Global marketplace

SN&R scouts out Sacramento's best international and ethnic groceries

Sacramento boasts some great grocery stores, including numerous locally owned ones, such as Taylor’s Market and the Nugget Markets, Raley’s and Bel Air chains—all-purpose markets that to cover most of the basics. But what if you’re hankering for fresh tamarind, hand-made tortillas or sushi rice?

Not a problem, either. The following are some of the region’s best places—listed in no particular order—to shop for ethnic and international groceries.

Viand of the rising sun

Oto’s Marketplace

This specialty market sells Japanese groceries, produce, household items, fresh sushi and Japanese takeout. It even has a special section called “A Taste of Daiso,” featuring bargain goods from the popular Japanese dollar store, Daiso (the nearest Daiso stores are in the Bay Area). Pro tip: Try the Harajuku chocolate mochi made by Nippon-ya. 4990 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 424-2398,

Favor this curry

Kaveri Indian Grocery

Located next door to Kaveri Madras Cuisine, Kaveri Indian Grocery is a good place to shop for ingredients to recreate your favorite chutney, masala or curry. Or if you don’t want to dive into the complex world of Indian spices and sauces, just grab a microwavable dinner and some naan. 1148 Fulton Avenue, Suite D; (916) 489-1558;

Bet the ranch on it

99 Ranch Market

Part of a supermarket chain that started in Orange County, 99 Ranch Market dominates the Southgate Plaza in South Sacramento. It’s basically a giant warehouse full of Chinese and pan-Asian groceries with a hot deli, bakery and guest tenants selling tchotchkes such as tea, pottery and cellphone accessories. It even has a surprisingly large selection of tropical ice cream and sorbet flavors. 4220 Florin Road, (916) 429-8899,

Halal good

Babylon City Market

Eat inexpensive falafel sandwiches or beef shawarma from the hot-food section while browsing through aisles of Middle Eastern groceries (spices, canned goods, sauces, etc.). There’s a separate room for meat and another room with a bakery which specializes in samoon, an Iraqi flatbread. 1745 Watt Avenue, (916) 486-7777, http://mediterranean-halal-food-

Holding Corti

Corti Brothers

Although it’s known for plenty of other things (superb wine selection, fresh sandwiches, organic meat), Corti Brothers is an Itallian grocery store at heart. Its imported selection of pasta and olive oils goes unrivaled locally, and many of the store’s products are handpicked from Italy. 5810 Folsom Boulevard, (916) 736-3814,

Cosmopolitan cache

KP International Market

Formerly known as Koreana Plaza, the newly remodeled and expanded KP International Market is now even better. Bonus: The store stocks Mexican, Russian and Korean groceries, and there are staff members who speak Spanish, Russian and Korean—and English—to help you find what you need. 10971 Olson Drive in Rancho Cordova, (916) 853-8000,

Armenian emporium

Naroe’s Bakery

An Armenian-American-owned business, Naroe’s Bakery specializes in breads, such as lavash (Middle Eastern flatbread), challah (Jewish egg bread), baguettes, sourdough, cakes and cookies. It also stocks a huge deli counter with Eastern European meats and cheeses, and grocery items focused on Slavic and Eastern European countries. 6451 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael, (916) 485-1886.