I’ve lived in New York for almost six years and have never been to Kalustyan’s until today – it was the highlight of my day. For anyone who is unfamiliar, Kalustyan’s is a pretty well known specialty foods/spice store in Manhattan that’s been around since the 1940s. It has aisles and aisles of every spice that you never even could fathom existing. I think I counted about 15 different types of paprika – just paprika.
I suppose for the average New Yorker who has about ten inches of kitchen space, never cooks, and lives off of delivery and dining out, this wouldn’t be surprising. But for someone like me, whose happiest moments are spent traveling, eating, or cooking, this is a bit of a shock. It’s always been on my list of places to visit, but I just never got around to it. And then today when I Google Map it, I find out it’s just a few blocks away from my office. I’m there.
It was a fun experience perusing the aisles and picking up the few Turkish and Middle Eastern spices I had on my list, but it was definitely a very pricey place. Pickled mangoes and limes I could find at Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights were marked up almost triple, and most Chinese sauces were at least double what I’d find them for at Hong Kong Supermarket. My mom’s beloved chewy ginger candy was marked at $10/pound when I could easily buy it off of Canal Street for about $2. It’s a novelty for me since I haven’t really explore Middle Eastern spices like pul biber and and urfa pepper much before, but maybe I will save my next Middle Eastern spice run for a hopefully cheaper trip to Bay Ridge.