Here are some of the international food shops I’ve found in Bellingham, Washington. Of course, you can find more common ingredients at Haggen, The Community Food Co-op and other grocery stores around town, but in the shops listed below, you’ll find more variety of cheaper, fresher and more authentic products. If you have a suggestion for a shop in Bellingham that should be on this list or a local grocery store that has a particularly good selection of international foods, please add it in the comments section below!
This was accurate when posted in February 2011 but the quality, reputation and addresses of these shops may have changed since then. I’m no longer in Bellingham, so I can’t check to see if these places still exist. If you’ve got any feedback or updates, please share them in the comments below.
Best general Asian food shop:
Asia Oriental Market
2408 Meridian Street – Fountain District
Stuffed to the gills with many different Asian foods and some Indian foods in the back, including more papadum selection than other Indian shops in Bellingham. I love the smells in the shop, but it can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
Best Mediterranean food shop:
505 32nd St # 109 – behind REI
Run by Lebanese sisters, this shop has a wide selection of fresh, authentic products. They have a wide variety of spices, chees and whatever kind of olive oil you could ever want. They have a small café and offer some baked goods, too. The owners are friendly and helpful, giving you ideas for how to use different ingredients if you’re unsure.
Best cheese shop:
1200 Old Fairhaven Pkwy # 101 – on the corner of the turnoff toward I-5 from Fairhaven
A great selection of cheese in a classy shop.
Best Mexican food shop:
Abarrotes La Gloria
5974 Guide Meridian- near Meridian Senior High School
If you want authentic Mexican, this is the place to go. They have a few baked goods and lots of spices along the front wall. Walking in, you leave Bellingham behind. When I’ve been there, the ladies working have spoken only Spanish to me.
Best Indian food shop:
4564 Guide Meridian – just a half mile past Costco
A good-sized convenience store with a fairly large selection of Indian products in the back. You can also buy some things in bulk.
Best general international food shop:
Cost Cutter on Meridian Street
4131 Meridian Street – near Park Bowl
A huge selection of Indian, Asian, Russian and even some Dutch products (aisle 2). Of course, the requisite Hispanic aisle (aisle 1).
Highland Trading International Inc/Oriental Grocery & Bakery
2517 Meridian Street – Fountain District
Lots of well-organized foods, not very intimidating for a first-timer in an Asian shop
Cost Cutter at Sunset Square
1275 East Sunset Drive – Sunset Square
A lot of Hispanic products (aisle 6) and Asian foods (aisle 2). Also check out the cheese fridge to find Hispanic cheese like cojito.
The Market at Fairhaven
3125 Old Fairhaven Pkwy – at the exit from I-5 to Fairhaven
A great selection of international foods. They have Italian (with dozens of choices of olives and even grape leaves), Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai (if you want coconut milk, they have 8 types to choose from) and Indian products.
4151 Meridian Street # 108 – near Cost Cutter and Park Bowl
A small convenience store with Indian foods where you can get some things in bulk.
3908 Meridian Street #112 – near Ross
Mainly Russian food, but some Eastern European and Turkish products, too. They also have a good deli meat selection and lots of Russian sweets.
4151 Meridian Street #117 – near Costco and Park Bowl
Mainly Russian foods.
Magra Convenience Store
2426 Yew Street – near Hoagland’s Pharmacy and Little Caeser’s
Just one aisle of Indian food mixed with the usual American convenience store food, but when I asked the manager for something she didn’t have, she offered to buy it for me in Canada just a few days later.
West Coast Grocer
4010 Meridian Street – near Les Schwab
Huge selection of Asian food including some Indian food. They have many kinds of fish and vegetables. Just check the expiration date on the refrigerated food.