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Restaurants / Lists

Houston’s Best Ethnic Grocery Stores — 12 Spots You Need to Know to Eat Well in the City

International Food Havens Show Off H-Town's Diversity

BY // 01.23.19

Houston is a delightful and delicious melting pot. The city is a blend of cultures from across the world, which has an impact on everything from art to food — especially food.

No matter where you are in Space City, you don’t have to venture far to find amazingly good ethnic food, whether it’s Vietnamese, Nigerian, Japanese or Middle Eastern.

But you don’t have to spend a night on the town to enjoy exotic and good ethnic foods. Thanks to authentic supermarkets, international markets and ethnic grocery stores across the city, the best ingredients for myriad dishes are at your fingertips.

Here are the best ethnic grocery stores in Houston:

Wazobia Market

16203 Westheimer

This budget-friendly market is the real deal, bursting with African options and traditional Nigerian foods such as goat meat pepper soup, plantain chips and fish rolls. You can grab them at the adjoining restaurant before you head out — if you can resist eating them upon arrival.

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A+ customer service, extensive fresh produce, cow skin, stockfish and ewedu make this one a winner. 

Middle Eastern Halal Supermarket

11701 Fuqua Street

This supermarket is the go-to spot if you’re in the mood to cook up a Middle Eastern dish from scratch in the comfort of your own kitchen. Their halal meat selection is topnotch, with special attention paid to lamb and goat. Shoppers can purchase half an animal or a leg.

 And it’s one-stop shopping, with the market the go-to place for staples such as jalab, burghul, Arabic pita bread and laban. As for the restaurant side, you can’t go wrong with the heralded chicken shawarma, falafel and authentic baba ghanoush.

ethnic grocery store wazobia
Wazobia Market serves delicious Nigerian specialties.

Chandrika Masala

6658 Southwest Freeway

The knowledgeable staff at this family-owned spice shop can tell you all about the wide variety of spices and flours, which are freshly ground at their mill in nearby Stafford.

The selection is staggering. You can find everything from ground mustard seeds to coriander, and blends like sambhar masala and chat masala. There are even gluten-free flours available, and if you don’t have time to swing by the little supermarket, you can order online and have your rare, high-quality goods delivered.

Viet Hoa International Foods

8300 West Sam Houston Parkway

A lot of people will tell you H-Mart is the best grocery store in Chinatown. But while it’s brimming with Korean items, if you’re after Vietnamese, Chinese and African groceries, Viet Hoa is the place to go.

They boast a crazy amount of offerings, from fresh, exotic seafood to jackfruit and durian straight from Southeast Asia, all the Japanese and Filipino snacks you can imagine, and sake after sake option.

It’s not a complete trip without a stop at the food court. You can choose to eat there or take ready-to-go items on your way out, whether it’s roasted duck, grilled pork or pan-fried shrimp on rice.

K&V Bulgarian Market

4620 FM 1960

This market is chock-a-block full of Bulgarian, Romanian and European delights. The meat alone is a major reason to go, with authentic proteins like salami and fresh lukanka. And there’s plenty to put on it, like all-real lutenica relish.

Some even say they have the freshest feta in town. That’s a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it’s K&V. Did we mention its traditional Bulgarian cow’s milk feta? Rare indeed.

La Michoacana Meat Market

1348 North Shepherd, various locations

This all-you-could-ever-need Mexican butcher shop has locations all across Texas. It’s no wonder, with commitment to only the finest cuts of fresh, juicy meats. It’s the ideal destination for marinated taco meat — and La Michoacana’s seasoned fajita meat is second to none, thanks to the papaya marinade.

If you’re daring, go for tripas and salchica. The hot bar has some of the best fresh tamales you’ll find in Houston.

ethnic grocery store la michoacana
Space City boasts tons of great ethnic grocery stores.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

1001 Austin Street, 12141 Westheimer 

You just knew this Mediterranean food mecca had to make the list. Phoenicia’s vast selection of produce, baked goods, meats, wines, cheeses and prepared food speaks for itself.

But there’s no harm in highlighting the fact that Phoenicia carries goods from more than 50 countries across the globe. Pick them up for your pantry, a picnic, or chow down on in the connected MKT Bar at the Downtown location.

Polish Food Store

1780 Blalock Road

This one’s been given the stamp of approval by none other than illustrious Houston chef Chris Shepherd. Polish Food Store is a beacon for the unbeatable, authentic and hard-to-find. And the Polish flags and memorabilia for sale don’t hurt.

Some of the tasty treasures include herring, frozen pierogis, sauerkraut, beets, mustard and fresh and smoked meats.

H Mart

1302 Blalock Road

This Asian supermarket is truly super — and definitely a staple. No stone is left unturned, with everything from rice cookers and shoulder massagers to honeyed Korean ginseng slices and organic acai powder.

It’s perhaps the most popular Asian market out there, so be prepared for a potential parking jam and more than a little chaos. But the fresh seafood and meat selections are more than worth any hassle.

 

Seiwa

1801 South Dairy Ashford

Seiwa is a genuine Japanese market and marvel with tons and tons of Japanese ingredients and goods shipped straight from the country. You can easily tour the clean, neatly organized aisles of snacks, produce, meat, seafood and veggies.

Most people will tell you the cafe is the real star, with premium sushi, bento boxes and hot udon noodles. But don’t be surprised if you fill up your basket before you even get to the hot foods.

Golden Grain

5406 Birdwood Road

Come get your fill of Russian ingredients at Golden Grain, known for red caviar, traditional Russian dumplings, cabbage rolls and deli staples like borscht.

It’s something of a hidden gem, with fun foreign desserts made in-house, including layered pastries, Napoleons and chocolate Romashka. If you’re Russian, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re not, you’ll wish you were. At least now you’ll know how to cook like one.

99 Ranch Market

1005 Blalock Road

You may have 99 problems, but this Asian grocery store ain’t one. 99 Ranch is a favorite because of its immense variety, whether you’re talking about the pre-packaged, imported snacks and drinks or the 85 Degree Bakery inside with its memorable custard bread.

The food court covers everything from Korean to Cajun. You could while away an entire afternoon getting groceries you never even knew you needed, Zojirushi and Hawaiian shoyu included.

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