In Los Angeles, you don’t need a passport to sample the finest foodstuffs China, El Salvador, or Armenia have to offer. Here are some destinations that will spice up your pantry.
This Latino supermarket chain is nearly a dozen strong and serves as a larder for home cooks from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. With hot-food counters dispensing fried pork parts; indigenous herbs likes epazote, verdolaga, and pipicha; ají peppers from Peru; and Mexican frozen fruits, home doesn’t feel that far away. Various locations.
In addition to marinated meats (for Korean barbecue), fresh seafood (for soups and stews), and an extensive selection of banchan (colorful side dishes), H Mart is a one-stop shop for the latest trends taking Seoul by storm, especially when it comes to snacks, cartoon- themed candies, and classic Korean dishes packaged in dehydrated, just-add-hot- water-to-enjoy form. Various locations.
This hidden eden tucked in an industrial area east of Chinatown is a Thai version of Restaurant Depot and Smart & Final rolled into one, providing access to some amazing Asian products—everything from fragrant curry pastes to springy rice noodles. Take home some freshly made som tum (papaya salad) from the food stall outside. 1100 N. Main St., Chinatown.
Since 1993 the Fermanian family’s popular mini-chain has served as a convenient portal to Middle Eastern ingredients (particularly those from Armenia). It also offers outrageous deals on everyday produce. Don’t shy away from Lebanese olive oils, Bulgarian feta, Iranian mortadella, Saudi Arabian cordials, and Moroccan sardines.
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