and make a shopping trip there next week. Although I'm tempted to go the the one in Richardson so I can swing by Kazy's, too. Japanese would be my favorite cuisine so I'm psyched to see what they have. I tossed most of my belongings so I wouldn't have much to move across country, but that means I have to re-buy almost everything here. There's few feelings worse than hemorrhaging money, but a well-stocked kitchen is worth it :)

                1. re: alkonost
                  LewisvilleHounder Nov 12, 2012 08:29 AM

                  I meant Hong Kong in Houston.....have not had good luckk especially with seafood at the Dallas locations. Might try Saigon Mall in Garland or Richardson (no one can really claim the NE corner. From my memory they have a very good selection and it is fresh (non-smelly).

                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder
                    alkonost Dec 9, 2012 07:01 PM

                    I checked out Hmart in Carrolton since I was in the neighborhood last week. When I walked by the seafood section it reminded me of a far side cartoon with buzzards around an old carcass ("thank goodness for ketchup"). I wasn't expecting much since you warned it was hit or miss, but I think I went there on a bad day.

                    Nevertheless it wasn't all bad, everything else seemed fine and found almost every Asian ingredient that my kitchen was lacking, not to mention some other surprises (Ukrainian sunflower oil, honey from the baltics). While NYC has a lot of ethnic grocery stores they tend to be very small and don't carry many brands, so something with as much space selection as Hmart made me grin. I can't wait to see what the other Asian markets have.

          2. j
            Jon G Sep 28, 2012 05:56 PM

            Tian Tian in Richardson for Chinese. They have a bunch of grains and whole grain noodles. Euro Deli and Market by Forrest and 75 is a Polish shop that has buckwheat kasha and rye four, among other items. Jimmy's in Dallas has some Italian grains and interesting forms of pasta. Taj Mahal in Richardson for all the Indian legumes. Andre International for Med/Arab spices and grains. Kurry King in Dallas farmers market for spice blends of all kinds. And any Mexican market for whole dried chiles which you can toast and grind yourself.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jon G
              alkonost Oct 1, 2012 03:01 PM

              Thanks for the rec on Tian Tian. I've seen Euro Deli and Jimmy's name pop up several times, so I'll put those on my list of places to shop. I haven't heard of the other places yet- Taj, Andre, etc, so thanks very much for putting those stores on my radar.

              1. re: alkonost
                LewisvilleHounder Nov 5, 2012 09:01 PM

                If going to Taj Mahal you can't miss the pani puri

                http://youtu.be/8VWItEwhuoA

            2. n
              ninrn Nov 5, 2012 09:25 AM

              I don't know why, but there seem to be a lot of Indians in Irving. When my cousin was in grad school there a few years back, I remember there being at least 3 Indian groceries, one big one called Namaste, one called DesiMart and another one called Bombay Imports or Bombay-something. There also seem to be a concentration of Indians and several Indian markets in Carrollton. I think one store was called Spice & Rice.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ninrn
                alkonost Nov 5, 2012 12:05 PM

                I wonder if any of them sell sweet paan :)

                1. re: alkonost
                  LewisvilleHounder Nov 5, 2012 09:12 PM

                  I would stick with the Indian stores in Irving. Just about everyone I know even close friend's Pakistani mom goes to Irving to buy their groceries, eventhough there is a Pakistani market in Carrollton. The turnover on the items is higher in Irving. Highly recommended are India Bazaar (Valley Ranch), Taj Grocers (Central Irving) or Subzi Mandi (Irving Mall area).

                  If you are in the mood for snacks then head to Royal Sweets or Bombay Sweets

                  http://www.royalsweets.net/contact.asp

                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/bombay-sweets-irving

                  If you want paan then all the Pakistani places have a separate vendor selling paan just about all day (Al Markaz and Lal Quila). I know those two have it for sure!

                  Just look for paan on the yelp page below
                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/al-markaz-carrollton#query:paan

                  Same with Balochi (must be new
                  )http://www.yelp.com/biz/baloch-ice-cr...

                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder
                    alkonost Nov 9, 2012 09:43 PM

                    Thanks! Mom's usually know the best places to shop, so that's good advice to have. I was tempted to buy the ingredients for making sweet paan, but then I realized I don't get the craving often enough. All I need is one or two sweet paan and I'm good for a month. Hubs hates the strong smell of rose and he refuses to kiss me after I eat one, but I still chase him around the house for a smooch and revel in his revulsion. Bwahaha.

              2. alkonost Dec 9, 2012 07:18 PM

                I ran across a spice shop in downtown Grapevine called "The Spice and Tea Exchange" (Main St) and wanted to share the info. They sell spices by the slightly overpriced ounce, but they have a decent selection along with unusual finishing salts (cyprus black lava, truffle, all kinds of sea salt), and smoked spices, salts, and chilies. There were some spices I only needed a small amount of so I held off buying larger amounts at the grocery stores (amounts that I'd never use up in a year even if I tried) and bought them here instead.

                They also had bamboo rice :)

                It seems like the shop is set up to cater to people who want to buy food gifts, but the spice and salt selection has offerings for the worldly or advanced home cook. Anyone else looking for a spice shop may want to give the place a walk-through.

                2 Replies
                1. re: alkonost
                  f
                  foiegras Dec 13, 2012 08:31 PM

                  How does it compare to the bulk spice and salt selection at Central Market?

                  1. re: foiegras
                    alkonost Dec 16, 2012 03:21 PM

                    On quality I'd put them at a tie, for price I couldn't tell you for certain since I don't recall enough info but they seemed similar.

                    There was a lot of product overlap between CM and S&T exchange. In the end S&T has a bit of an advantage on variety. Since it's a shop devoted to spices/herb/teas/salts it makes sense, but it's not an enormous shop so I wouldn't say the advantage is huge since space is a factor. The selection wasn't as extensive as establishments like Kalustyan or Penzeys.

                    Also with S&T geared more towards culinary gifts they had a lot more spice rubs and mixes available. Za'atar was among them.

                    But for grains and such CM has an advantage. The grains and lentils at S&T Ex were pre-packaged and of limited variety. While the bamboo rice was a nice find, they didn't have much other then that. So if you're looking to stock up on dried grains, beans and lentils I'd go to CM instead.

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