Happy 2018! It has now been 5 years since I created my first post in January 2013. Very exciting to reach this milestone and I am looking forward to a new year of recipes, food discovery and sharing all with you.
I am so fortunate to live in Ottawa, where there are so many great international food markets to find unique spices and products. Many of the regular supermarkets in town have specialty aisles with lots to choose from but usually I like to shop at the ‘mom & pop’ stores. There is no order to my favourite five — each one is a different specialty and some are just closer to where I live.
There are plenty of specialty markets from Orleans to Kanata, in the Ottawa region. This list is far from complete; I just wanted to share some local places where I find ‘stuff’. Make it a field trip and explore these or any others in your neighbourhood. Support your mom & pop markets wherever you live. It’s fun to shop and ask questions and learn and cook new things. Happy travelling and happy cooking!
1. Vaishali Super Store
I love cooking Indian style dinners and I frequent this store close to home. So many lentils and legumes, packaged in small, medium and large sizes. Same for all the spices. Sauces, condiments, nuts and so much more. A sweets counter (you have to try burfi, an Indian sweet which is my favourite). Also some take out appetizers, like samosas and pakoras, some fresh, some frozen. The owners are very helpful and I’ve never been disappointed.
Vaishali’s Super Store
62 Wylie Ave, Ottawa, ON K2B 6M4
2. Mid East Food Centre
This is the one exception of closeness to where I live but it is a huge middle eastern supermarket. It has an in-house butchery and bakery, cheese and olive counter, a great little shawarma restaurant and take-out food. Entire aisles for grains and legumes and canned goods. Some fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts. Really a one stop shopping experience. An entire aisle dedicated to almost every spice and spice blend you’d ever want but some of the packages are large, so bring a friend and split the stash.
Mid East Food Centre
1010 Belfast Road, Ottawa, ON K1G 4A2
A local store which is also full of middle eastern products is Damas Supermarket, at 3033 Carling Avenue, across from the Coliseum Movie Theatres.
3. Best Price Oriental Market
If I have the time to shop in Chinatown, I go there but this little Asian market in a strip plaza in Kanata, on Hazeldean at the Castlefrank intersection, next door to the GoodLife has everything I have looked for. So tiny from the outside but packed with dried goods, canned goods, has a little butchery and fish counter at the back and a refrigerated section in the front. Can’t believe I found frozen banana leaves to make a Cambodian dish. The owner is so sweet and very helpful. Like the Vaishali owners, she gives me product and recipe advice.
BestPrice Oriental Market
484 Hazeldean Road, Ottawa, ON K2L 1V4
4. La Tiendita Latin Grocery Store
Seems like Mexican food has become more popular in my house and this little gem is beside La Cabaña, a Salvadoran restaurant on Merivale in a strip plaza near Carling Avenue. All the varieties of dried chilis I could ever need, plus white, yellow and blue corn tortillas; take your pick! Sauces, dried beans, canned goods and my favourite, Mexican chocolate for making homemade mole sauce. The owner owns both the grocery store and the restaurant. I will head back one day soon for lunch.
La Tiendita (click on the link on La Cabaña website)
848 Merivale Road, Ottawa, ON K1Z 5Z4
5. Lakomka Russian and European Delicatessen
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a collection of bottled and pickled vegetables but here you have it. I recently sent a friend here who found bottled cabbage leaves to make homemade cabbage rolls. Plus a smoked fish counter, variety of cheeses, jams, preserves, sweets, and canned goods from all over Europe. It’s behind the IKEA on Baxter Road in the first strip plaza.
1127 Baxter Rd, Baxter Plaza, Ottawa, ON K2C 3R4
I have recently shopped at Stolichni Deli at 2280 Carling Avenue which has a similar product line; also a fun store to peruse.