Curious about ethnic markets but overwhelmed with options and not sure what to buy? We asked Mike McJunkin, a local chef who spent four years in Thailand studying Thai cuisine and now spends five or six hours a week shopping at Chattanooga’s ethnic markets, for his recommendations on where to go. where to go for different ingredients and what to buy. from some of the best ethnic markets in the area.
Asian cuisine and gifts
3639 Hixson Pike | 423-870-1067 | facebook.com/afg.chattanooga
Why you should go: If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of ethnic markets, this is the best place to start, according to McJunkin. Opened in 1981, it is the oldest and largest Asian market in the region, and it offers a wide and well-curated selection of Thai, Chinese, Filipino and Korean dishes.
Come here for high-quality rice, like Three Ladies Jasmine Rice; ingredients for halo-halo, a Filipino dessert; miso soup ingredients; fresh noodles; fish sauces (McJunkin loves three crabs) and all varieties of canned fish. You’ll find condiments like Yellow Sriracha, Chinese BBQ Sauce, and Kewpie Mayonnaise, which is mixed with Sriracha to make spicy mayonnaise used on sushi. Don’t forget the snacks and sweets – including Japan Pocky Cookie Sticks, Pork Bristle (cotton candy made from pork that looks like shredded beef jerky), Strawberry Crackers and Sriracha Peas. There are also plenty of spices for much less than at a typical grocery store, as well as bao rolls, milk teas, and a variety of flavored sugars. Ramen lovers will be delighted with all the options here, and the ice cream section is not to be missed. Try Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bars, Corn Ice Cream Bars and Avocado Ice Cream. Products such as goji berries and other fruits, dried mushrooms and different varieties of green vegetables arrive every Tuesday at noon, and the selection begins to thin out towards the end of the week.
6940 Lee Highway | 423-855-5995 | india-bazaar-grocery-store.business.site
Why you should go: Very good selection of produce, especially the okra, which McJunkin says is better and “less oaky” than the European okra we’re used to.
Janta Farmer’s Market
6500 Lee Highway | 423-551-8285
Why you should go: All the dry goods and spices you’ve always dreamed of. Walk away with bags of spices so big you’ll have to share them, for very little money. The prepared meals are also excellent, especially the counter-fresh samosas. Grab a candy cane juice or hot chai while you’re at it. Janta is also a great place to buy fruit and other produce, as well as yoghurt.
Loa Super Carniceria #7
1500 Broad Street | 423-634-0565 | carniceriasloa.com
Why you should go: For dried chillies and for the butcher, offering everything from chicken and pork to octopus and goat. You will also find suckling pigs and pig heads, for those who want to make head cheese. Don’t miss the cooler of fresh tortillas.
2109 Main Street East | 423-629-4737
Why you should go: Fresh Guatemalan and Mexican tamales (and sometimes tortillas), cream and the large bakery section, where you’ll find the best tres leches cake in town, according to McJunkin.
European market #1
4921 Ooltewah Ringgold Road | 423-899-3099 | marketeuropeen.com
Why you should go: Frozen dumplings and fresh bread.
Around the world market
5968 Brainerd Road | 423-661-8498
Why you should go: Cheeses, olives, cherry juice, za’atar and the “best hummus ever,” says McJunkin.
3920 Ringgold Road | 423-624-1809
Why you should go: The owner is “surprisingly good at finding hard-to-find things,” McJunkin says, and the store also has a good selection of kitchen utensils, straw brooms and large soup spoons that you find in restaurants. Asians.