Top 5 Ethnic Grocery Stores in Mississauga
Ah, the Ethnic market! While the smell of fresh fish and marinating meats and cheeses may be off-putting for some, it's a gold mine for foodies like me. These markets have a huge range in regards to cleanliness, quality of product and authenticity. As such, I have put together a list of my favorite spots to hit up when I want either a taste of home or a taste of the exotic.
So, in no particular order, check out my list of Mississauga's top five ethnic markets.
There isn't much more I can say about this place. If you're a native Quebecor, Arab or just a lover of incredible food, you should eat here often. They make their own pita in house. The meat selection is outstanding and includes pre-marinated Arab-style chicken, beef and lamb. The feta cheese selection would make Nefertiti proud with the abundance of different styles of this salty delight. Also, the place is spotless, which is a major plus when I am doing my shopping. In other words, check this place out ASAP!
If you are a connoisseur of salted cured meats like I am, I would suggest multiple visits to Starsky -- Mississauga’s premier Polish market. There are two locations in Mississauga and are both on Dundas. When you first walk in, you'll be transported to a market in Krakow with all of the smoky pork products you can sink your carnivorous teeth into. Smoked Sausages hang in the deli with pride as the attendant serves up kilos of double smoked Krakowska pork sausages and old fashioned smoked turkey sausage to the masses. I have been to Poland (shout out to the homie Piotr representing to the fullest in the Slupsk!), and this is as good as it gets in Canada when it comes to Polish supermarkets. The produce is awesome, the hot table is to die for, the desserts are delicious and the store has a selection of both savory and sweet perogies that will make you go full on mental with starch overload. Do yourself a favour and toss those nasty perogies from No Frills in the bin and grab a couple bags of the real deal, you won't regret it.
I once met a man that escaped North Korea because he claimed all there was to eat in his village was tree bark and grass. That is not the case at PAT supermarket. I have recently become more accustomed to Korean food. It's heavy on meat and pickled items and it's damn good. PAT has any Korean food you might want, including rice, kimchi, meat, treats, veggies and frozen items. I have always found this place to be cleaner and better organized than its Chinese brothers listed above. If you are really into kimchi (like I am), they have a ton of different brands to try from.
T&T has undergone a strategic overhaul in the interior of the store. It's brighter, the isles are wider and it's cleaner. That's because it's owned by Loblaws (oh, you didn't know?). It has a huge selection of produce, outstanding fish, cheap sushi and a hot table that is incredible. T&T has a more “authentic” Chinese feel with its hot table.
Charlie's Meat and Caribbean cuisine
From my review of 5/10, you already know I love this place. The fact of the matter is that Charlie has been holding it down for a while now and was one of the first West Indian market places in Mississauga. I was always told by my in-laws that you don’t just “buy snapper” -- you have to make sure it's the elusive “grey Snapper”. To this day, I still don’t know what makes it so special but I certainly know that Charlie has it, along with goat, beef, chicken and any other meat your Caribbean heart desires. Another bonus? If you work up a hunger from all that shopping, you can go next door to Charlie's West Indian Cuisine for some home cooking! Being an honorary Guyanese, I have to recommend the Guyanese chow Mein and fried rice. Oh, and if you're real lucky you may even get some pepper pot around Christmas time -- just mention my name to the lady at the bar.
Shout out to:
Aurora Meat and Cheese - Located at Dixie and Burnhamthorpe, this is a great spot for all your Italian meat and cheese needs. I used to hit this spot up a lot when my wife worked in the area. I would get some fresh buns, Italian cold cuts and some provolone for a sandwich that would make your Nona cry! Also, I have been told that if you are in need of a whole pig, goat or lamb for a BBQ, the fine people at Aurora will be able to help you out with all your carnivorous cravings. Just give them a few days' notice and you will be pleased with the quality and freshness of that large piece of protein you are now devouring.
So there you have it, these are the places I hit up when I need to impress myself with my ability to prepare sea cucumber and show off in front of the in-laws with my world famous curry goat. I can feed the fam with a weekday pad Thai after work or get my fish game on every Friday, frying up red snapper with my boys. These places are all invaluable parts of the ethnic fabric that makes Mississauga great! Just keep an open mind as the sights, sounds and aromas will greatly differ (to various degrees) from the big box stores.
Oh, and an honorable mention to “Happy Birthday Cakes” for all your Filipino baking needs.
Can’t wait for that ube cake BABY!