Monday, February 1, 2010

Why Shopping at Ethnic Markets is Cool- Part 1

One of the cool things about living in a diverse area is the access to ethnic supermarkets.  For many years I avoided and loathed being dragged in there, mostly by my parents looking for a way to recreate their favorite foods in a new place.  The smells alone were enough to keep me out.  As I got older and developed more of a curiosity through trying different foods, I was game to scour the ethnic supermarkets in my area.

First up is the Russian Supermarket.  Let's do a little flashback.  This is what my early childhood looked like:
What?  You didn't wear bows larger than your head for your preschoool class picture?  No mustard colored 80s shirts handed down from your brother?  Well, I tried.  This display of style should hopefully show that I grew up in the Soviet culture.
The food I grew up with is a lot different than what you probably ate.  My peeps mostly followed a hearty diet, consisting of bread, potatoes, and of course, meat.  My favorite childhood breakfast was bread and butter sandwiches with fresh tomatoes on the side.  I also had a sick obsession with fresh tomato juice, caviar, and smoked fish...when I was 3.
This weekend I ventured into the local Russian deli with my hubby and we found some great finds browsing the aisles:
Do you see that?  Sausage.  Lots of cured meat.  The culture doesn't really do vegetarian.
Lots of bread products are popular in the culture.  In an effort to be one with the culture, I went with bread for my bloggie purchase:
Dark Rye Russian Bread.  In case you were confused, the label has the nesting doll to tell you so.  I turned it around and the nutritional stats rocked:
7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per slice.  There is a lot of sodium at 370 mg per slice, but the taste is worth it. 
Hubby picked up this little treasure- it's some vitamin thingie he ate when he was a kid.  I'm pretty sure it says something about being strong like a bull.  I liked the label:
I think there are some kind of questionable animal products in here, but it makes hubby happy.

My recs: If you go shopping at an Eastern European store, I highly recommend trying the teas, bread products, cottage cheese, and CHOCOLATE!  You can usually also find some sweet Georgian wine (not the state, the republic), pickled vegetables, and lots and lots of cured meats.

Questions for you: Do you shop in ethnic markets?  Do you eat foods from your own old world culture?  What was your favorite food as a kid?
My answers: Yes I do, and I'll be back with my second ethnic market post soon!  I eat some Russian food items and some of them are really good- usually only if my mom cooks it.


Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg said...


Oh my gosh, I am loving that first picture. That just made my day.

And yes, I also totally wore bows that were bigger than my face on the very top of my head. Awesomeness.

Gabriela said...

Wow that's a big bow...too cute though! I love French markets, not because I speak french but because they have the best dessert sections. Can't lie on that one, sorry.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I shop in every ethnic market I can find - but if I can't read the label or can't figure out what the product is, I don't buy it. I am scurrred.

Nicole, RD said...

I love shopping local ethnic markets, too! Especially for cheese and produce!

Dawn Dishes It Out said...

I love visiting and shopping in ethnic markets. I have always loved to explore new foods and nowadays I try to incorporate all types of foods for my kids. I want them to get a taste of evverything.

Tania Ballesteros Lerner said...

I looved this post!! Especially your photo, what a cute little ukranian girl :) When we go to the rusky store we cannot leave without those delicious little frozen cheesecakes covered with chocolate!

Anonymous said...

that is awesome! i will definitely have to check out ethnic markets around me!

Katie ♥ said...

Love the pic!!!

Oh yes be careful when you are reading my blog at work,lol!!!

Oh ethnic markets are so cool, I have been to a japanese market, got some good teas and yum candy there, I want to go to more ethnic markets, around here in DC they have tons!

Love ya girl!! I love exercising, that is my me time as well!!!


Gina said...

Such a neat post! I love learning new things about different countries/areas of the world! I just finished a book that took place in Russia, so I'm getting a lot of Russian history lately :)

The bread does sound really good, and hearty. 7 grams of fiber?! That's unheard of around here (unless it's not really fiber, of course. We Americans love putting fake fiber crap in our bread!).

My favorite food as a kid was anything. I was not picky and I ate anything my parents put in from of me. As for ethnic foods, my grandma made an amazing lasagna that I can still smell in her kitchen to this day. So good.

Anne Marie said...

There's not many ethnic markets around me, but I would shop there if they were closer! Love that first picture-so cute!