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Large Indian Grocery Stores like 99 Ranch, etc.?

leewanls Feb 10, 2014 01:04 PM

I have looked into the older posts/googled, but all seems to only give me a list of all indian grocery stores but not their size/popularity.....

I am wondering are there a couple of Indian grocery stores that everyone would go/the first name that they will think of when asked about "the" Indian Grocery store just like "99 Ranch" if you ask any Chinese or "H Mart" for Korean?

Here's what I have found:
-Indian Cash & Carry
-Patel Brothers
-Penzeys Spices


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  1. eatzalot RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 01:17 PM

    In S. Bay, I've found India Cash & Carry (spelled India, rather than Indian) good for things like bulk spices and Spanish saffron. I'm not doing primarily Indian cooking, but certain items are more available at Indian shops than others. (Even bulk hot red pepper for some of its standard nonculinary uses, as a rodent repellent in bird feeders or landscaping, at better prices than anywhere else, like $2 a pound in quantity, a price not approached by any brick-and-mortar US retailer I've seen.

    The one I use in W. San Jose is sort of a mini-supermarket, fairly compact but crammed with stuff. Much in the same way that Smart & Final is a mini-Costco.

    Bigger, more businesslike, and more chain-like in style than the typical independent Indian grocer around the Bay Area. (Some of which don't even carry bulk hot red pepper, oh the shame!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: eatzalot
      leewanls RE: eatzalot Feb 10, 2014 01:59 PM

      Great...! Thank you! :) I am not doing primarily Indian cooking at all... That's why I am trying to find the bigger stores to make this process easier lol

    2. m
      ML8000 RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 01:22 PM

      Next to Vik's Chaat Corner in Berkeley is Vik's Market. Not a 99 Ranch size place but check it out. Might have to go elsewhere for spices, like Bombay Spice or similar.

      p.s. Penzeys Spices isn't Indian, rather Wisconsin.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ML8000
        leewanls RE: ML8000 Feb 10, 2014 01:58 PM

        Thanks! I will check that out. It seems hard to find a place where it is more of a "one-stop" location that I can find fresh vegi, meat, food and spices (Indian) around the Bay...

      2. Robert Lauriston RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 01:27 PM

        How big is India Cash & Carry? The biggest Indian stores I've found are only a fraction of the size of Hanook or a 99 Ranch.

        Penzey's is not an Indian store, though they have some of the highest-quality spices, including many Indian ones.

        I went to a bunch of places looking for kodampuli and finally found it at Milan in Berkeley.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          leewanls RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 01:56 PM

          haha! So please do share the "biggest" one that you have been to! It could be just because there are no Indian Grocery chain in the Bay?

          Yea I have heard of Milan in Berkeley too. Is it the one called Milan International? I did check their pictures it looks rather small. But I guess if there are enough variety of selections, the size isn't all that important?

          1. re: leewanls
            Robert Lauriston RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 02:08 PM

            Milan International is larger than you might think from the outside but it's nowhere near supermarket size. The spice section takes up a lot of the store.

            I don't think I've ever seen meat in an Indian grocery store, maybe because so many of their customers are vegetarians. Indus Food Center in Berkeley is a halal grocer / butcher run by I think Pakistanis, they have some Indian / Pakistani stuff but also things from other places with significant Muslim populations.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston
            eatzalot RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 02:03 PM

            "How big is India Cash & Carry?"

            See my earlier post here, now expanded.

            OP however asked for what might qualify as a go-to Indian grocer, in the role that 99 now occupies for Chinese groceries -- not specifically a market comparable to 99 in size.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Alan408 RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 02:09 PM

              India Cash and Carry has at least two locations

              1) El Camino at Henderson
              2) De Anza at Bluefield

              2 is the size of a small 7-11, has a deli

              1. re: Alan408
                Robert Lauriston RE: Alan408 Feb 10, 2014 02:12 PM

                They also have stores in Fremont and Foster City.


