One of the most culturally diverse cities in America, the 2015 US Census reported more than 100 languages are spoken in Sacramento County. Small portions of a historic Chinatown and Japantown remain within the central city. In South Sacramento, Little Saigon is a profusion of Vietnamese markets and restaurants. Large Asian, Russian, and Middle Eastern communities settled throughout Sacramento bringing cultural riches beyond your wildest dreams. This fusion of cultures translates into a wide array of delicious specialty markets and eateries. You can experience the world in Sacramento one bite at a time. Made-from-scratch goods are fresh and easy on the pocket.
Babylon City Market
1745 Watt Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 486-777
Six years young, this Mediterranean specialty market, bakery and café features halal meats, dairy, produce, spices, and traditional Iraqi breads prepared right before your eyes. You’ll swoon over fresh-baked samoon stuffed with chicken shawarma, pickled onions, garlic and tomatoes. Kabobs, falafel, chicken tikka, and hummus are all available to eat-in or takeout. Ask about the anise cookies.
KP International Market
10971 Olson Drive, Rancho Cordova; (916) 853-8000
A map and tour guide might help you navigate this 80,000-square foot gastronomic trip around the world. A food court, bakery, and a dizzying assortment of culinary delights from America and Asia to Jamaica and Russia. Come hungry! Temptations include steaming seafood ramen, plump piroshki, and Korean barbecue. Bring your passport! The Disneyland of ethnic markets, this is an all day affair. Afternoons and into the wee hours, a patio bar is all part of the voyage.
La Esperanza Bakery & Market
5028 Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento; (916) 455-0234
Expect a line, especially on holidays. Family owned and operated, generations of locals queue-up for fresh tamales, carnitas, salsa, bolliolos, très leches cake, churros and colorful conchas. Fresh tortillas are still warm and a screaming $1.30 for two dozen. The ceviche—shrimp, tomato, cilantro, lemon and jalapeño —is to die for. There’s a full takeout menu at the deli market and all the fixings for tamales. Brightly colored piñatas adorn the ceilings of this Sacramento favorite, open 365 days a year!
New World Bakery
1713 - 10th Street, Sacramento; (916) 446-9472
Good fortunes are found here. For 26 years, the sweet aroma of Sacramento’s best fortune cookies has greeted customers. Prepared fresh Monday-Friday, three dozen cookies are only $2 a bag from this closet-sized factory. Watch as the cookies—one-by-one—move along, drop, fortune follows, and cookie magically folded. Now that’s some good fortune. Trivia: Fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco!
4990 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento; (916) 424-2398
If you’re craving Asian squid salad, Wagyu beef or seasoned octopus this is the place. For nearly 60 years, Oto’s has specialized in Japanese and Asian foods. Sushi Master Ray Yamamoto whips out Futomaki and Inari Combos and Dice-K Rolls. Available to eat in or takeaway, sushi and bento boxes vanish quickly. The tchotchke selection of cups, bowls, cookware and utensils is fabulous. The market features local produce.
Neroe’s Bakery – Traditional Russian and European bakery.
6451 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Carmichael.
Mahoroba Japanese Bakery –Japanese pastries and bread. Heaven on earth.
4900 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento.
Mei Mei Noodle Factory - Made fresh daily udon, won ton, chow mein, stir fry. The best!
1715- 10th Street, Sacramento.
Morantz Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen – Hand-crafted European sausages.
5001 Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento
Sampino’s Towne Foods – Old-world Italian deli and market.
1607 F Street, Sacramento