Oh how we love to complain about our supermarkets — especially in hoods where fresh produce means “not that wilted.” But however much Fairway puts our neighborhood grocers to shame, these stores deserve some props for their ethnic and specialty foods.
Food Bazaar, 21 Manhattan Ave., Bushwick
From the four-foot-tall stalks of sugar cane in the produce section to dry goods like Mexican pozole, Peruvian purple corn flour, and Caribbean curries and hot sauces, this store beats all in terms of ethnic foods. But Food Bazaar also wins the borough-wide award for meatiest supermarket ever. Beef tongue, testicles, pizzles (take a guess; it starts with the same letter), oxtails, pigs ears, rabbit — whatever animal (or part) you want to stew, braise or roast, chances are you’ll find it here.
Super Foodtown, 1420 Fulton St., Bed-Stuy
This immaculate, suburban-feeling supermarket stocks fresh produce and meat you actually feel confident eating. They also have a big selection of pork and freshly smoked meats like ham hocks, turkey wings, and bacon. Bonus points for their aisle of organic foods, Murray’s Chicken and the midnight closing time on weekdays for late-night, crowd-free shopping.
Met Foods, 197 Smith St., Cobble Hill
The small but strong Asian foods section here — which has more to do with the owners than the surrounding populace — means there is enough gyoza, egg roll wrappers, Chinese eggplant, sriracha sauce, sesame oil, bean thread noodles, and dried lemongrass to satisfy your Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese food cravings.
Pioneer Supermarket, 325 Lafayette Ave., Clinton Hill
While their Mexican section has dwindled in recent years, this is still a one-stop shop for essentials like fresh or canned tomatillos, poblano and jalepeno peppers, dried chiles, nopales, Herdez salsas, cojito cheese and crema and specialty spices like avocado leaves.
This tiny, independent supermarket deserves cred for its killer international beer selection, which features everything from Belgian Lambics to German Schlenkerla smoked beers. (Even the snobs on Beer Advocate give it an “A” rating.) Kudos for the kielbasa, poppy butter, pierogies and multiple varieties of rye bread.
Thanks to Annaliese Griffin and Nina Pearlman for the tips.