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State And Market
State Street is delicious, from downtown to Murray.
By Ted Scheffler
Let's not mince words: Much of the Salt Lake Valley's storied State Street has little or no eye appeal. The Champs-Élysées it is not. But, if you love to cook and eat, it's a treasure trove of specialty food markets, from closet-size ones to those you could park a Boeing 747 inside of. It would take most of these pages to list all of them, but here are a few—from north to south—of the marvelous markets on State that help keep my pantry full and exotic.
Ocean City Seafood Market (872 S. State, 801-953-1916, FreshSeafoodMarketinSaltLakeUT.com) This aptly named market boasts a huge seafood selection, including fresh-caught Alaskan salmon and sushi-grade tuna, clams, oysters, several types of shrimp, crab legs and scallops. If it swims, they probably have it. But this is much more than just a seafood market. It also stocks Asian spices, sauces, groceries and such, including fresh veggies (like seasonal mushrooms), Chinese noodles and even Vegemite from Australia.
Mahider Ethiopian Restaurant & Market (1465 S. State, Ste. 7, 801-975-1111, MahiderEthiopian.com) When dining here, you'll be treated to delicious East African foods including sambusa—a very popular Somali appetizer of lightly crusted pastry dough stuffed with meats, veggies, potatoes or lentils—along with, injera, the spongy type of bread used as an edible tool to scoop foods. It anchors virtually every Ethiopian meal. If you'd care to take a crack at making sambusa and injera at home, Mahider includes a small market selling African ingredients such as teff flour for doing just that. With help from the International Rescue Committee and Salt Lake County via the Spice Kitchen Incubator, Burmese-born (now Myanmar) Haymar Janumonya and her husband were able to open Sonjhae (named after their young daughter). Here, you'll find an array of items—ranging from smokes and Bud Light to hard-to-find foods and ingredients from Myanmar and Thailand—not to mention Asian cookware and clothing. Be sure to try the amazing Thai tea drinks.
Qaderi Sweetz 'n' Spicez (1785 S. State, 801-484-0265, QaderiSweetzandSpicez.com) As someone who loves to cook Indian food, I'd be lost without Qaderi. This sprawling market stocks a gazillion different Pakistani and Indian food items, along with all-natural Ayurvedic powders, pills, oils and ointments, and a big selection of halal meats. If you'd rather leave the cooking to them, they also offer fresh curries, biryani, kabobs, puri, chaat and more, to eat-in or take-out.
Powerful African Market (2561 S. State, 801-972-2266, PowerfulAfricanMarket.com) The folks here are super friendly and helpful, so don't be intimidated if you're not too familiar with African foodstuffs. To be accurate, this market stocks much more than just items from Africa, although there are plenty. Anyone looking for ingredients for Caribbean dishes, for example, would be smart to shop here. I know my life wouldn't be complete without Matouk's Calypso Sauce. You'll find everything from clothing and school supplies to hair extensions.
La Pequeñita (2740 S. State, 801-484-2980, LaPequenitaMarket.com) After living in Brazil for some time, I'm grateful to have this local store—an international market that specializes in products from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. I tend to veer to the imported Brazilian items, such as farofa, guaraná, dende oil and suco de caju, but I can never pass up the Peruvian peppers or Inka Kolas, either. I have found that the yerba mate sets they sell make for an excellent and unexpected gift item.
Tejeda's Market (2963 S. State, 801-485-0667) Fabian Tejeda's Mexican market offers fresh produce and spices for making moles, birria de res, sopas and just about any other south-of-the-border dish you'd like to try. But the main reason to visit is the meat selection. Low prices and friendly service make this place hard to beat, whether you're in the market for thin-sliced beef or an entire rib-eye roast.
Chinatown Supermarket (3390 S. State, Ste. 11, 801-906-8788, ChinatownSupermarkets.com) When you visit, be sure you've left a big hole in your schedule. I find myself so dazzled by the array of items here that hours can pass before I'm finished shopping. You'll find an amazing selection of fresh and frozen seafood, pork belly, mooncakes, an enormous noodle selection (fresh and dried), cooked whole ducks and virtually every spice or ingredient you could ever need to make your own Asian meal. There are more types of clams sold at Chinatown Supermarket than I even knew existed, and it's one of the few local places I know where you can get live crabs, lobsters and head-on shrimp.
Mediterranean Market & Deli (3942 S. State, 801-266-2011, MedMarketSLC.com) You can eat-in at this impressive food emporium, but it's also a great place to load up on items for a late summer outing. Delicious deli selections like feta cheese, fresh imported olives, cured meats, made-to-order salads and some of the best paninis around will make you the star of your next outdoor concert or picnic. Be sure to grab some waffle cookies on your way out.
Sprouts Farmers Market (6284 S. State, Murray, 801-266-3566, Sprouts.com) It's easy to eat well with the wholesome assortment of foods available at Sprouts. Natural grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken and farm-fresh pork are just a few of the quality items available from the Old Tyme Butcher Shop, and fresh fish is delivered six days a week, featuring wild-caught and farm-raised specialties. Personally, my favorite part of the store is the bulk food section, which includes a dizzying assortment, including more than a dozen types of rice, and more nuts than you'd find at a Trump rally.