They also offer Chinese restaurant supplies, a large variety of cooking utensils, pottery and interesting gift items.
The Asian Supermarket, 226 Seventh Ave., South Charleston, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. For additional information, call 304-720-2338 or 917-318-8308.
Barakah International Groceries
Barakah International Groceries is a new shop in Kanawha City that focuses on Middle Eastern foods. Ahmed Barkiya is the owner. He is originally from Sudan.
"I want my place to be for people from many places. If you need something special, I will try to get it for you," he said.
The small shop is filled with many interesting foods, including pita bread, hummus, falafel, fava beans, yogurt, cheeses, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.
"The most popular item is the kosher/halal meat. I get all my meat from Detroit, Mich. I would like to buy from West Virginians, and I have made some contacts, because I would like to purchase from farmers here," Barkiya said.
He pointed out that Thursday mornings are the best for the freshest produce and meat, as his shipments usually arrive on Wednesday evening.
Barakah International Groceries, 306 41st St., is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Barkiya said that he and his wife are the only employees and occasionally their hours must be flexible. He said if his shop is closed during the posted hours, call him at 304-951-9510 and he will be as helpful as possible.
Middle East Market
Middle East Market is primarily a convenience store, but one aisle of the shop is dedicated to foods and ingredients of Middle Eastern cooking. Amjad Ghou is the owner of the shop. He is from Palestinian Jerusalem.
"We've been here for 12 years. We have a good selection and good prices," Ghou said. He said the business was already named the Middle East Market when he purchased it, and he felt it was important to continue the tradition of offering foods from that region.
"The virgin olive oil is a big seller. I use many of the products I offer in my own home," Ghou said. He said that downtown workers find it convenient to stop there and add something interesting to supplement their usual grocery shopping with some unusual specialty food items. Lovers of homemade hummus are happy to find they can purchase a nearly 3-pound jar of tahini (ground hulled sesame seeds) for only $8.99.
Middle East Market, 180 Laidley St., is open 6:30 a.m. through 9:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For additional information, call 304-342-0999.
Taste of India
Taste of India is a small, neat shop nestled between a lock shop and a restaurant at 112 McFarland St. It is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Thakor and Kiran Patel. They are from India.
In addition to offering a wide selection of Indian snack foods and groceries for downtown workers, they have ready-made microwavable meals and a large selection of teas, spices, sauces and pickles. Cookbooks, incense, CDs, DVDs and gift items also are available.
Kiran was quick to point out the benefit of eating Indian foods, many of which include mustard seed as an ingredient. "Mustard seed is good for your health," she said. Mustard seeds are known as an excellent source of selenium, and studies have shown it to have anti-inflammatory effects helpful for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and high blood pressure.
"Every three weeks we get fresh food and items from New York City. Mondays are the best day to come to see the new merchandise," Kiran said.
The shop also rents Bollywood movies to patrons for $1 for next-day return or $2 for second-day return. The wide availability of movies on the Internet and through services such as Netflix has slowed their DVD rental business, she said, but it still adds something unique to their business.
Taste of India, 112 McFarland St., is open 12 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For additional information, call 304-342-2642 or email mih...@yahoo.com.
Other area international grocery sources
Many chain grocery stores have small international grocery sections. Some of them carry Passover products. During Passover -- which begins April 15 -- the basic kosher guidelines apply, and there are additional restrictions to what can be eaten. For instance, leavened and fermented grain products are prohibited.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at judy.hamil...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.