Photography by Jessica Turner

Myanmar Store – Asia Groceries 

6887 Shady Brook Lane

Soaps, creams, cleansing masks — options abound at Myanmar Store, a handy source for “all things Burmese.” Shoppers will find a lot to choose from in this tiny store.  Papaya and rice milk with honey infused-soaps, skin-protecting neem and turmeric, aloe and tamarind are found near bergamota shampoo and 100% pure henna.

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Try snacks like crumbled soft flour cakes, jelly sticks and preserved red dates.

Find pounded shrimp paste, pickled splinter caparid (a pickled vegetable condiment) fish sauces, fish crackers and bags of fried beans and pickled tea leaf. New rice cookers and woks are shelved near a colorful array of sparkling, beaded flip-flops.

The store clearly has a reputation among those in the know: While we were there, a Dallas first-timer visiting from San Francisco quickly popped in and out of the store merely for a particular bag of Thai jasmine rice.

Desi Grocery

6875 Shady Brook Lane

Desi Grocery, a neighborhood international grocery staple after just two years, vends foods primarily from India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, says owner Shaukat Salleh. Top sellers are dry fish, noodles, veggies, fresh produce and chicken, he says. 

Salleh is originally from Myanmar but lived in Malaysia before coming to the United States. He says his family owned-and -operated store is known for its halal specialties such as ready-made kebabs and four kinds of samosas: beef, chicken, veggie and potato. 

We keep all the kosher things customers look for,” he says, adding his products come from a local supplier and are FDA approved.

His aunt, Fatimah Rahaman, helps customers with shopping, pointing out her personal favorites when asked, including the wide selection of international coffees, clarified butter from India and Indonesia, assorted dried beans from Malaysia such as lablab, Rangooni Val, Desi Val, kala chana, red chori and snackable fish crackers. 

Want rice for supper? What kind? Thai glutinous? Berry or special sweet rice? That and more are on the shelves, including an assortment of noodles from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar.

It’s fun to scout the freezer section and do some supper surfing: grated coconut, shrimp, baby cuttlefish, hilsa fish and climbing perch, jiringa meat, goat, chicken and beef. 

Maru Grocery

8353 Park Lane 

Maru Grocery hides in a retail triangle at Park Lane and Ridgecrest in a tiny footprint, housing treasures galore. This Ethiopian market has a cornucopia of interesting items, not the least of which are alluring spices. 

Mitmita is a powdered mix of chili powder, ginger powder, African bird’s eye chili peppers, rosemary, cardamom and other seasonings. It amps up burgers to a new level, but for the untrained user, beware. Like the saying goes — “a little dab’ll do ya” — it’s hot. Still, try it.

Berbere should also be on the shopping list. It has some zing with a mix of chiles, garlic, allspice and cinnamon.

The market vends lamb tibs, teff flour — “The Ancient Grain of Ethiopia” — and dabo kolo, which is roasted bread crumbs that taste similar to pretzels.