EVERYONE KNOWS about Uwajimaya, Fubonn, H Mart, and even Roman Russian Market, and they're great for sourcing exotic ingredients you need for that one Andy Ricker recipe you're dying to try at home. But who wants to make the schlep out to the mega-marts when there's a perfectly good international store right in your own neighborhood? And what better way to support your immigrant neighbors—and learn about their cultures—than by patronizing their businesses? Here are a few to get you started.

Dashen International Groceries
3022 NE Glisan

Don't let the Ethiopian name confuse you—Dashen International Groceries is the place to go for hard-to-find South American items like ají amarillo (a spicy yellow chile, available in dried and salsa form, plus in a Tetra Pak queso), as well as a staggering array of yerba mate and pretty drinking cups and straws. A handful of Caribbean goods like dried pigeon peas, Jamaican curry powders, and bottled jerk sauce are also featured. Three freezer cases contain your pick of Goya brand frozen fruit pulps for all your cocktail needs (cherimoya, tamarind, and cocona—the "Amazon tomato" were notable selections during a recent visit), frozen chilies, plus some ready-made empanadas.

  • Fiji Emporium
  • Ashley Vaughn

Fiji Emporium
7814 N Interstate

There's an emphasis on Indian products at Fiji Emporium (more than a third of Fiji's population is Indo-Fijian), so it's definitely a good place to hit if you prefer buying garam masala and curries in whole-spice form for that fresh-ground taste, or if you're in the market for frozen goat meat. But don't overlook the fun selection of Fijian junk foods, like two of my favorite MSG-bombs: burger-flavored UFOs ("unusually flavored objects") and chicken- and cheese-flavored Twisties (the South Pacific take on a Cheeto).

An Dong Market
5441 SE Powell

Can't deal with the crowds at Fubonn or Hong Phat? Friendly neighborhood Vietnamese-Chinese market An Dong has many of the same items, just in smaller quantities. If you just need oxtails and fresh culantro for your pho, or a block of local tofu for tonight's last-minute stir-fry, An Dong has you covered. They have a broad produce and freezer section, too, and sometimes they even have really nice fresh seafood or warm bánh tét (Vietnamese pork-and-egg-filled sticky rice steamed in a banana leaf wrapper). Venture to the back to find a commendable dried noodle selection.

  • Overseas Taste
  • Ashley Vaughn

Overseas Taste
4431 SE 64th

This little Russian store doesn't have the breadth of say, Good Neighbor or Roman Russian Market, but they still seem to have a little of everything you need. I stop in for a loop of the mildly sweet-smoky krestyanskaya sausage, or to pick up a few smoked (and inexpensive!) chicken thighs to take my tortilla soup to the next level. Next to the cash register, there's a forbidding-looking bucket with a sheet of plastic lazily draped over it. Peek inside, and help yourself to a sour dill pickle or two, fermented right there in said bucket. Russian candy is terrible, though, so even though it looks colorful and cute, avoid it.

  • Paldo Market
  • Ashley Vaughn

Paldo Market
6112 SE Foster

Just a few blocks down the street from Overseas Taste is an old-school favorite of mine, the little Korean store Paldo. (I think the first time I bought cigarettes in high school, it was there. #Memories.) It's not huge like H Mart or my other favorite, Boo Han, but like Overseas Taste, Paldo has a little of everything. Wanna make your own kimchi? They have all the fresh ingredients right there. Can't be arsed? They have a whole refrigerator case filled with it. Head to the back for fresh bulgogi and short ribs, or hit the mini-deli case for freshly made japchae (sweet potato noodles with shiitake mushrooms and julienned carrot), spicy marinated tofu, or thinly sliced, sweet-savory oden (fish cake) with carrots and peppers. Be sure to grab some kimbap (Korean sushi rolls) at the check-out counter.

Mama Pauline's African Market
4606 NE MLK

This cozy little market has everything you need for accomplishing authentic African cooking at home. There's whole salt cod (and numerous other dried fish and shellfish) in the freezer section, an impressive variety of imported West and Central African legumes and pulses, whole dried herbs and spices, and dozens of flours and meals. There's cassava flour for making fufu, frozen goat meat, and a range of greens, and REAL Nigerian Maggi cubes (different from the Maggi sauce made in China) for all your soup, stew, and gravy needs.