Best International Grocery
At first blush, United Noodles, the biggest Asian grocery store in the Midwest, seems chaotic. But after a few minutes of exploring what is actually a meticulously organized store, gradually any unfamiliarity — the sounds, the smells, the signage — becomes a part of the whole stimulating sensory experience. The aisles are full of items like frozen whole octopus with tentacles akimbo, Filipino cracker nuts, curly tendrils of pea shoots, beef tendon for making rich hot pot meals, a bounty of bulbous baby bok choy, and shelf after shelf stocked with all the essential dry and canned goods you need to whip up a decent veggie curry at a moment's notice. The collection of jarred sauces from Japan, China, and Laos, to the Pacific Islands, and even a few south Indian tinned products are guaranteed to bring back the spark of creativity in your home cooking. And if you start to get overwhelmed, stop by the deli inside the market (our winner for Best Kept Secret) and enjoy a cup of tea or restorative bowl of spicy pork belly ramen.