Why You Should Shop at Ethnic Grocery Stores

I’m here to convince you to shop at your local ethnic grocery stores.

I live in Philadelphia. The map above of where people of different ethnicities live in Philadelphia has red dots for whites, blue dots for blacks, and yellow dots for Hispanics. In the middle of the map, there’s a place in North Philadelphia where the north-south swath of Hispanic neighborhoods tapers down to a point and mixes with the black and white neighborhoods to the west and east. And right there, there’s a locally-owned grocery store called Cousin’s. Not surprisingly, it’s a fantastic place to shop for food.

It’s made even better by the fact that there’s a fairly strong Muslim community in North Philadelphia. So: Take a full service American supermarket, add two big aisles of Mexican/Spanish produce, meats and groceries (including all manner of hot peppers, salsas, queso fresco, chorizos, octopus, salt cod, all of those different kinds of beans and cornmeal, etc.), and then add a halal meat counter, Lebanese yogurt, and a whole aisle of Middle Eastern specialties (halva, tahini, sardines in spicy oil, etc.). It’s a dream to shop there. The prices are rock bottom, the selection is amazing, and the food quality is equal to or higher than any other major, regular-priced supermarket I’ve tried.

It’s become my favorite place to grocery shop, but I’ve had a tough time convincing any of my friends to give it a shot.

Places I’ve Lived: Ireland, My Grandmother’s, and A Place to Plant Roots

When the cab driver dropped me off at my new home, he warned me about the neighborhood. "Oh, no, love, you don’t want to live here," he said. "It’s not safe."