You don’t need the address for this treasure trove of ingredients. Just follow your nose to the scents of freshly-ground cumin, garam masala and vadouvan. Start with the walls of spices, oils, vinegars and unique finds like banana water and orange blossom extract – just the thing to unleash your inner mixologist. Out the back, plump figs, perfect chanterelles and Sicilian pistachios will leave you feeling like a kid in a candy store. 104 Ave B, near 7th St.
It’s impossible to leave this culinary Aladdin’s Cave without a serious dent to your wallet. First, the spices – they have them all, from allspice to za’atar. Looking for palm sugar for that authentic Thai curry? How about an obscure dried chilli for that salsa recipe you’ve been dying to make? They have 10 types of ghee. You’ll never be stumped for an ingredient again. Stop upstairs in the cafe for a cheap, filling pita and the city’s best mujadara. 123 Lexington Ave, near 28th St.
Not technically NYC, but definitely worth the $4 shuttle from Port Authority. Come hungry: Mitsuwa is half-food court, half-market, and the food court covers all the bases from ramen to tonkatsu. The market is New York’s best Asian mart (sorry Chinatown) – stock up on Sun Noodles, dumpling wrappers, kurobuta pork and shiso leaves. 595 River Rd, Edgewater, New Jersey.
The big momma of New York’s food shopping destinations, this is your one-stop-shop for all things Italian and then some. Fresh and dry pasta, beautiful breads, prosciutto, cheese, seafood and endless walls of jams, cookies and caramele. And what could be more civilized than shopping with a glass of wine? What you might not expect is Eataly’s reasonable prices especially in the stunning fresh produce section (the butcher less so, although the quality is superb). Look beyond the perfect fruit and vegetables for hard-to-find ingredients like fresh porcini mushrooms, kaffir lime leaves and Italian (not Chinese) pine nuts. 200 5th Ave, near 23rd St.
Jam-packed with olives, nuts, dips and other Middle Eastern delights, this is the place to stock up for a cheat’s mezze party. An amazing selection of groceries spanning the region and beyond (this is where I find British ingredients in NYC like stem ginger and clotted cream). I love their real taramasalata and prepared foods like kibbe and vine leaves. Stop next door at Damascus Bakery for beautiful pita and lavash or a cheap falafel sandwich to go. 187 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn.
And don’t miss…Kitchen Arts and Letters
The ultimate cookbook store, with a huge selection of classic cookbooks and latest releases, plus nostalgic food postcards, food zines and a collection of Short Stack Editions, which make lovely food gifts. But this is no B&N, it feels like the neighborhood bookstore it is. Worth a hike up to the Upper East Side just for a browse. 1435 Lexington Ave, between 93rd and 94th Sts.