I have to admit that when we first moved down here a couple of years ago I was a little worried about the availability of food products. Coming from Chicago where there was an abundance of ethnic grocery stores, it took some time to figure things out.
Here’s a list of places I frequently visit, in Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro and further afield (yes, that means Cary and Raleigh):
La Superior – 2842 North Roxboro, 919.220.9884 – the largest hispanic grocery I’ve come across. Whole chickens, tripe, tongue, oxtails are all available, not to mention baked goods, fresh tortillas and fresh veggies. Kind of disconcerting that there’s a cop (not security guard) usually stationed right inside the door as you walk in, but it’s hardly in a bad neighborhood.
Pupuseria y Taqueria Orellana – 5300 North Roxboro, 919.471.3299 – a small El Salvadoran place with various items for sale including dried peppers, Mexican coke. Plus the food from the restaurant side is delicious.
Spice Bazaar – 4125 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd, 919.490.3747 – an Indian market that has everything you’d expect. A fair selection of spices, rice, lentils, chickpeas, there’s also a limited supply fresh veggies and frozen meats (including goat).
Durham Farmer’s Market – located on Foster just South of the old Durham Athletic Park. Pricey – check. Filled with pretentious dicks saving the planet one organic vegetable at a time – check. But there are still some great finds if you can overlook the price fixing that goes on. We’ve started a not too regular Saturday morning tradition of hitting the market before heading up the hill to Scratch. Get there later and you have some food truck options to pick from for lunch. Plus there’s now beer available (in growler form) from Fullsteam.
Durham Green Flea Market – 1600 E. Pettigrew, 919.477.8472. Part swap meet, part farmer’s market, part food truck bonanza, it’s a must see if you’re in Durham. Largely hispanic but not entirely, there are still some good old southern food options as well.
Wine Authorities – 2501 University Drive, 919.489.2884. My go to place for wine. The guys are super friendly and super helpful. Plus they can (if you’d like) store all of your purchases in a database so you can keep track. You can also access this information and record your tasting notes if you’re so inclined to do so.
Brewmaster Store – 1900 E. Geer St. 919.682.0300. Everything you need to brew your own beer at home, they even have wine making supplies.
Reliable Cheese – 405 East Chapel Hill Street. 919.680.3939. As far as I’m aware, the Triangle’s only cheesemonger. Recently opened (June 2011).
Li Ming’s Global Market – 3400 Westgate Drive. Mostly Asian though they do carry Western products as well. Reasonable seafood (I’ve seen geoduck and razor clams) and produce selections.
What I’m missing:
- A reliable seafood place. I usually go to Whole Foods and overpay, though I know what they sell is fresh. I recently just got some shrimp shells from Fishmonger’s, but I’m still missing a good seafood place.
Cliff’s Meat Market – 100 W. Main St., Carrboro. 919.942.2196. These folks have been great to me since we’ve moved. The prices are good and there’s usually a pretty good stock (I’ve bought salt cod and sweetbreads there with no advance warning, though it’s best to call ahead). There’s also a smallish hispanic grocery element with some spices and peppers. They also do special orders. Worth the drive (which I didn’t used to have when we lived in Chapel Hill).
A Southern Season – University Mall, 201 S. Estes, Chapel Hill. 919.929.7133. Expensive and full of old people (and I stress old), don’t expect to make a quick trip through this place. The only thing this place doesn’t have which would be really cool is a butcher. Decent cheese selection (the best in the area that I’ve managed to find), good charcuterie selection, spices, wines, chocolates, candy, coffee, tea plus some really overpriced kitchen equipment.
Grand Asia Market – 1253 Buck Jones Rd, Cary. 919.468-2988. This place is fucking awesome. The only thing I don’t like about this place is the 40 minute drive to get there. They have everything in abundance, be it Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, even some Indian. There are vegetables I’ve never heard of, as well as animal parts I would’ve never dream of eating (cow bung or sheep uterus anyone?). For some reason we’ve never eaten from the food court there.
United Restaurant Supply – 2654 S. Saunders St., Raleigh. 919.832.4546. They have the things that cooks need and use, plus items that are great to have at home and haven’t pilfered from where you work, such as squeeze bottles, cambros, film wrap, sheet trays, etc. Why buy a chinois from Williams-Sonoma for $89 when you can get one for $30?
Antonio’s Gourmet Market – 8460 Honeycutt Road, Suite 122, Raleigh. 919.887.6310. It’s a shame I have to travel so far for great seafood. They also have a good meat selection, plus they carry house made stocks (chicken, veal, fish, shrimp, lobster) which is great. They also do special orders.
Savory Spice Shop – 8470 Honeycutt Road, Suite 108, Raleigh. 919.900.8291. It’s great to have a spice shop that grinds their spices weekly, too bad it’s in Raleigh though. They have some proprietary blends as well as all the standards.
As I keep discovering new stores and shops I’ll keep adding to this list. Hopefully someone other than me finds it of use.