Across the Aisle: International Grocery Stores and Recipes


Venus Hatch, Staff Writer

Food is a powerful language that brings people together. Families pile up their plates with the comfort of grandma’s cooking for all different occasions, because food is definitely a love language. Depending on what it is that grandma makes, tradition gets carried through family meals that are usually culturally influenced. 

There are international grocery stores dotted around our communities that are packed with foods we might not usually eat. The ingredients for these recipes can be found virtually anywhere, however some ingredients call for a trip to a specialty grocery store. Here three recipes with ingredients commonly found in the pantry with a unique twist.

Where do you find uncommon ingredients? Any local Mexican grocery store is great for finding what might not be found at Walmart. We went to El Mexicano Market Orem, which is perfect for finding tamale ingredients. The First Oriental Market Orem is the place to find tteokboki and other Korean ingredients. 

The first recipe to explore is, Gungjung Tteokboki (royal court rice cake).

This is a traditional version of the Korean dish tteokboki, a soft and chewy rice cake that is often flavored with a spicy red pepper sauce. However, gungjung tteokboki, is made with a more mild sweet and salty sauce. This recipe originates from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and is similar to the dish japchae, glass sweet potato starch noodles in this savory-sweet sauce. This recipe is very versatile making the meat and vegetables replaceable with different ingredients!

In the version we made, we only added: carrot, zucchini and onion

Recipe link:



Tamales might be a more familiar food for some, so it felt like a given to include this on the list. Tamal is a dish made with a corn dough wrapped in a corn husk and steamed, they often have a filling in them like beef. This is definitely a fun dish to make and very hands on for family or friends to make together.

When we made this recipe to try, we simplified it a lot to make it more time efficient and omitted the dried pepper salsa, seasoning worked just as well, and they turned out great and were much easier to make if it’s your first time making tamales!


Recipient link:


Last but not least, Vegetable and Chickpea Curry


This recipe is gluten free, dairy free and vegan. The soup is flavorful and warm, a filling meal for a cold day. The spices really make this dish, it’s not too strong or too mild, this soup is Goldie locks approved. The coconut milk is easily replaced by any other plant or dairy milk you prefer and is easy to throw together on the stove or the instant pot.

Recipe link:


These recipes are fun to try and younger-sibling approved, great for spicing up dinner or lunch. The best part is stepping out of the box and exploring different foods and places.