The Star Wars of piggly wigglies

Illustration By Mark Stivers

John Williams’ Cantina theme was looping in my head while strolling the aisles of Red Star International Groceries (7245 East Parkway off Florin Road), easily one of the oddest and most intriguing grocers I’ve had the pleasure to patronize. We’re talking grade-A window-shopping, folks, with products from origins as far flung as New Zealand, Spain, China, Jamaica and Peru; one wonders what scurvy-ridden pirate is purveying goods for Red Star. Cow skin anybody? Pickled mackerel? Bacalao? New Zealand lamb or mussels? Whole octopus? I think I saw the dude’s arm Obi-Wan sliced off in the frozen-foods section. I settled on a cache of Jamaican soda (Reggae Country Style, nonetheless), some dry jerk seasoning, Chinese green tea and ginger candies. And that, my friends, is about as everyday ho-hum of a score as you’re likely to come away with.