This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cultural Shopping: My Grocery List is long...

In L.A., I could just go to one grocery store, "double-coupon Ralph's," and get it done. However, I'd be missing out on a great deal. I'm not talking about coupons, I'm talking about culture and my grocery list is long, yet interesting.

Los Angeles has a vast array of smaller ethnic and specialty markets. I try to go to farmers markets. I regularly shop at Trader Joe's. Who doesn't? Most importantly though, I venture into unknown markets-- places where I may very well be the only native English speaker. I may not always have the money to travel, but I can walk into a Russian gift shop and instantly be on foreign territory.

I'm always on the lookout for unique spices (especially Greek seasoning, one of my favorites!) I've found excellent apricots, dates, figs, Turkish/Armenian coffee, and falafel at Mediterranean and Middle-eastern markets in the area. I can also find good, inexpensive fresh fish plus unique Asian gifts at 99 Ranch Market (a Chinese supermarket chain.) Some of the best and least expensive produce can be had at supermercados like Vallarta and El Super. They are usually considerably busy, but I enjoy the experience (mostly) and it gives me opportunities to practice my Spanish.

For a vast majority of Angelenos, English is not their native tongue. I find it interesting to turn the tables on myself: Experience a different worldview. Speak a different language. Doing so adds a whole new dimension to the usually mundane task of grocery shopping.

Los Angeles is one of those places where countless languages are spoken and culture can be found on every corner. Embrace culture and have the curiosity and courage to seek it out. You'll feel like you've traveled even if you haven't really left home. No passport necessary!

Select ethnic markets, etc. in the Los Angeles area.
(There are many, many more!!!)

El Super (Latino)
Vallarta (Latino)
99 Ranch Market (Chinese grocery chain)
Papa Cristos C&K Importing (Greek and Arabic food/deli)
Golden Fork Cafe (excellent Armenian/Russian/Middle-Eastern food)*

*P.S. Thanks to our neighbors, Paul and Amy, for inviting us over last month and introducing us to the amazing cuisine at Golden Fork Cafe!

Copyright 2009 by KLiedle.
Photo credit: RalphBijker/flickr

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