One of our favorite shopping trips is searching for specific exotic ingredients at a World Food Market. These Markets are rustic style grocery stores that sell authentic ingredients for different ethnicities, and each aisle is usually devoted to a specific cuisine, like Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, etc. You can also find the cooking utensils, serving dishes, decorations, incense, and so on, that go along with the food you're making.
The closest Markets we've found are just outside of Northampton, in Hadley. We're in need of a few ingredients for Indian Samosas.
We first discovered our favorite World Market when shopping for food and party favors for my daughter's 14th birthday party. We ALWAYS have a theme, and that year's theme was Chinese New Year, since her birthday and the first day of Chinese New Year were very close to each other. We found all of the ingredients we'd need to make the food, authentic decorations to scatter throughout the house, and unusal items for the take-out-container goody bags. All the girls got their own set of chopsticks (which they ended up using to make buns in their hair!), and they all loved the jelly sticks and adorable mini jello cups. They weren't so crazy about the little cakes and candies - a little too unusual for their tastes.
Our trip today was for: ghee, cumin seed, coriander seed, cardamom, wonton wrappers, tamarind pulp, and dates. We found everything we needed except the cardamom - it was available, but only in large and expensive quantities - much more than I'll need, so I might find a small quantity in a regular grocery store.
Then, after a quick lunch at Fitzwilly's and a stop at Faces, where you can stand around in aisles laughing to yourself without feeling funny because everyone else is doing it too, we headed home.