Good food: it’s something we all crave, but we often take for granted the relationships and bonds formed around good food. (Because it was really Grandma’s cooking that brought everyone together during the holidays, right?) But, more than that, food is a gateway and a glimpse into a culture that might be different from our own. It should come as no surprise that food is an integral part of culture, which means there is perhaps no better way to experience a culture than by sampling from dishes as diverse as the people who concoct them. If you prefer a specific style of cultural cooking, or you’re simply looking to experiment in the kitchen, look no further than these local outlets for an assortment of food and ingredients from around the globe.
301 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Craving Asian? Nothing beats the authentic Asian ingredients found at Asian Market. Although owners Gin and Tun Cng hail from Burma, the Asian Market carries a wide range of ingredients with their roots in various Asian countries like the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and China. However, the most popular products at Asian Market are those used in Filipino dishes. So, if you live for lumpia, this is the place to come for ready-to-make spring roll wrappers ideal for cooking either fried or fresh lumpia. The market is also your one-stop shop for all things sushi, especially if you prefer to craft your own from scratch using the best wasabi and freshest seaweed. Top off any dish with imported sauces like spicy sriracha and Korean BBQ. Don’t shy away from labels that say fish or shrimp paste if they seem unfamiliar; these are essential additives to Asian-style soups, including the traditional Burmese rice noodles in fish soup called “mohinga” or “all-day breakfast.” Last, but certainly not least, if you’re looking for sweet, tasty treats, check the candy aisle for Meiji cookies and biscuits that come with a variety of fillings like strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla.
1180 W. Main St., Pensacola, FL
For 18 years, the Vatsolakis family has owned and operated Shoreline Foods International Market and Deli on a cozy corner in Downtown Pensacola. Originally, the Vatsolakis come from the island of Crete, which is where Shoreline’s signature extra virgin olive oil is imported—coming straight from the Vatsolakis’ own olive trees. Shoreline Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes in four sizes: ranging from a half liter can to 1 and 3 liter cans with the biggest being a 5 liter box. In addition to its signature olive oil, Shoreline Foods just began offering its own brand of dry white and red wines. The market also offers a unique thyme honey, native to Crete and gathered from bees that use the nectar of Cretan thyme plants. Stock up on olives at the self-serve bar, where you’ll find one of the most popular green olives stuffed with kritamo, an ingredient considered a “super food” with health benefits that even exceed those of kale. From Greek olives, wines and beer to quality meats and a plethora of international spices, there’s no shortage of items to find for the dish you’re cooking up. Don’t forget you can also pick up breakfast, lunch and dinner from Shoreline Deli, where you’ll find breakfast and lunch gyros and other sandwiches served on sub rolls baked fresh daily from Bagel Heads, as well as fresh salads with plenty of Greek flavors.
Four Winds International Market & Deli
6895 N. 9th Ave., Pensacola, FL
Since 1981, owners James and Nancy Tarabay have kept Four Winds the leader in serving up international foods to Pensacola. It is the “one-stop emporium” with over 9,000 items from around the world—from the Mediterranean and Middle East to Russia, Europe, Asia and Mexico, the selections are practically limitless. Ask any of the regulars and they’ll tell you they’ve been coming to the store for years, whether for their specialty cheeses (over 250 domestic and imported options) and wines, deli selections, or their signature Four Winds dips like garlic feta and sun dried tomato. From all-organic chicken to roast beef that has been aged to perfection over the course of 24 days, Four Winds is guaranteed to have just what you’re looking for in the meats department. Specialty dried fruits like the massive (and mouth-watering) Medjool dates along with kiwis and more are available for pairing with Four Winds cheeses for appetizing platters. In addition to carrying over 750 imported beers, the market is also well-known for over 50 different whole bean coffees, including 12 Bean Gourmet Coffee that is exclusive to Four Winds. The deli offers great-tasting gyros as well as other meat sandwiches, plus vegetarian options like tabouli and hummus sandwiches. Catering is available upon request in advance.
6707 Plantation Rd., Pensacola, FL
Spices are more than what you add to a dish to kick your cooking up a notch; just ask the Abraham brothers at Pensacola’s Spice House: they’ll tell you that depending on the spice you use, there’s a plethora of health benefits that go along with it. For easy reference, look to the store’s list of spices to learn just how they can improve your health. The Abrahams are from Southern Indian, which is where many of their imported items originate, too. Of course, turmeric is one of their staple spices, but other popular products include imported juices like mango, guava, triphala and bitter gourd. From fresh halal meat to combine with your own recipe to meals already planned out and prepared for you, such as ready-to-eat tomato rice and masala, you’ll walk away with exactly what you were looking for and more. Reap all the rewards of Spice House’s coconut oil, whether you have plans to use it as a healthy alternative in cooking or you were hoping to add it to your beauty routine. The Spice House also offers authentic Indian cuisine like delicious chicken curry through its catering service for those who call in advance, and the store will begin offering cooked food items on Sept. 9 with a menu featuring masala dosa with sambhar as well as samosas.