Cheese, Spices & Oils: Specialty Markets in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | February 24, 2014

The Metro Detroit area is home to many upscale and gourmet grocery stores, but what about smaller ones with food items specific to a certain region? If you’ve ever followed a recipe and realized you had no idea where to find ghost chili powder or black truffle sea salt, you’ll probably be able to track those items down at a specialty grocer.

Whether you’re expanding your culinary palate via a regional cuisine or just want to spice up your grocery shopping experience, keep the following options in mind:

Little Asia Mart, 5110 Anthony Wayne Dr., Detroit, specializes in Southeast Asian ingredients and prepared foods. If you’re planning on making an Indian dish, this is a great place to pick up ingredients you may not find on the shelves of a typical grocery store. You’ll find an extensive selection of spices, as well as sweets, snacks, tea and much more.

Polish Market, 2938 E. Maple Rd., Troy, is known as “the best European store in town,” with a huge selection of traditional products and ingredients. Prepared Pierogi, sausages, crepes, and sauerkraut are readily available.

They also carry European pastries, cheese, cold cuts and more. Polish Market’s European bread selection includes Dark Rye, Buttermilk and Seven Grain, all of which are imported and baked fresh daily.

Super Greenland, with locations in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Detroit, sells fresh produce and grocery items, with a great selection of Middle Eastern food items including cheeses, nuts, grains, oils and more. Whether you’re cooking from scratch or looking for prepared food items, Super Greenland has both: you’ll find 100 percent pure EVOO from Lebanon, kumquats, and frozen halal items like beef patties and chicken strips.

Assortment of powder spices

Honeybee Market, 2443 Bagley Ave., Detroit, is a family business that has sold Central American ingredients for more than 50 years. Special items that you might come across include fresh cactus, tamarindo, Mexican candies and mole sauce. They’ve also got a hugely expansive selection of spices, so if you’re looking to whip up a Mexican dish, this is a great place to shop.

E&L Supermercado, 6000 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, sells authentic Latin ingredients, as well as grocery items and prepared foods. The meat department includes a 16-foot marinade counter with over 20 varieties of sauces available. Their produce selection is always huge no matter the season, and includes items like avocados, plantains, cactus leaves and fresh Hispanic herbs.

The supermarket has a full bakery, and all of the products (like fruit and cheese empanadas) are made from scratch daily. They also sell freezer bundles of various meat combo packs that range in price from $83.95 to $144.95.

While gourmet grocery stores are great, specialty grocers are here to save the day when you’re looking for a super specific ingredient, or just want to try something new and authentic.