How to shop a Middle Eastern Food Market
How to shop a Middle Eastern Food Market
When I was growing up in the Middle East, our refrigerators and pantries were usually supplied with basic essentials like cheeses, bread, and spices. Because of this, specialized and gourmet food markets and businesses are quite lucrative in the US. Arabs frequently shop at these establishments to stock up on familiar dishes and products.
If you are unfamiliar with the culture, it might be intimidating to shop at any specialty store. There are several Indian and Nepali markets in Akron, and I frequently wander the aisles with the best of intentions to buy supplies but end up spending more time researching than actually making any purchases. So I can get how unfamiliar people could feel overwhelmed while visiting a Middle Eastern bazaar.
How to Shop at an Arab Market
In light of this, my sister Nora, our friend Layali, and I set out to discuss our favorite Arabic grocery items from Cleveland’s Holy Land Market. I posted a live video instruction from the market on Facebook and Instagram, but I also wanted to give a helpful guide for readers here.
The lamb sold in Middle Eastern marketplaces is well-known. A whole meat section is seen in many shops. Lamb and beef are popular choices when it comes to meat. Our family, as well as nearly every other Arab I know, gets a leg of lamb from here. You may easily ask to have the meat sliced and deboned so you can store it at home in freezer bags. Halal meat merely denotes the method in
Dairy Among our favorite dairy products are:
– Labneh is a strained yogurt that is thick. Labneh should always be eaten with a sprinkling of olive oil. Either put the labneh on the bread to make a sandwich or dip the pita bread into the cheese.
Laban is yogurt, but the texture and flavor of Middle Eastern yogurt are remarkable. In many Arab homes, laban is a standard component and is frequently served with a variety of entrée meals. Arabic yogurt has a tendency to be slightly tarter than Greek yogurt, albeit not all of them have the same thick consistency.
–Cheese. There are many different kinds of cheese; among our favorites are string cheese, Chicago cheese, and fried Nabulsi squares.
Sweets: Halaweh is a sesame-based fudge that is typically prepared with pistachios and tahini. Some variations contain chocolates or honey. Pita bread is typically served with it.
The Arabs often refer to dried apricot powder as “Aberdeen,” and it can be consumed straight up or cooked to produce a drink. As children, we used to refer to these as “Arabic fruit roll-ups.”
Pastes, oils, and spices
Maggi is a brand of chicken bouillon cubes, yet many Arab homes swear by it. Although you may purchase it in bulk in specialty stores, it is also available in some traditional grocery stores. I haven’t yet discovered a bouillon cube with as much taste as Maggi! Use Maggi in countless different dishes, including soups and rice!
Sweets: Tahini and pistachios are usually used to make the sesame-based fudge known as hallowed. There are some variants that contain honey or chocolate. Pita bread, it is frequently served.
– To prepare a drink, dried apricot paste, commonly known to Arabs as Aberdeen, can be cooked. When we were youngsters, we used to call these “Arabic fruit roll-ups.”
Oils, Pastes, And Spices
– Maggi is a brand of chicken bouillon cubes that is revered in Arab families. Some conventional grocery stores carry it as well, but specialist shops are where you can get it in larger quantities. A bouillon cube with as much flavor as Maggi has yet to be discovered! Utilize Maggi in a variety of meals, including soups and rice.
Pita is undoubtedly a mainstay in Middle Eastern marketplaces. But keep in mind that there are several variations. The little pocket pita is excellent for sandwiches, dips, and regular meals. To make homemade pita chips, use the large, thin pita.
These ideas are but a sample of the numerous products and components that can be found in Middle Eastern stores! Never be afraid to ask inquiries if you have any doubts regarding a product in the shop. Not sure about the location of the nearby market? To find a Middle Eastern market nearby, just type the phrase into Google
Many thanks to Layali, Nora, and Holyland Imports for making this post possible! To watch the video of us shopping at the market, click here.