We've been buying Indian grocery and vegetables at Jackson Heights since the 20th century.
For the most part, grocery items and vegetables are fresh at the Jackson Heights stores like Patel Brothers or Apna Bazar compared to stores in the distant suburbs.
That's because the large crowds moving through the Jackson Heights stores ensure there's mostly fresh stuff.
If you live in Queens or Manhattan, the Jackson Heights stores are your best choice for anything Indian.
37-27 74th St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
72-20 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Ask not what you Indian grocery items can get at Subzi Mandi, Patel Brothers and Apna Bazaar stores in Jackson Heights.
Ask instead what you can't.
From Rice to Complan to Wheat Flour to Toor Dal, Moong Dal, Chickpeas, Mustard, Cumin seeds, Red Chilli, Bhel Puri to Indian vegetables to Bitter Gourds (Karela) to heat-and-eat snacks to Agarbatti (incense sticks) to Neem toothpaste, virtually everything that you used back home in India is available here.
Over the last few years, the heat-and-eat section has expanded at the Jackson Heights Indian grocery stores. The coolers now display a variety of Vegetarian and meat items for the time-stressed customer.
Idli, Vada, Masala Dosa, Palak Paneer, Garlic Naan, Channa Masala, Baingan Barta and a variety of other Indian curries are available. Of course, there's the Indian cold drinks like Thums Up, Limca, Frooti etc.
Ready to use spice powders like MTR Sambar Powder, Rasam Powder, Channa Masala mix, Pav Bhaji Masala, Pulihora mix, Pulao and Bise Bella Bath mix are all available.
We make it a point to stock up on provisions for a month or two on Bhel Puri mix, Rice, Wheat, Idli Rava, Maggi Noodles, Britannia Good Day biscuits etc.
Ice Cream and Beverages
I am not a big fan of Ben & Jerry, Haagen-Dazs or Turkey Hill ice creams.
Give me the Indian Kulfi Ice Cream and I'm happy.
Several varieties of Kulfi ice cream are available in Jackson Heights including Malai Kulfi, Kesar Pista and Mango Kulfi.
If you're not a Starbucks addict like me, go for the Indian coffee, Darjeeling tea and Masala Chai at these stores.
Indian stores in Jackson Heights stock both instant and filter coffee powder.
Some Indian vegetables and cooking must-haves are just not available at American grocery stores like Shoprite, Whole Foods or Pathmark.
Karela at Patel Brothers
Vegetables like Karela (bitter gourd), Okra, Eggplant, Spinach, small Green Chillies, betel leaves, Patra or seasoning agents like Curry Leaves, fresh Mint leaves, Turmeric Root and Cilantro are found exclusively at Indian stores.
Usually these vegetables are fresh and available in plenty at Jackson Heights stores and are mostly fresh.