The Conqueror

Exotic and Delicious Markets Scattered Across Los Angeles County

Laila Jibrin

America is filled with different wonders of exotic and delicious ethnic foods. There are numerous ethnic food stores throughout the Los Angeles county, and the mission was to set out and find the best and closest ethnic supermarkets to Hacienda Heights.

One of the closest and with the most variety of the best exotic Asian food in Hacienda Heights is the 99 Ranch Market. “I usually go there for the cool live fish that are all swimming in the tanks,” explains a frequent shopper at the 99 Ranch Market, Sophomore Kristy Lee. The entire back of the store is dedicated to strange and exotic live sea creatures, ranging from crabs to strange breeds of clams.

Fruit in the 99 Ranch Market, in Hacienda Heights, are not the typical apples and bananas you usually get at the neighborhood grocery stores nearby. Depending on the season, the fruit, sweet and delicious, like the starfruit, dragon fruit, and the strangest of them all Dorian. Dorian fruit is known as the “smelliest fruit in the world” and the fruit is awarded its name for a good reason. Once cut open, the smell is similar to bananas that have been rotting for years. Some find enjoyment in the taste once getting past the smell, but most have the same conclusion, it tastes like it smells.

“The junk food is the best,” Kristy explains, “every time I go there, I have to get the junk food.” The chip’s flavors are new and diverse, like the most famous, shrimp chips, which taste very similar to the real taste of garlic shrimp and are extremely addicting. The candy also includes adventurous flavors like lychee, Mango prune candy, and ginger candy that have tastes that some absolutely love and others find disgusting.

Down the snack aisle, there is dried bean curd with choices of different flavors, dried seaweed and seafood mixed together to form the title of “Seaweed Fish Snack” and many unexplainable snacks that are a “just try it and see” situation, like the I Mei Pudding Custard Puff.

Fresh Choice, located in Garden Grove, an international supermarket, is home to the best Middle Eastern food in all of Southern California. Middle Easterners all over the Los Angeles county drive to get the ingredients they need to make their dishes that remind themselves of their cultures. Fresh Choice has freshly made pita bread and desserts such as kunafa, is a warm desert with mozzarella stacked with strings of dough and then topped with a sweet butter and oil.

There is a large variety of meats and cheese, with aisles of tea and coffee. “The manakeesh is so good. It’s one of my favorite Arabic dishes. It’s almost an Arab version of a pizza, which is pita bread sprinkled with cheese or the Arabic spice Za’atar and eaten with a side of vegetables, like cucumbers, tomatoes and olives,” Lebanese Sophomore Mary Rached explains.”

After shopping there is a relaxing place to sit and eat some of the offered cooking booths, for example, the freshly made shawarma topped with plain yogurt, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and a sesame seed sauce that goes by the Arabic name “Tahini”, that makes a wonderful lunch and a worthy experience to enjoy the culture of the middle east.

However, the best thing to do when feeling the “let’s try something extremely weird” comes around, just go out and find anything that is different from the daily routine, and luckily, Southern California has countless options.

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