At family-run Sara’s, you’ll find fresh pita made daily, well-sourced meats and poultry from the butcher shop (antibiotic and hormone free and Halal), frozen products like little phyllo triangles, and lots of Middle Eastern shelf-stable staples, including good brands of olive oil, beans, tinned dolma and baba ganoush, spreads like tahini, teas, spices, whole aisles of nuts (pistachios and almonds) and biscuits. Also, fresh milk, organic eggs, labneh, and a wide selection of cheeses, with an emphasis on feta. As the name suggests, the bakery turns out fresh product daily. But keep in mind Sara’s, too, reports higher-than-usual traffic lately.
The produce aisles are vast, but you’ll also find tofu (fresh and shelf-stable), endless varieties of rice, noodles (soba, udon vermicelli, somen), to make every noodle dish imaginable,jars of kimchi, pantry items like instant ramen, miso and other seasoning and flavoring items that can help you make soups at home, frozen dumplings, dumpling wrappers, and whole aisles of alternative milks (mostly soy). Prepared banchan (pickled and fermented condiments and side dishes) can be used to enhance rice and protein dishes.
The produce aisle is smaller at this Japanese emporium, but it’s a great place for mushrooms, yams of all kinds, greens, fresh and shelf-stable tofu, Japanese-style yogurts, and rice. The store has lots of quality fresh and frozen fish, meat, plus frozen gyoza, and the makings for hot pots and other meals. Add aisles of snacks, sake, and beer, in addition to prepared foods from a deli section that turns out beautiful rice bowls, grilled salmon, and Japanese-style salads.
Chefs will tell you the seafood at Hiep Thai is some of the best in town. The produce section is large, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian fruits (bananas, durians, mangos), fresh herbs, greens, eggplants, and a refrigerated section of tofu and eggs. (Looking for duck or quail eggs? You’ll find them here). Shelves brim with noodles, biscuits, Café du Monde coffee, Asian snacks, beer from various parts of the world.
At the California-based market that’s known for its dim sum and Cantonese-Szechuan specialties in prepared-food cases, you’ll find produce, frozen foods, and dry-goods staples including rice, a vast array of packaged noodles and snacks and seasoning staples. The in-house bakery has fluffy breads and filled rolls.
Jusgo, a Taiwanese grocery chain, offers an ample fresh produce section, meats, seafood, and aisles of staples (think rice, mixes, seasonings, cooking essentials), along with snacks and cookies. Soy milk and drink offerings are vast. This is your chance to eat and drink your way through every possible tropical fruit flavor.
Go to Fiesta for the meat market, produce, and strong reinforcements in dried beans and tortillas (including fresh masa to make your own tortillas). The bakery turns out fresh-baked cookies, cakes, bolillos, and pan dulces daily. In addition to having an incredibly robust canned-food section (so many varieties of vegetables, beans, and hominy), the dairy section has cheese to crumble into soups or pots of refried beans, cheese to sandwich in between tortillas for sizzling quesadillas, cotija to crumble on tacos and bowls of soothing caldo. Cookies, peanut snacks, and cajeta sandwich cookies fill snack aisles. The deli also offers prepared hot foods and agua frescas.