Calgary is full of Canadians with all sorts of international backgrounds. Because of that, we are lucky to have many grocery stores that reflect our delicious diversity. If you are looking to expand your regular shopping experience, here are six fantastic international grocers to explore where you’ll discover all sorts of tasty and interesting things.
Arirang Oriental Foods
Tucked into the multi-level strip mall next to Community Natural Foods on 10th Avenue and 12th Street S.W., Arirang is bursting with interesting Korean ingredients and packaged foods to try out. Its aisle of sauces and condiments include more soy and fish sauces than you thought were imaginable, as well as a myriad of vinegars and containers of gochujang, the smoky fermented pepper paste that makes Anju’s chicken sliders so delicious. Don’t forget to gaze at the huge wall of packaged ramen and pick out one or two to take home to try.
1324 10 Ave S.W., 403-228-0980
A trip to the North East to visit Basha is always a rewarding experience for the curious home cook. Basha operates like any other grocer with a big fresh produce section, but its far from typical with ingredients like aloe leaves, green chickpeas and quince for sale. The meat section has regular cuts of protein like beef or chicken, but also stocks harder-to-find meats like goat, and a trip down an aisle or two will reveal unique items like rose and orange blossom waters or royal jelly (the type of honey that is produced by bees to feed the queen bee).
2717 Sunriddge Way N.E., 403-280-6797, bashafoods.ca
Joycee’s Caribbean Food and Takeout
Small, but mighty, Joycee’s has been a long-time tenant of the small strip mall on 1st Avenue N.E. off Edmonton Trail. Peruse the aisles to find all kinds of ingredients that make Jamaican cuisine so unique, like jerk paste or scotch bonnet and pick-a-pepa hot sauces (and I mean hot!). This grocer also has a take-out food counter, where you can pick-up warm meat patties, jerk-spiced chicken and pork, and more.
630 1 Ave. N.E., 403-234-9940
Kalamata Grocery Store
Stocking primarily Mediterranean products, Kalamata offers plenty of different kinds of feta cheese and olives at its deli counter, bags of freshly baked pitas, as well as rows and rows of cans of prepared hummus, dolmades, jars of grape leaves and more. The spice section of the small shop is brimming with wonderful dried ingredients like sumac and Greek oregano. The bread aisle also has interesting international products like fresh injera and deliciously doughy Iranian flatbread.
1422 11 St S.W., 403-244-0220
With two locations in Calgary, T&T is a one-stop shop for whatever Asian ingredients, foods or cookware you might be searching for. Fresh seafood like crab and lobster are readily available here and all sorts of interesting produce, from durian and lychee to napa cabbage, long green beans and varieties of bok choy. There are also fresh noodles of all shapes and sizes, dumpling wrappers, satay sauces, curry pastes, soup broth bases, different types of miso, and more. The candy aisle here is also a fun one to peruse if you’re wiling to try out a few bags of exotic sweet treats.
In 2009, T&T was acquired by Loblaw Companies Ltd. (Superstore, Loblaws City Market, etc.) and because of that, you can now find many of the T&T-branded products like dried mushrooms and rice noodles at most Superstore locations in Calgary.
800, 999 36 St. N.E., 403-569-6888 and 1000, 9650 Harvest Hills Blvd. N.E.,403-237-6608, tnt-supermarket.com
If you’re looking for all the ingredients to make an authentic Latin American meal at home, this is your one-stop shop. Pop in to either location of this south-of-the-border market to grab bags of freshly pressed corn tortillas, tostadas, cans of mesa, tomatillo sauce, jars of salsa and more. A hot sauce fanatic? Then you will really appreciate the shelves stocked with all sorts of bottles, small and large in size, most of which are very reasonably prices.
2405 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-984-3386 and 128 50 Ave. S.E., 403-255-4479, unimarket.ca