You won’t get some, actually most of this stuff in Walmart. You might not even get it at Costco, Home Depot or Sam’s Club. That’s because the products that I am writing about are quintessentially Indian. They are things that we’ve grown so dependent on. And catering to the Indian demographic in the United States are Indian stores. Some of them are small corner shops, while some have grown into large chains, like Patel Brothers that has shops in several cities across the United States.
I’ve visited a few Indian stores in Jacksonville, Florida and here are some of the most useful things I found inside. (This is a WIP post which I intend to update over time.)
- We don’t like eating bread loaves everyday. We like our traditional flatbread but hey, it’s not easy to make. And there’s nothing like ready-to-eat flatbreads – chapatis. It’s healthy, Indian and quick.
- America has so many different kinds of Greek yogurt tubs and cups, it’s amazing. But a desi likes desi dahi. And this Indian yogurt is popular because of its distinct taste.
3. Lychee. Yes, those irresistible sub-tropical fruits are specially sourced at stores like Apna Bazaar.
4. Punjabi samosas are high on nostalgia value. Besides, fresh ones placed strategically at the cashier’s counter become even more tempting.
5. Indian vegetables – from roots to leaves, they’re the ingredients you need to make Indian bhaaji and without them, the kitchen is incomplete. Tough to find all Indian vegetables at Walmart. Tindli, paapdi zindabad.
6. Deep fried goodness. From chakli and shankarpali to gaathia, khakra and other ‘namkeen’ (savoury) snacks, stores like Patel Brothers stock them all.
7. Indian religious and festive accessories. We need them to celebrate and follow customs!
8. And finally, the one object I myself had a tough time finding. Buckets. For bucket baths, of course. I found one at Home Depot that is used for painting and then saw these at Patel Brothers.