While it’s fun to eat at a restaurant specializing in exotic and unfamiliar cuisine, it can be challenging to reproduce those dishes at home. The Palm Beaches are becoming more multicultural, however, and the selection of ethnic markets is increasing. Best of all, the staff in these stores is usually more than happy to explain ingredients and share recipes.
1. Planet Ozone, Stuart
The first green commercial building in Martin County, Planet Ozone features a large food store along with a separate restaurant and an environmentally friendly gas station. All meats are Halal certified, and there’s a vast range of organic and gluten-free Mediterranean delicacies. If you get hungry while shopping, pop into the Tabuleh Café for fresh-squeezed juices, salads, smoothies, and more substantial dishes such as kabobs or shawarma.
2. Boca Oriental Market, Boca Raton
Enthusiasts will find everything they need to cook their favorite Korean, Japanese, and Thai dishes in this narrow, crowded storefront. Choose from more than 20 varieties of fish sauce and browse an array of hard-to-find Asian produce. The refrigerated and frozen sections carry an impressive selection of dumplings, and don’t miss the Japanese and Chinese candy aisle. (561-361-3130)
3. India Bazaar, West Palm Beach
The cuisine of the Indian subcontinent is delicate and complex, but this store offers a good introduction to help cooks get started. The condiment section is comprehensive, spanning all-purpose curry mixes and individual spices to make your own. The owners receive high marks for friendliness and helpfulness, too. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh, hot samosas at the register on your way out.
4. Oxtails & More, West Palm Beach
This Military Trail outpost is ground zero for Caribbean creations, with most items imported fresh from Jamaica. Selections range from meat (goat, smoked mutton, and chitterlings) to fish (escovitch and salt fish) and produce (ackee, callaloo, and sorrel). Shoppers shouldn’t overlook home remedies, either; Benjamin’s Gentian violet is used to treat skin infections, while Benjamin’s Kananga water is best suited for spiritual cleansing.