BY LEAH KRAUS & ERIC REZSNYAK
Expanding your food horizons beyond Wegmans can be tough when they offer every food known to man, plus more. But, if you're looking for hard to find foods from distant lands, an ethnic market is your best bet. Many of these shops are tucked around Rochester and are full of character. They offer ridiculously low prices that most (if any) chain grocery stores can't beat. Plus, if you have a question about any of the items, the owners always know what they're talking about. Here's a list of some of the best Asian, Indian, Italian, European and Caribbean markets around Rochester.
Hikari Food and Grocery - 1667 Mount Hope Ave. 585-461-3180.
Hikari has a total Manhattan vibe: it's a tiny squeeze but you know you'll find everything you could ever want - including an open fish tank with Halibut swimming around in the back. Hikari's selection of Asian food includes fresh vegetables and meats, a good sized frozen selection, udon noodles, kimchee, teas, herbs, and tons of items with Mandarin writing on them that I wasn't even sure about, but that I knew were authentic. Prices are very low and you'll also find toys for the kids and dishes if you just happen to be in need of some.
1. Lee's Oriental, 900 Jefferson Rd, Suite 1, 272-7020 (between E & W Henrietta rds)
2. Asia Food Market, 1885 Brighton Henrietta Town Center Road (corner of West Henrietta), 292-9888
Chang's 1867 Mount Hope Ave, 426-7660 (right before Westfall Rd, left side)
3. WestLake, 85 Commerce Dr, 334-0372 (off W Henrietta/Rt 15, between Calkins and Marketplace)
5. Win Fa 4 Lake Ave, 546-1250 (HighFalls, corner of State, Smith, Lake, Lyell)
OceanGarden - 971 S. Clinton, 271-3705
OceanGarden offers hard to find Asian foods at low prices in a similar capacity to Hikari. Keep in mind, they mostly specialize in Cantonese and South East Asian options, but their selection includes frozen items, spices, noodles, sauces, teas, pickled ginger, and bamboo shoots. If you have any questions, the friendly staff is very helpful. Ample parking is located right next to the store unless it's very busy. Keep in mind that the low-key entrance can be easy to miss - it's located right next to the Cinema.
Namaste - 3047 W. Henrietta Road, 424-2980
India House store - 999 Clinton Ave S. 244-9210
India House is extemely inviting with its warm interior. They carry everything from sauces, spices, beans, fresh vegetables, masala mixes, curry paste, those popular tandoor chef meals that you buy at Tops and Wegmans, and a variety of other easy to make meals. Walk towards the back of the store and you'll find a large selection of incense and an even bigger selection of herbs. There's more, though. Keep walking and you'll be welcomed into a room stocked with a variety of random items including yoga books and clothes - it's an adventure of a store. India House is located right across the street from the India House restaurant.
India Market - 3259 South Winton Road.427-8667
Before even getting to the food, one defining aspect of India Market is their expansive selection of Bollywood films that you can either rent or buy. One of the largest collections in the city, I'm sure. Now, the food. They have a well stocked frozen selection, as well as easy to make meals which, as I was told by the owner, are popular with the younger college aged-crowd. They offer curry mix, beans and spices, garlic powder, sauces, baked goods, plantain chips, and tons of spice varieties. You'll find prices lower than those anywhere in town. India Market has been open for over 15 years and is located in the same plaza as the Thali of India restaurant. Keep in mind that fresh vegetables arrive on Thursdays.
Right down the street from Namaste restaurant, this market offers all the ingredients you need to make your own authentic Indian meal. Light Indian music mixes with the aroma of spices making you feel like you're in the country itself. You'll find basics such as relish, spices, and pastes but Namaste also stocks grab and go snacks such as plantain chips, banana chips, and authentic sweet and spicy BhandranMoong. Fresh vegetables and frozen meals complete the selection as well as their huge selection of Bollywood DVD's. And if you're looking for hair dye or herbal hair wash powder straight from India, this is the place to go.
Desi Bazaar specializes in Middle Eastern and Indian groceries. They offer spices, coffee powders and a small selection of fruit and vegetables as well as fresh Hallal meats. The assortment of tea is huge and in the frozen section you can find American favorites such as Buffalo Chicken Wings and Chicken Fries but with a Middle Eastern twist. They also have Naan - that delicious bread that always comes with your meal at any Indian restaurant. The prices are irresistible at Desi Bazaar and If you're not sure what you're looking for the staff is happy to answer any questions.
Desi Bazaar 1713 Crittenden Rd, 292-1189
Namaste3047 W Henrietta Rd, Suite 7, 424-2980
Rice and Spice 40 North Ave No. 1, Webster, 872-7320