There’s no denying that one of the major perks of living in New York City is the access to incredible international markets with food from around the world. We’re already a massive fan of food street fairs and outdoor markets, and these spots make us even more excited for global grub. Whether you’re looking for the best food trucks' taco ingredients, an authentic Osaka ramen vendor or the individual spices needed to perfect your homemade Szechuan blend, we’ve got you covered: We’ve rounded up the best international markets, food vendors and grocery stores our beloved melting pot has to offer.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to shopping in NYC
Best international market in NYC
Kalustyan’s is a chili head’s utopia. This two-story, packed-to-the-rafters ethnic grocery store is teeming with Middle Eastern and South Asian spices offered in coarse, powdered and liquid forms. When you’re done stocking up on harissa and Calabrian spread, head upstairs to the deli where you can sit and enjoy a house-made falafel sandwich dressed to the nines with lettuce, tomato, pickles, tahini and (of course) hot sauce.
With an attentive, extremely well-versed staff, DiPalo’s easily earns a gold star for customer service. As for the food, deciding on just one dry-cured Italian delicacy can be tough, but thankfully, you can sample most meats and cheeses here before you buy. And once you’ve got that prosciutto di Parma, house-smoked mozzarella and semolina loaf in hand, head four blocks north to the Elizabeth Street Garden where you can gaze at antique statues and lotus flowers as you lunch.
Operating every Saturday from 6pm to midnight through August 20, this open-air mega-market features more than 90 food, art and merch vendors humming alongside live musical performances. Our go-to menu starts with a piping hot takoyaki appetizer courtesy of Karl’s Balls, followed by a main course of spicy Trinidadian shark from Caribbean Street Eats, before concluding with a cinnamon-swirled Transylvanian kurtos from TwisterCake. And the beer and wine to wash it all down? It’s only $5.
This massive two-story Asian food emporium is packed to the brim with an astonishingly wide variety of seafood, produce, tofu, oils, spices and vinegars. And it’s much more than just an Asian specialty store—once you’ve checked the soba noodles and Pocky off your list, you can stock up on everyday essentials like dish soap, peanut butter and tomato sauce.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Vauvau
Nestled in the heart of Jackson Heights, Patel Brothers is your one-stop shop for all things South Asian. We’ve learned from 7-train experience that it’s wise to navigate your shopping spree in stages, loading up on dried goods like lentils, beans, cumin and cashews before heading into the perishable territory of fresh paneer cheese and frozen samosas.
If you’re looking to prepare a mezze spread of epic proportions, look no further than Sahadi’s in Brooklyn Heights. Outfitted with multiple deli cases lined with house-made spreads (hummus, taramasalata and tzatziki) and a dining room–sized smorgasbord of pitted, herbed and stuffed olives, this Middle Eastern grocery is a feast for the Mediterranean-enthused senses. And no need to wait for home base to indulge in its treasures—grab a freshly made falafel pita to-go as you reflect on your unabated love for tabouli.
Located in Flushing’s bustling New World Mall, JMart is the Shangri-La of Asian grocers. Not only can you find affordable grocery staples like rice and chicken, you’ll also be able to purchase more exotic foods like razor clams and rambutans. And when you’re done shopping, head down to the Food Court for a bento box or ramen bowl from one of the 32 Asian food vendors dotting the perimeter.
When you go to Zaragoza, go hungry. More deli than grocery, this unassuming six-table East Village paragon is heralded among ravenous night owls for its cheap (and high-quality) Pueblan eats. Open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight Monday through Thursday, the menu offers Mexican staples like tacos, burritos and flautas. Just make sure to ask which meats are available that day—they rotate between carnitas, al pastor, carne molida and eight others.
In 1940, Mayor LaGuardia created the Essex Street Market in hopes of easing congestion on crowded city streets by moving Jewish and Italian street merchants indoors. Fast-forward 70 years and several face lifts, and you’ve got a bustling melting pot of more than 20 shops, vendors and restaurants hawking everything from organic and fair-trade coffee at Porto Rico Importing Co. to smoked eel, elderberry soda and Jarlsberg cheese at Nordic Preserves.
Euro Market is a cerevisaphile’s personal Garden of Eden. The market’s impressive wall of beer is packed end-to-end with dozens of international (Delirium, Baltika, Duvel) and domestic (Dogfish Head, Abita, Rogue) micro and macro brews. If you’re looking to pair your ales with international finger foods, take a stroll up and down its many aisles adorned with multiple varieties of olives, breads, cookies, cakes, cheeses and cured meats.