Must-Try Products from Portland's International Markets

Stock your pantry shelves with spices, schmears, and sweets from around the globe.

Edited by Kelly Clarke August 24, 2015 Published in the September 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Five Spice Powder ($1.95 at Hong Phát)

Rub meats or spike baked goods with this potent mix of star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and Sichuan pepper. 

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Chile de Arbol ($2.99/bag at Tienda el Campesino)

A key member of Mexican salsa’s Suicide Squad, this potent little pepper adds the perfect bit of smoky heat.

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Lebanese-Style Turnip Pickles ($4.99 at World Foods Barbur)

Give your shawarma some authentic crunch with tart Middle Eastern pickles, stained electric pink with beets. 

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Guava Paste ($5.99 at Kaah Market at Portland Mercado)

You’ve been forking over too much money for those teeny quince cubes on your cheese plate. Nab a whole block of sweet jellied fruit instead.   


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Rambutan ($2.95/lb at Lily Market)

Tear open this spiky cousin of the lychee fruit for a tropical blast of creamy, floral sweetness every summer.

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S&B Togarashi and Sansho ($2.19 each at Uwajimaya)

Add bright smolder to your eats with togorashi, the addictive Japanese chile pepper blend, or swap out your usual grind of black peppercorn for sansho’s fruity tingle. 

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Poke ($14.99/lb at World Foods Everett)

There is no better lunch than spicy, sesame-slicked cubes of fresh ahi tuna. World Foods’ deli makes six varieties of the Hawaiian standby fresh daily. Eat all of them.

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Kasugai Gummies ($3.29 at Fubonn)

Shove these intensely juicy-fruity Asian gummies—muscat to yuzu—directly into your face. Repeat. Sayonara, Haribo. 

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Hot Ajvar ($3.79 at Overseas Taste)

One schmear of this creamy, spicy, vinegary Eastern European roasted red bell pepper and eggplant spread, and you may ditch hummus entirely. 

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Big Squid ($3.39 at Fubonn)

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a two-foot-long sheet of sweet, spicy Thai cuttlefish jerky. Taste buds, you shall scream for mercy.

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