Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eastern Bazar Supermarket in Laurel

You don't need to leave Howard County for a good Indian grocery store, but the Eastern Bazar Supermarket in Laurel is worth a drive because it offers all the standards plus speciality produce.

Like the other local Indian markets, Eastern Bazar is a resource for both cooking and convenience food.  You can buy spices, rices, lentils, chickpea flour, and dozens of other items that you'll find in an Indian cookbook.  Or you can buy frozen naan, jarred pickles, chutneys, grill sauces, and boxes of ready-made curries for a packed lunch or a quick dinner.

The real difference is the produce arranged in coolers in the far left corner when you enter the store.  There are neatly-arranged boxes with items like long squash, curry leaves, spiny melon. methe, and daiku.  Even great local markets like Lily's Mexican or Caezar's International stock little or no produce.  So it's a treat to see that you could buy your vegetables -- including unique ones -- on a single visit.  Any basic vegetables that you can't find at Eastern Bazar are probably available at the Panam Supermarket in the shopping center that backs against Eastern.

The owner/clerk at Eastern was really helpful -- which I have found common at the Indian markets.  I stumbled on pani puri -- a snack that I ate on one of my first nights in India.  He explained to me how to cook the vegetables and where to find the jarred sauce that he stocks.  I'm not sophisticated enough at Indian shopping to spot the differences between the local stores.  I assume there is some regional variation -- Indian vs. Pakistani, northern vs. southern, or even just Coke vs. Pepsi if they stock different brands.

If you are looking for Indian groceries inside Howard County, check out Apna Bazar in Laurel, Food Cravings in Columbia or Desi Bazaar in Columbia.  In early summer 2009, it looked like Food Cravings might also be expanding to Elkridge.

Eastern Bazar
15101 Baltimore Ave # 100
Laurel, MD 20707
(301) 490-4666

NEAR: The market is just east of U.S. 1 near the intersection with Rte 198.  It actually faces onto Rte 198, although you can only reach it from the north-bound lanes of U.S.1.  From Howard County,  you need to take U.S. 1 south past the Five Guys, then U-turn back onto north-bound U.S. 1 and turn into the last parking lot before the Rte 198 intersection.  Turn left in the shopping center and drive past the Aunt Jenny's Jamaican restaurant to reach Eastern Bazar.

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