Curries, pierogies, pupusas, pho—no? Yes! South Carolinians are a diverse group, a state of affairs deliciously reflected in the number of international markets operating across the state. These specialty grocers cater to cooks seeking cultural food experiences, whether it’s to get a taste of their native land or simply enjoy a gastronomic adventure.
Finding the ingredients that make a global dish authentic is an easier task today than it was a decade or more ago. From humble tiendas offering fresh tortillas and colorful pastries to Asian grocery stores stocked to supply the masses with noodles, herbs and fresh fish, a trip to your local international market is a fascinating, and often educational, look at what the world is eating.
Make sure you carve out plenty of time to browse the aisles, which are usually filled with a host of interesting goods and food products. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to try something new, especially if you’re lucky enough to hit a market that doubles as a cafe.
Ready to taste the world? Here are 10 popular markets where you can begin your culinary adventure.
1. African-Jamaican-Caribbean Market, Greenville
The name says it all. Among its many offerings are fresh oxtail, snapper, kola nut, shea butter, oils, spice bun, herbal remedies, tonics and an eye-popping array of Caribbean products.
2. Asia Pacific Super Market, Greenville
Touted as the biggest Asian market in the Upstate, you’re bound to find everything here to create specialty meals in your kitchen. If you get hungry while you shop, pop into their eatery where you’ll find a mind-blowing number of authentic dishes like leeks with shrimp, kung pao chicken, hot and spicy dry pot and more.
3. European Market, Greenville and multiple locations
Once strictly a Russian market, this operation has expanded its borders to include foods and products from Ukraine, Germany, Italy, Poland, Greece and other nations. The bakery is a favorite shopper stop with fresh-baked German bread. Other house-made goodies include cabbage rolls, bulochki, pierogies and blintzes. Check the website for other locations.