Tiny Grocers: We List Down All the Places You Can Get Your Indian NeedsNovember 4, 2016
If you want to make the perfect dish, you equip yourself with the best ingredients possible. Because substituting lime for kaffir lime leaves or butter for ghee can only get you so far. And others ingredients simply cannot be substituted—take for example gochujang, rose water, mentaiko, and many others. So when we find that it’s high time to expand our culinary horizon, we don’t look to the sprawling linoleum floors of supermarkets. Instead, we find the tiny grocers, specialty stores that sell products of a specific cuisine, may it be Indian, Japanese, Korean or whatever cuisine fits your bill.
We’ve scoured the metro to find the perfect places to find your own tiny grocer. Somewhere you can be assured will be there to give you the most obscure product to make sure your recipes don’t end up tasting closer to the real thing.
We begin our series with Indian grocers. Often situated in areas that have a large Indian community, these stores are more difficult to maintain because of how different it is to the other Asian groceries we find in the metro. Indian food tends to be strikingly foreign to most. The cuisine does douse meat in vinegar and soy, but in a lengthy list of spices that can leave you holding your own breath. There’s a huge jump, but for those who appreciate this invigorating cuisine, there’s a number of places that can fulfill your need for some roti canai, tikka masala, or palak paneer.
Assad Mini Mart
It’s the most well-known of the list, opening in the early 1990s and expanding into three branches in Manila, Makati, and Marikina. Their store comes complete with the essentials and sources their own brand of spices by the sack. They even have Indian cosmetics and incense. There’s also a small snack bar at the front if you’re hankering for samosas or aloo laddu. Their branch along UN Avenue also has a café right next to the mini mart for anyone craving for some simple Indian meals.
Manila Branch: 1268 – I.J.K.L. Midtown Executive Homes, United Nations Avenue, Paco, Manila
Makati Branch: Unit 1-A, Eurocrest Building, 126 Jupiter Sreet, Bel-Air, Makati City
Marikina Branch: Door # 5, Thaddeus Arcade, Gil Fernando Avenue, San Roque, Marikina City
Incredible Indian Food Depot
With branches in Paseo de Magallanes and Alabang Hills, this Indian grocer comes with the basic spices and herbs with their brand as well. They have a range of frozen items such as roti, yogurt, packed desserts, and fresh yogurt. They also have homemade Indian meals like masala and a number of vegetable curries if dessert isn’t really your thing.
Makati Branch: Santiago St, Makati, 1232 Metro Manila
Contact: 851 0127
Alabang Branch: Unit 5 Delcon Residences Chemis Bldg. Don Jesus Blvd, Alabang Hills, Sucat.
Contact: 877 8627
Anmol Indian Store
Located in Paco, this sprawling grocery comes fully equipped with all the essentials, and then some. From specialty flavorings, frozen flatbread, and one of the most expansive range of Indian merchandise, this grocer is where you go when your other stores don’t have what you need. There is also a counter specifically for their freshly baked goods, which we think is the best from what we tasted from the ones we visited. Try their Gulab Jamun, it’s one of the better ones out there.
Address: 1007 Paco-Sta. Mesa Rd, Pandacan, Manila, Metro Manila
Contact: 562 2377
There is a slew of Indian groceries along UN Avenue, so if you’re in real need of Indian products this is the place to go. The sheer number of small grocers here will assure you that all your needs are met.
Talwar Indian Grocery
One of the smaller establishments on the list, but one that still gives a rather complete array of choices. A bit cramped and wedged into a very small space, it’s quite a squeeze, but I’d like to think that it’s all part of the experience with these grocers.
Address: Midtown Executive Homes, 1268- H United Nations Ave, Paco, Manila, 1007 Metro Manila
Contact: 536 3062
Little India Simron’s
To complete this little tour of UN Avenue’s many, many Indian groceries, we end with little India. It’s a bit larger than the others, and a bit more well known. It contains all the essentials, and though the space is small everything is still well-organized and neat.