A Tour of OKC’s Best International Grocery Stores
If you’ve traveled internationally, then you’ve likely experienced culture shock when you first stepped foot in a new country: strange smells, foreign languages spoken around you, exciting new flavors. It’s that very feeling that can be so addictive to those who love traveling.
And even if you don’t have a passport or can’t afford an expensive plane ticket, you can experience that same adventurous exploration of another culture in a small way without leaving Oklahoma City: by visiting its ethnic grocery stores.
Last week, I wrote about OKC’s newest international grocery store, World Fresh. But there are many other established ethnic markets around town worth visiting! Join me, as we travel the world right here in OKC!
Travel to Asia…
Super Cao Nguyen
Flanked by plastic palm trees, Super Cao Nguyen is hard to miss as one of OKC’s largest ethnic markets, located in the Asian District slightly off of Classen.
On the right when you first enter, you’ll find an area usually devoted to special foods for holidays, such as Chinese New Year or the Mid-Autumn Festival. Next to it is the hot bar, where you can also find sushi and fresh baguettes. It’s interesting how the French have continued to influence Vietnamese culture!
Sometimes I grab a bao, a steamed bun filled with BBQ pork, as a snack. If you time it right, these savory treats can be hot from the oven!
Continue toward the back of the store to find an interesting selection of fresh produce, including many vegetables and fruits you can’t easily find in our American grocery stores.
Fresh meat and seafood, Pocky sticks of all flavors, Asian dumpling wrappers, a wide range of ramen, fish sauce… you name it, it’s likely here!
The many aisles cover primarily Asian food, but you can also find small areas devoted to Middle Eastern and European foods. This is the one place in town I can find knafe, a shredded pastry dough, to use for Middle Eastern desserts. (It’s in the refrigerated section, if you’re curious!)
In the far left side of the store, there are places to buy everything from kitchen appliances and dishes to exotic plants! It is great fun just to wander through and try something new.
Come back to celebrate Chinese New Year here, complete with dragon dances!
Spices of India
Spices of India is perhaps the largest Indian grocery store in the OKC metro area and is located right off of NW 39th Expressway in Bethany. This is a great place to buy spices, curry mixes, and such. Also, check out the fresh produce for special items like sugar cane and curry leaf!
You can find some Pakistani and Middle Eastern groceries here, as well. There is even a decent selection of British items, such as teas and my personal British favorite, dark chocolate digestives. (Some of the snack items seem to change from time to time, though.)
At the counter, make sure to try a samosa made from the restaurant next-door, Rosoi Chaat. These filled pastries are spicy and delicious!
Travel to Latin America…
As you enter Feria Latina on NW 23rd St. around lunchtime, the place is bustling. Energetic Spanish music plays in the background and colorful piñatas hang above the aisles, creating a festive atmosphere.
In the left corner is a taquiera and people are eating while watching a soccer game on the TV screen. When I visited, steaming bowls of chicken broth with large chunks of chicken with bones, skin and all were the special of the day. Since it seemed to be the most popular order, I had to try it. Amazing. It came with rice, toppings such as lime, cilantro, and onions, and small fresh tortillas.
Nearby there’s a juice bar with fresh fruits. You can get fresh squeezed juices, aguas, or licuadas. My friend and I tried the Energetico with mango and kiwi. Quite refreshing!
Just like going to another country, it is helpful to know some of the language. The menu is in Spanish and ordering seems to go smoother, if you know some words.
There’s a wide variety of produce, baked goods, and packaged foods available from all parts of Latin America here!
Supermercado Morelo can actually be found in multiple locations – two locations in OKC, one in Tulsa, and one in Moore! It’s brightly lit, clean, and well organized at its location on 50th that I visited. The fresh produce and bakery items are particularly appealing. Also, check out the really large fried pork skins or chicharrones here!
It’s a smaller market than Feria Latina, but also includes a hot bar area where you can get tortas, tacos, and more. I have tried a selection from their hot bar of vegetables, meat dishes, and beans and rice and everything was really flavorful and tasty. Quite above my expectations for cafeteria-style food, honestly! They also have rice pudding and hot chocolate!
I found out that you could get fresh corn tortillas kept hot in coolers by the door, so be sure to get a package on the way out! There are also tamales for sale by the cashier. Now that’s smart marketing!
Travel to the Middle East….
Mediterranean Imports and Deli
The accents change as you move from one store to the next, but you’ll find more than just Middle Easterners enjoying the selection offered by the Mediterranean Imports and Deli off of May near 63rd. The Mediterranean Deli has been selling cheese and olives from around the world long before Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods made it to OKC.
Find cheese here from Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Greece, Italy, Poland France, England, Ireland, Germany, and Canada!
This is a small store, but packed with treasures. I like to get the small fresh cucumbers here; they are sweeter and tastier than then normal grocery store fare. Grab a mix to try the hot sahlab drink at home. In the back refrigerators, you can get Lebanese meat pies that are ready to heat and enjoy.
Mediterranean Deli makes their own hummus and it is so good! In fact, you might as well just sample some of the many delicious items off their café menu while you’re here. Or at least try one of the desserts made in-house, like baklava!
Travel to Africa…
Our final stop is an unassuming shop the size of a convenient store on MacArthur and NW 23rd called Tropical Hut. Inside you can find products from India, but this is a particularly good place to come for African food in OKC!
Kenyan chapati and teas, fresh produce like African yams, soaps and hair products, and a wide selection of plantain chips are among their unique offerings.
This store also sells quite a few British items, including Marmite, McVities biscuits, and Bird’s Eye custard.
In the back, you can even purchase goat meat from the butcher!
World Trip Complete, Except…
Notably missing from our tour is an international grocery store dedicated to European groceries, which is why I mentioned where you could get some items at the other stores. Unfortunately, we don’t have a big European grocery store in OKC at this time. But you can find small places to buy European specialties, such as the little market at the bakery and restaurant La Baguette.
There’s no place like home…but home is even better with the world at our doormat here in Oklahoma City! Now stop looking at the pictures and go try your own fun treats at OKC’s international grocery stores!
What’s your favorite international grocery store in OKC? Share in the comments!