Photo: Cafe Coyote 

You needn’t go south of the border for auténtico handmade flour tortillas or hop a plane to Turkey for Turkish delight––there’s no passport required for jaunts to our six favorite international food markets in San Diego. Source specialties from around the world and make local shopping akin to globe-hopping. We even tell you how to start slowly expanding your kid’s palate and introducing him to different ethnic cuisines by putting a cosmopolitan spin on his favorite hot dog meal. Read on for the details.

Photo by Jin Li via Flickr

Zion Market
This market, located in a former K-Mart space in Kearny Mesa, carries a variety of Asian staples, but is known primarily for its Korean food. You’ll find everything from marinated beef and chicken ready for the grill to classic Korean side dishes called banchan. The produce department carries Asian pears, fresh young coconuts and daikon—all at great prices. And don’t forget to stop by Paris Baguette, located inside the market, for decadent pastries.

Reinvent the hot dog: Add chopped pickled daikon for a bright yellow, crunchy and sweet element.

Zion Market
7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92111
858-268-3300
Online: zionmarket.com

 

Photo by Lisa W. via Yelp

Pancho Villa Farmer’s Market
With hot prepared food, a full-service bakery and its own tortilleria, this Latin market in North Park has it all. Shoppers love the well-priced produce and ingredients for traditional mole or posole. They are also known for their standout tres leches cakes. Prepared foods include tamales, carnitas and chicharrones. And a quesadilla made with a handmade tortilla es muy bueno.

Reinvent the hot dog: Swap out the buns and ketchup for fresh tortillas and salsa.

Pancho Villa Farmer’s Market
3245 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-584-4530
Online: panchovillamarket.com

Photo: Sammy B. via Yelp

Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe
We may speak English like the British (sort of), but we don’t eat like them. Check out this quaint spot in Mission Hills (where they also serve a traditional English tea) for all things U.K. They carry a variety of “crisps” (potato chips) and “biscuits” (cookies) as well as the beloved but controversial Marmite. If you’ve never had malt vinegar on your French fries, make sure to pick up a bottle here.

Reinvent the hot dog: Top your kid’s dog with Branston Pickle, a sweet relish made of diced root vegetables.

Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe
3719 India St.
San Diego, Ca 92103
619-683-2748
Online: ukcornershoppe.com

 

Photo by CTO Zurich via Flickr

Harvest International Market
This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern market has a variety of prepared foods as well as pantry staples. You can pick up everything from dried lentils and za’atar (a blended Middle Eastern spice) to kefir, a popular milk drink. You can also pick up freshly made moussaka, flatbread and gyros to-go.

Reinvent the hot dog: Add tzatziki, the traditional Greek yogurt dip as a dog topper.

Harvest International Market
4220 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92117
858-810-8228

733 East Main St.
El Cajon, Ca 92020
619-442-0413
Online: harvestinternationalmarket.com

 

Photo by boo lee via Flickr

La Sorpresa Barata
Ever heard of a Hispanic/Asian market? Well there’s one in Escondido! Although it tends more toward Asian foods, there is a taco shop located inside the store. You can pick up all the ingredients for a warm bowl of pho including lemongrass, galangal and rice noodles. Stop by the robust produce section for jackfruit, dragonfruit and chermoya.

Reinvent the hot dog: Add shredded seaweed, sesame seeds and eel sauce for more adventurous eaters.

La Sorpresa Barata
850 East Valley Pkwy.
Escondido, Ca 92025
760-735-9650
Online: asianmarketescondido.com

 

Photo: Annurca via Flickr

Balboa International Market
This shop, located in Clairemont, carries hard-to-find staples like rose water and hazelnut oil. You’ll also find the traditional Middle Eastern cheese labne baladi and the sweet, tropical fruit rambutan. If you’re hungry for dessert, they also have an extensive array of Turkish delight. (Now your kids can see what all the fuss was about over this candy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

Reinvent your hot dog: Skip the hot dogs altogether and get a sangak flatbread pizza to-go.

Balboa International Market
5905 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92111
858-277-3600
Online: balboamarket.com

Let us know your favorite spot for international food finds in the comments!

— Michelle Franklin