Neighborhood Kitchens

International Markets: A World of Food

By Patricia Alvarado Nuñez

Christina's Spices (Patricia Alvarado Nuñez/WGBH)
From Dubai’s souks and Mexican mercados, to La Boquería in Barcelona and floating markets in Thailand, if you really want to learn about a place and its culture, local markets are the place to roam.
But closer to home international food markets are abundant and offer an opportunity to discover new flavors and cultures. Seeing shelves and freezers stocked with imported, unique food items and labels written in unfamiliar languages can give any visitor walking through the doors a sense of entering a far away land.
One of the most fascinating and adventurous parts of producing Neighborhood Kitchens is scouting neighborhoods before we film them. In addition to meeting interesting locals and getting a taste of their fare, we always pay a visit to ethnic food markets, which range in size from tiny mom and pop storefronts to 25,000 square foot supermarkets. Their goods have travelled the map, coming from Mexico and the Caribbean, or Europe, Africa, Asia and other far reaches of the globe. These markets continue to blossom in Massachusetts neighborhoods, thanks in part to an increasing interest in ethnic cookery, and in large measure to the growth of immigrant populations. 

Phnom Penh Supermarket (Patricia Alvarado Nuñez/WGBH)
In Season One of Neighborhood Kitchens, we visited several one-of-a-kind neighborhood markets. If you follow along with the recipes offered by each of our featured chefs, be sure to consult our Glossary for an explanation of some of the ingredients they use, and here is a list of the places we have found that will help you achieve those delicious, authentic flavors. 
Christina’s Spices and Specialty Food  (1255 Cambridge Street) in Inman Square with spices from all around the world.
Frio Rico (360 R Bennington Street) in East Boston, which specializes in food from Peru. Here Chef José Gamez treated me to refreshing shaved ice!

La Internacional (318 Somerville Avenue) in Union Square, Somerville, with food from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. I explored the neighborhood further with Rachel Strutt of the Somerville Arts Council.
Phnom Penh Supermarket  (37 Branch Street) in Lowell with food from Cambodia. Lowell resident Linda Sopheap Sou took me on a tour of the neighborhood during our visit!
Salumeria Italiana  (151 Richmond Street) in the North End, offering everything from cured meats, oils and olives. 
I find that more and more people these days – not just chefs – but everyday home cooks and travelers, are developing an appreciation for ethnic markets. Have you visited the market in your neighborhood yet?  Let us know about your favorite one! 


-- Patricia Alvarado Núñez is the Series Producer of Neighborhood Kitchens.


About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44

About the Author
Patricia Alvarado Nuñez Patricia Alvarado Nuñez
Patricia Alvarado Nuñez is an award-winning producer creating Latino and multicultural programming  for WGBH and La Plaza. (She cooks, too!)

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Find a Neigbhorhood Kitchen
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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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