HUMMUS: Students’ Guide to Ethnic SupermarketsApr 30th, 2010 | By Aysu Uygur | Category: Current Issue, HUMMUS
‘’Gastronomy contains the word astronomy, my grandfather often told me. Pepper is like the sun; hot mercury is cayenne, that’s hot, too. Venus is cinnamon, sweet and bitter, like a woman. And the earth, can you guess which spice the earth is? Salt. Everything comes to life under its influence.’’
Politiki Kouzina, 2003.
The art and science of good eating—gastronomy—exists in every cuisine and is a window to the culture, history, geography and charms of its people. Not surprisingly, the best remedy for homesickness is a familiar taste, be it a big bowl of your favorite childhood soup or a pinch of a particular spice, giving out its strong flavor along with a calming reminiscence.
This alone is the explanation for why the world’s gastronomic map will overlap with its historical population migration map, and this alone is the driving force for every migrating community to carry along their own cuisine to their next destination. Food contains a culture and a past, and therefore a sense of belonging for those who are uprooted from their land, and becomes an integral part of life in an unknown place.
With its diverse student population and many international communities, it was inevitable for Boston to be a great spot for international food and gastronomy. As many ethnic restaurants sprout in many different corners of the city, most of us international students can find familiar tastes that remind us of home. However, as graduate students with limited incomes, we need to be clever about getting a good value for our gastronomic experiences. The obvious option is to cook at home, which is now even more feasible with online recipe websites for different international cuisines. Just pretend to be following a protocol, forget the word ‘resuspend’ and get used to some novel vocabulary such as ‘knead’ or ‘let simmer’. In this issue, I will conveniently be providing a top-rated and self-tested list of ethnic grocery stores around Boston where you can find that critical rare ingredient before you set out for culinary adventures.
Turkish, Armenian, Greek: Sevan Bakery. An amazing selection of groceries and fresh produce exported mostly from Turkey. The store also has an amazing selection of Armenian wine and daily made bakeries and appetizers such as börek, dolma and poğaca. 599 Mount Auburn Street Watertown, MA. www.sevanboston.com
Turkish: Turkuaz Market. Groceries, coffee&tea, desserts, and even a selection of hookah (nargile)! You can also find a variety of evil eye beads and jewelry (and who doesn’t want to be protected from the evil eyes?) Allston/Brighton, 16 Brighton Ave(at Malvern St), Allston, MA.
Greek: Arlington Bakery. This little bakery has a most traditional and fresh selection of bakeries that can also be commissioned for events. 187 Massachusetts Avenue Arlington.
Christo’s Fruit Market. A greek grocery store for fresh Greek goods. East Arlington, 200 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington.
Russian: Bazaar. A grocery store with Russian goods and a small bakery shop as well! 424 Cambridge St. Allston, MA. www.bazaarboston.com
African: Tropical Foods. The name says it all. African, Caribbean and Latin food, including fish! 2101 Washington St. (between Eustis St & Melnea Cass Blvd), Roxbury, MA
Korean: Dae Han Oriental Market. Fresh, home-made kim chi and other Korean delights, and at an affordable price too! 34 Elm St. Waltham, MA
Kosher: The Butcherie. For every kind of Passover food imaginable, this is the place to be. A good selection of Jewish food (not just Kosher), is available, although it can be a bit pricey. Don’t forget that the store is closed on Friday evenings and Saturdays. 428 Harvard St Brookline, MA.
Chinese and Asian: Super 88. This place offers a huge selection of cheap, fresh produce for Asian cuisines, including Indian. Whichever rare ingredient you cannot find when you’re cooking Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, etc…you will find it here for sure. 1095 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA.
Italian and Mediterranean: Salumeria Italiana. This little store is a gem of the North End. Stray away from the fancy restaurants and bistros of the North End and dive into this little grocery store for some fresh Mediterranean ambiance. A selection of cheese varieties including freshly marinated mozzarella, goat cheese, pecorino romano, sundried tomatoes and olives, freshly baked Italian bread, very fine olive oil and freshly sliced prosciutto. This is real Italian grocery for a real Italian meal! North End 151 Richmond St (between Bakers Aly & Hanover St), Boston, MA.