Tucked in back of the Prices Corner Shopping Center, step into Apna Bazaar and you can easily imagine that you’ve stepped into a supermarket in Mumbai, India. Bright, clean, and airy, this good-sized market (open since 2003) is filled with a huge assortment of fresh produce, and massive varieties of packaged foods and products imported directly from India.
If you are looking for familiar ingredients (even familiar ‘Indian’ ingredients), stop in at the Acme just down the road; Apna Bazaar primarily stocks items and brands which are totally unknown to the typical American consumer. Four long aisles await the curious cook, full of spice bags and prepackaged Indian spice mixtures, a produce section full of exotic looking specimens, and bags and sacks (up to 20 lbs.) of various brands of imported basmati rice. In addition, the aisles are full of dried fruits, assorted types of nuts, lentils (“Dal”), Ghee, sauces and chutneys, imported Indian cheese and yogurt, a multitude of salty Indian snacks, frozen foods (including the many varieties Indian breads, all ready to heat-and-serve), flours — you truly have to see it to experience it. To be honest, despite the English on most labels, I still had no idea what to do with 90% of the items in the store (chickpea flour, anyone?) — but the challenge of cooking an interesting and exotic meal certainly whet my appetite.
With two Delaware locations (a second, slightly larger shop recently opened in Newark) Apna Bazaar primarily seeks to serve Delaware’s Indian immigrant community, but its helpful staff is always pleased to assist any non-Indian shoppers who are perplexed with all the exotic looking offerings. And the prices are very reasonable, too – for example, this past week they had fresh ginger root for $.99/lb., and fresh cilantro for $.69/lb.; considerably less than the prices found at a typical Delaware supermarket. And no typical Delaware supermarket can even remotely begin to compete with Apna Bazaar in the spice aisle, either through variety or by price.
Discouraged by those long list of exotic ingredients needed to cook an Indian meal? Have no fear; go to Apna Bazaar and do what many Indian cooks do – buy inexpensive packages of prepackaged spice mixtures, add some chicken, rice, etc., and before you know it, your biriyani, tandoori, or curry will be ready to serve.
And with football season upon us, need a quick snack to feed the hungry crowd? Buy a package of pre-baked Naan, toss the breads onto a hot grill for 2 or 3 minutes to warm them up, then serve alongside a 16 oz. bottle of Tamarind-Date sauce ($3.49) for dipping (note: this is the same brown ‘tamarind’ sauce placed on the table at many local Indian restaurants). The sweet/sour sauce goes perfectly with a cold beer, and contains far less fat and calories than nachos. And who knows? Maybe it will convince your All-American meat-and-potatoes loving pals to take a chance and further explore this exciting and intriguing cuisine!!
3311 Old Capitol Trail
Wilmington, DE 19808
267 Elkton Road
Newark, DE 19711