India Bazaar

bazaar composite

For all your jackfruit chip needs.

By Jessica Pasko

This week my continuing tour of the area's ethnic markets has brought me to India Bazaar in Colonie. Think curries and chutneys galore. Think at least a dozen of varieties of naan bread. Think fun snacks. Think "gripe water."

Seriously, the selection here is pretty impressive.

Located in a nondescript mini-plaza on Central Ave near Fuller Road, India Bazaar is clean, bright and jam-packed. (There's also a different Indian/Pakistani spice store on the corner of Fuller and Central.)

Produce
The small produce section is full of unusual vegetables like bitter melons, Indian spinach, taro root and other veggies I couldn't tell you the name of, along with more familiar items such as mangoes, potatoes, okra and onions. It's all surprisingly fresh looking too, unlike some Indian and Asian markets I've been in where the fruits and veggies have clearly seen better days.

Frozen
The refrigerator and freezer cases boast a wide array of frozen veggies and microwaveable Indian dishes, along with items like samosas, paneer (Indian cheese) and a big selection of interesting-looking dessert items. There are literally shelves and shelves of curries, chutneys and sauces. Whenever I'm here, I find myself lingering for a ridiculously time in this section, debating which of at least 10 different mango chutneys I'll like best. I might just have to start trying a new one each week. I've also never seen so many different types of curry powder mixes in one place.

Bulk
You can find some pretty good deals here on big bags of basmati rice and spices, along with large packages of various flours -- wheat, chick pea, lentil, etc -- and bag upon bag of lentils. Who knew there were so many varieties of lentils?

Snacks!
If you're adventurous, you should definitely check out the snack section. Forget your basic chips -- think chile-spiced banana chips, dried spiced chick peas, dried jackfruit chips and funny looking biscuits with a grinning child on the package. Even Indian donuts! I was almost overwhelmed just by the sheer variety.

Wind relief
India Bazaar also has a small selection of health and body products, including cosmetics, various ointments and numerous remedies for a wide array of ailments. I was especially amused by something called "The only Gripe Water," which touts itself as "the safe and gentle way of relieving baby's wind." OK, I admit, sometimes my sense of humor veers into sophomoric territory. But really, could you look at that with a straight face?

Near the checkout counter, you can also pick up Bollywood movies and CDs of Indian and Pakistani music. The accompanying posters around the store are kind of fun too.

The bottom line
Ok, yes, you can find curry powder and okra in most regular grocery stores. You could probably even find a decent selection of chutneys. But I'm pretty sure you're not going to find "gripe water" anywhere else but India Bazaar. And where else are you going to find a good Bollywood DVD?

Find It

India Bazaar
1321 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12206

Hours:
Every day from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

(518) 459-3108

Comments

Mmmm. love this place. I buy the big bag of frozen samosas (makes you look fancy at parties) and buy some of their mango juice, blend with vanilla yogurt and voila! you get some delicious mango lassi,.

this place is great! the staff is really nice and very helpful. thanks for highlighting them.

I love this place for the massive selection.

But they could use some help with their storefront design. I drove by this establishment for months thinking it was closed and all pasted up. But that is just how it looks.

It's open. Go in and check out the bounty.
When I was there, they even gave me a free pen.
No joke. It has the store's name, phone number, lots of American flags, the Statue of Liberty, and everything.

It's my favorite pen. By far.

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