The Best International Markets In Los Angeles
One of the greatest parts about living in Los Angeles is that you really can feel like you're traveling without having to set foot outside of our city limits. There are so many wonderful resources for international food here, including serious supermarkets and specialty stores. We whittled it down to a few of our favorites. As always, let us know your favorites in the comments.
Koreatown Galleria (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
Located on the bottom floor of the Koreatown Galleria, this massive market boasts all sorts of awesome Asian goodies including a fantastic bakery and an entire banchan bar where you can pick up kimchi, pickles, lotus root and more for an affordable price. There are usually women offering up samples of curries and the like on weekends and lunch hours, allowing customers to graze while they shop. If you're after a proper full meal, the food court on the third floor of the Galleria itself is a great place to stop for bibimbap bowls and hot pot.
Galleria Market is located at 3250 W Olympic Blvd, Koreatown, (323) 733-3800
It's a total clustercuss just to get a parking spot at this San Fernando Avenue superstore, not to mention navigating the aisles with the hordes of hungry shoppers. That said, the deals on meat, cheeses, and produce at Super King are worth the hassle. Our personal favorite part of the store is the selection of hookahs and exotic booze, but the marinated meats sections is also incredibly helpful when it comes to planning parties for BBQ season.
Super King is located at 2716 N. San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles, (323) 225-0044, and has other locations in Altadena, Claremont, Northridge, Van Nuys and Anaheim
LAX-C (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
If you've ever wanted to open a Thai restaurant, this Southeast Asian megastore is the place to shop. It's essentially the Thai equivalent of Costco, complete with forklift truck drivers and gigantic tubs of fish sauce, coconut milk and pickles. You can also buy protein in bulk and a generic version of Red Bull (which originated in Thailand), but the really cool part of the store is the back area where they sell flatware and Thai trinkets. There's also a small cafe inside, which instead of selling pizza and hot dogs pushes whole fried fish (which they'll do for you for free if you purchase the fish from them). It's pretty magnificent.
LAX-C is located at 1100 N Main St, Los Angeles, (323) 343-9000
Several years ago Mitsuwa Marketplace downtown was converted into a Korean outpost, Woori. However, most of the items stayed the same, and Woori still offers some of the most affordable sushi to grab for a great on-the-go lunch. Produce like shiso, baby bok choy and exotic fruits are incredibly cheap, and there's a small ramen noodle bar and bakery for snacking. It's located within a shopping mall that also has a Beard Papa's and some really affordable kitchen supplies, too. It's definitely worth making a day of.
Woori is located at 333 S Alameda St., Little Tokyo, (213) 617-0030
Meatball sub at Mario's Italian Deli (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
Mario's Italian Deli
This Glendale Italian deli and marketplace might be small, but they make wicked sammies, fresh sausages and hand made pastas. They also have all sorts of olive oils, cured fish, and Italian table wines to pick from. If you're into burrata—and let's be honest, who isn't—they also make that fresh daily, too. The bakery makes wonderful Itailan pastries, but beware that during holiday season they get quite busy, so pre-ordering is a must.
Mario's Italian Deli is located at 740 E. Broadway, Glendale, (818) 242-4114
Goods from Farm Fresh Market (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
It might be small in comparison to giant shops like Super King and Woori, but Artesia's Farm Fresh is chock full of fantastic Indian spices, curry pastes, and snacks. They also carry a variety of flavoring syrups that are difficult to find even at Whole Foods like orange blossom and rose waters. They also have dried fruits and a dizzying array of British candies like Cadbury chocolate and Turkish Delights. The service is friendly and the price is right—so right, in fact, that a pound of California dates goes for just $2.99. Talk about a deal.
Farm Fresh is located at 18612 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia, (562) 865-8171
Since starting their humble little family business in 1985, the Vallarta has grown into a 41-store operation, employing approximately 8,000 SoCal folks within their markets. Their carniceria offers some quality marinated meats, and their fresh tortillas are perfect for planning large get-togethers or holiday meals. They also have a taqueria and panaderia (bakery) for take-away goods, and a juice bar with agua frescas.
Vallarta has locations throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley
Marukai Markets have been operating in Hawaii since 1965, with their flagship California store opening in Gardena in 1996. The Little Tokyo store is smaller and good for picking up healthy lunches on the go, but the West L.A. location on Pico Blvd. is definitely more of an adventure. Definitely give yourself some time to get lost in aisle after aisle of Japanese health products, cosmetics, home furnishings, small appliances, electronics, stationery, clothing, kimono, pottery, and assorted sundries.
Marukai is located at 12121 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 806-4120