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Best Ethnic Markets In Los Angeles

ethnic grocery store 610
(credit: shutterstock)

Interested in spicing up your dinner options? We've rounded up the best ethnic grocery stores around LA to buy everything from Israeli food to Mexican fare.

super sal
(credit: Josh I./Yelp)

Super Sal
17630 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 906-2815

Devotees of Super Sal say it has the most extensive selection of Israeli products around. If the staggering selection of Israeli imports isn't a draw, their internal hot food takeaway stand, Dr. Sandwich, serves up some of the LA-area's best falafel and shwarma. There's even kosher sushi, too.

el mercado
(credit: Fern X./Yelp)

El Mercado De Los Angeles
3425 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 268-3451

For a trip to Mexico, we Los Angelenos are lucky enough to be within less than half a day's drive to the border. But if three hours or so feels too far, there's El Mercado De Los Angeles. A three-story gargantua of todos a lo Mexicanos, from books and blankets to beauty supplies and Western wear, this microcosm of Mexican goods and services has it all. Including food. So much food. Esquite, churros, mangionada, takiloco; the raspberry raspado is especially good. If you're hungry for dinner (and/or Mariachi music), set your GPS to La Perla, on the third floor.

Cash and Carry
(credit: Caroline V./Yelp)

Pioneer Cash & Carry
18601 Pioneer Blvd
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 809-9433

Are you looking for kothuvarankai, vegan soan papdi, or small brinjal? What about whole, unground cumin, fennel, cloves, or cardamom? Pioneer Cash & Carry is Little India's largest supermarket and probably the top place -- outside of India -- for the best things from back home (including Kulfi ice cream). A word to the wise however: this store gets crowded quickly, so try to plan your shopping for a weekday or as soon as the store opens on weekends.

99 ranch interior
(credit: 99 Ranch Market)

99 Ranch Market
140 W. Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 307-8899

Of all the ethnic groceries on this list, 99 Ranch Market is probably the most mainstream. With over 30 locations across California, Texas, Nevada and Washington, this Taiwanese supermarket isn't just a place to pick up chicken feet and dry spicy bean curd, it's also a popular shop for locals of all backgrounds to buy fresh seafood and produce, frozen dumplings of all shapes and sizes, and pretty much anything you'd need for most recipes from many Asian countries. While you're stocking up on moon cakes and American Wagyu (and lots and lots of varieties of booze), you might want to try the hot deli, too.

papa cristos
(credit Roxette V./Yelp)

Papa Cristo's
2771 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 737-2970

Papa Cristo's own papa opened C&K Importing back in 1948, and the Greek deli (and more recent Papa Cristo's taverna) have since become L.A. institutions. Imported olive oils, salty goat milk feta, and house-made chocolate and raspberry baklava are only some of the favorites you'll find here. You'll also encounter local favorite Papa Cristo, himself, which is its own reward. Pro tip: order a juicy gyro or flaky spanakopita to eat on the outdoor patio and thank us later.

(credit: Ken C./Yelp)

Claro's Italian Market
1003 E. Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-2026

If you're in the mood for old school Italian, there's Bay Cities in Santa Monica (which is nothing to shake a salami at), but the grandfather of L.A. Italian markets is Claro's in San Gabriel. Pizza dough, pappardelle and a huge variety of pastas – as well as foods that don't start with "P" – Claro's is a little bit of Los Angeles history and a big serving of meaty cold cut goodness from their takeaway deli in the back of the store.

(credit Chris C./Yelp)

Galleria Market
3250 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 733-6000

Galleria Market offers absolutely everything Korean you need and everything you didn't know you need, all under one roof. Vendor samples of dumplings and bulgogi and a stocked banchan bar are only a few of the draws to this megastore located on the bottom floor of Koreatown's Galleria. Once you've acquired your fill of pickled vegetables, fish cakes, and lotus root, you're encouraged to further reward yourself with a little something from Cake House, the excellent bakery next door.

(credit: Rina C./Yelp)

1100 N Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 343-9000

People call LAX-C the Thai Costco for good reason. Bulk quantities of everything from imported shampoo to Calbee junk food are moved on forklifts and stacked high along the cavernous aisles. While the superstore is geared primarily to restaurants and wholesale clients, retail customers are welcome too, especially at the back of the store, where they offer trinkets and authentic Thai food (and burgers and pizza) for sale at the small stands.

(credit Justin b./Yelp)

3425 Whittier Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(323) 980-4400

Since opening their doors in 1985, Vallarta has become one of the most important Mexican groceries in L.A. and the San Fernando Valley (they employ more than 8,000 people in Southern California). Pozole, pan dulce, marinated meats and agua frescas are excellent and available in addition to standard grocery items (produce, milk and eggs...) They're a terrific choice for party trays for large gatherings, too.

(credit: Kimberly K./Yelp)

12121 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 806-4120

Marukai is as much an adventure as it is a giant superstore of Asian food, products and home goods. They say one should never grocery shop when they're hungry, so the food court near the entrance should help you out in that department. When it comes to the food inside, there's everything from sushi-grade fish (if you arrive around closing, they discount the fish and their cooked foods 20% since they have to be sold or thrown away that day) to shabu shabu meats, to every sort of matcha snack under the sun (and/or available in Japan). Stationary, beauty products, Hello Kitty paraphernalia -- Marukai offers both the usual and the unexpected, in very large amounts. Annual memberships are $10, but $1 will get you a day pass to shop to your heart's content.

Article by Arianna Armstrong.

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