C2e Blog15

Take Your Tastebuds on a Trip Around the World

The top 4 specialty grocery stores close to C2E

Whether you’re a microwave gourmet or seasoned home chef, sometimes you crave new flavors and ingredients to spice up weeknight meals. Luckily for C2E residents, a treasure trove of international grocery emporiums are nearby. Each brims with novel packaged goods, exotic fruits and vegetables, rare cuts of meat and specialty seafood, unique herbs and spices, and prepared foods that virtually whisk you away to delicious and distant lands. Here’s where to shop when it’s time to take your tastebuds on a trip around the world.

H Mart

If you already know your soba from your udon, chances are you’ll love shopping at Irvine’s H Mart, an Asian American grocery emporium specializing in Asian food, health, beauty and homeware products. H Mart is also known for its expansive food hall, which serves up mouthwatering grab-n-go premade products and casual eat-in fare such as sushi, a daily hot lunch buffet, and bakery items. 

Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center
2600 Alton Pkwy, Irvine

Wholesome Choice 

An international specialty market which offers a spectacular array of ethnic foods as well as conventional groceries, Wholesome Choice is a food bazaar like no other. Specialty products from such far-flung places as Europe, the Middle East, Russia, South Africa, India, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and Japan all make an appearance. And when there’s no time to cook at home, drop by Wholesome Choice’s food court for prepared cuisine, including Halal and Kosher kebobs, shwarmas, curries, and freshly-made hearth-baked flatbreads. 

University Park Center
18040 Culver Dr, Irvine

99 Ranch Market

Billed as the largest Asian supermarket chain in the U.S., 99 Ranch Market is an Orange County original. First opened in 1984 in Westminster’s Little Saigon, this gateway to Asia stocks delicacies from across the region with an emphasis on Chinese foodstuffs. Expect signage and announcements to be in Mandarin and English, and don’t forget to drop by the food court for a killer daily selection of dim sum, bao buns, stir-fries, and Taiwanese-style baked goods. 

Culver Plaza 
15333 Culver Dr, Suite 800, Irvine

Mitsuwa Marketplace

Located a stone’s throw from South Coast Plaza, Mitsuwa is a Japanese supermarket chain renowned for its incredible selection of fresh, sushi-grade fish and seafood at affordable prices. If hunger turns to hanger while shopping, grab takeaway from the small but mighty foodcourt serving Japanese comfort favorites such as chicken katsu, tempura, miso soup, chilled soba salads and, of course, sushi. No trip is complete without a visit to the technicolor mochi station and a swirl of matcha soft serve.

665 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa