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Large Indian Grocery Stores like 99 Ranch, etc.?

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

Thanks!

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  1. 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

      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. 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

        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. 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

          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

            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

            "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

              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: Robert Lauriston

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

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                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: Robert Lauriston

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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:

                          http://www.kudampuli.com/about_Kudamp...

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            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

                          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.

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

                  1. 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.