But closer to home international food markets are abundant and offer an opportunity to discover new flavors and cultures. Seeing shelves and freezers stocked with imported, unique food items and labels written in unfamiliar languages can give any visitor walking through the doors a sense of entering a far away land.
One of the most fascinating and adventurous parts of producing Neighborhood Kitchens is scouting neighborhoods before we film them. In addition to meeting interesting locals and getting a taste of their fare, we always pay a visit to ethnic food markets, which range in size from tiny mom and pop storefronts to 25,000 square foot supermarkets. Their goods have travelled the map, coming from Mexico and the Caribbean, or Europe, Africa, Asia and other far reaches of the globe. These markets continue to blossom in Massachusetts neighborhoods, thanks in part to an increasing interest in ethnic cookery, and in large measure to the growth of immigrant populations.
Christina’s Spices and Specialty Food (1255 Cambridge Street) in Inman Square with spices from all around the world.
Frio Rico (360 R Bennington Street) in East Boston, which specializes in food from Peru. Here Chef José Gamez treated me to refreshing shaved ice!
La Internacional (318 Somerville Avenue) in Union Square, Somerville, with food from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. I explored the neighborhood further with Rachel Strutt of the Somerville Arts Council.
Phnom Penh Supermarket (37 Branch Street) in Lowell with food from Cambodia. Lowell resident Linda Sopheap Sou took me on a tour of the neighborhood during our visit!
Salumeria Italiana (151 Richmond Street) in the North End, offering everything from cured meats, oils and olives.
I find that more and more people these days – not just chefs – but everyday home cooks and travelers, are developing an appreciation for ethnic markets. Have you visited the market in your neighborhood yet? Let us know about your favorite one!
*****-- Patricia Alvarado Núñez is the Series Producer of Neighborhood Kitchens.
NEIGHBORHOOD KITCHENS RECIPES