                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  leewanls RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 02:26 PM

                  Yes. They seem to have couple store locations. That's why I thought it's a more popular one

              2. re: Robert Lauriston
                mielemaiale RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 11, 2014 11:35 AM

                Wow, kodampuli? I've found kokum readily at Viks, but never found kodampuli outside of Kerala and Coorg. Would love to get my hands on some!

                1. re: mielemaiale
                  Robert Lauriston RE: mielemaiale Feb 11, 2014 11:38 AM

                  Milan had it a few years ago.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    mielemaiale RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 11, 2014 11:47 AM

                    A few years ago? Darnit. I assumed from your message it was this week. From what I understand, the import has been severely restricted because of the toxic side effects of hydroxycut type supplements.

                    1. re: mielemaiale
                      Robert Lauriston RE: mielemaiale Feb 11, 2014 11:58 AM

                      Wouldn't that apply to both kokum and kodampuli (smoked kokum)? Or are you saying that now you can't find kokum either? I found kokum in several places before finally finding kodampuli at Milan.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        chefj RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 11, 2014 04:18 PM

                        Kodampuli and Kokum are not the same thing. They come from different plants and taste very different.Also Kodampuli is not Smoked.

                        1. re: chefj
                          Robert Lauriston RE: chefj Feb 11, 2014 04:41 PM

                          I got that from Linda Bladholm's "The Indian Grocery Store Demystified." I guess she was misinformed about it being the same plant (kokum = Garcinia indica, kodampuli = Garcinia cambogia), but these people who sell it say it's smoked:


                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            chefj RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 11, 2014 04:48 PM

                            It is dried in wood fired ovens but does not really get smoked the way a Chipotle does.. I saw them processing it in Kerala

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                          mielemaiale RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 12, 2014 04:53 PM

                          Kokum is easily available, kodampuli isn't. I believe kodampuli is Camboga, which is what hydroxycut is derived from. I find them far meatier and more packed with smoky astringent flavor than kokum.

                2. l
                  leewanls RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 02:00 PM

                  btw... Thank you guys for correcting me about Penzeys Spices!

                  1. RWCFoodie RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 02:10 PM

                    Not huge, but the store in the little strip at the corner of Ralston Ave & El Camino Real in Belmont is probably the biggest in that area. I think it's called Namaste... They have quite a lot of spices & beans etc in bulk. When the need strikes, they usually have fresh curry leaves. Also several brands of paneer, yogurt & dosa batter too.

                    1. l
                      leewanls RE: leewanls Feb 10, 2014 02:27 PM

                      I just found one called New Indian Bazar, they seem to have couple stores in the area, have any of you heard of it or been there?

                      New Indian Bazar

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: leewanls
                        adrienne156 RE: leewanls Feb 11, 2014 06:04 PM

                        The Fremont location has been a South Asian market for decades. NIB carries some Om Shakthi spices and I like that brand of cumin...

                      2. kclb RE: leewanls Feb 11, 2014 04:02 PM

                        Bharat Bazaar has a few locations in the South Bay and Fremont/Union City area. They're not as big as most 99 Ranch, though, maybe about the same size as India Cash & Carry.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kclb
                          caryjones RE: kclb Feb 12, 2014 09:20 AM

                          New Bharat Bazaar, 1635 Reed Ave, Sunnyvale is physically larger than India Cash & Carry on El Camino, but they are different. I think the produce is better at India Cash & Carry.

                        2. k
                          karenfinan RE: leewanls Feb 11, 2014 04:45 PM

                          Santos spice in San Leandro is a large retail Indian store - despite the name- and wholesale warehouse in San Leandro

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: karenfinan
                            chefj RE: karenfinan Feb 11, 2014 04:51 PM

                            I do most of my Indian Staples from here as well. They are the same folks as Milan in Berkeley. They also have a lot of "fresh" Vegetables and Cooking Supplies.

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