International food stores are something of a growing trend in the United States. There are several up and down the West Coast. There are many retailers specializing in international brands and foods online too, International Food Club and Cost Plus World Markets for example. While preparing for this blog, I got on CPWM’s website and was greeted by a Cajun seasoning product called “Slap Ya Mama”.
When we were in St Louis recently, Ruth and I got to wondering if the Global Foods Market we used to frequent was still at 421 North Kirkwood Road. Indeed it was, and thriving. In business since 1999, it surely must be one of the oldest stores in this business. It also qualifies as a major tourist attraction.
As we entered, I noted lots and lots of oversized bags of rice. Some weighed 50 pounds. Most were from Thailand and Korea.
There were a lot of unfamiliar items in the produce department. What is Costa Rican yutia blanca? Ghana yams? Pictured above are Chinese Eggplants from Honduras. Near them were chocolates from Poland and Finland and candy and cookies from Austria. The Greek baklava made in Cleveland, Ohio, looked delicious. I was soon finding yet more rice, this time from India. Much of the tea was from England, but Argentinian yerba mate was there too and bringing back memories.
Some aisles contained many American products like the only pasta I found. There was, I quickly noted, very little from Italy in Global Foods Market, and Ruth & I surmised that this was due to competition. St. Louis is a city with many Italian stores and great Italian restaurants.
I found many products from Turkey under the Ziyad brand. I examined Iraqi date syrup, canned Russian fish, Palm corned beef from New Zealand, and Austrian fruit spreads. I almost bought some Hermann the German hard blackberry candy.
Some aisles were organized for specific cultures. Bangladesh, Pakistan, India are Sri Lanka was one, and I wondered if there were now sizable, local communities from each country who appreciated these tastes of home.
I was most amazed in the liquor department where I found several Georgian wines. Romania and Uzbekistan were also represented. There were beers from around the world. This area reminded me of the Russian supermarket I visited in St Petersburg and blogged about with a big response.
Ruth & I are going to Australia for the 10th time in 2017. “I didn’t find Vegemite,” I said as we exited Global Foods Market. “I did,” Ruth replied. “Were you tempted to buy some?” I asked. “No,” she replied. Good.