7 Great Los Angeles Ethnic Markets
Along with Petrillo's, Claro's Italian Market remains a vestige of the neighborhood's Italian American history. Lack of fresh fruit and produce aside, its selection in Italian mainstays is impressive. It carries a variety of pasta shapes -- such as tubetti, gramigna and penne candela -- that make Barilla look boring. For the noncook, there's a deli with hot food and cold cuts, along with marinara sauce, cheeses and ready-to-eat flatbread near the counter up front. Claro's in San Gabriel is just one among six locations that include Upland and Tustin. 1003 E. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel; (626) 288-2026.
1. 99 Ranch Market:
Christine Chiao pickled goods
99 Ranch Market was revelatory for West San Gabriel Valley's Chinese community when it opened in 1991. Previous versions of the Chinese supermarket were a stop on a laundry list of errands. Taiwanese snacks and beverages like Apple Sidra became as accessible as Sprite. 99 Ranch Market grew into a cultural destination for tourists and locals alike -- even with Focus Plaza in the constant throes of an identity crisis. Rumors of alleged ties to the family of former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian seemed to have little effect on business, especially not in the face of surrounding growth. When it comes to reputation, the supermarket knows nothing of 99 problems. In Southern California alone, there are 15 locations. 140 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel; (626) 307-8899.
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140 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, CA