F**k The “Ethnic Food Aisle.” An Ode To The Latino Grocery Store.
Chances are, you have shopped at both large, chain grocery stores and smaller, Latino grocery stores, where the foods you grew up with and often feel nostalgic for aren’t just found in one tiny “ethnic food” aisle smashed between bottles of sriracha sauce and British water crackers.
The Latino stores are there for us when the bigger chains aren’t, when you crave guayaba con queso crema or an icy-cold Inca kola, when you want ready-made tamales and can’t bear the thought of replacing Abuelita with Swiss Miss.
I’m talkin’ about your Sedano’s stores, your Fiesta supermarkets, your Vallartas. Here, then, is our ode to the phenomenon that is ~The Latino Supermarket:~
For one, they know you ain’t about to waste your time on just any old coffee.
Give me Bustelo or give me death.*
You can always find your favorite snacks without a problem.
Sometimes you just want to dive into a giant bag of Takis and watch the world melt away.
…And that goes for sodas, too.
Materva, Jupiña, Malta India, Iron Beer, Inca Kola, Jarritos…
I mean, where else would you find an entire WALL of Goya-sity?
True story, tho: I once drank expired guanabana juice in third grade and now can’t even smell it without barfing. <3
And their prepared food? Rivals abuela’s.
(Just don’t tell her I said that.)
And the bakery section? Heaven.
Forget cookies and basic cakes. Give us pan dulce, empanadas, or pastelitos de guayaba fresh from the oven.
And they know what kind of music you want to listen to as you shop.
The rhythm is gonna get you.
They understand many of us are actually trilingual: we know Spanish, English, and Spanglish.
I see no breaklies.
They always seem to be more in touch with their local community.
Charities, giveaways, block parties, oh my!
And it’s just a fact that they look cooler than other grocery stores.
Did you ever think you’d utter the words, “that’s a really pretty supermarket”? But look at that image up there, man. It’s so nice!
And they have produce you just can’t find in other places, like sugarcane and plátanos.
Try asking for “sapote” at most other grocery stores and see what happens.
And where else could you find velitas for saints you never even knew existed?
So thank you, to every Latino grocery store, corner market, and bodega. You make life that much sweeter.
Do you have a favorite local grocery place? Can you pick me up about 17 cans of leche condensada and a giant bag of Pica Fresa next time you’re there? Thnx.
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