Vibrant Neighborhoods of Chicago

Original Image by Brent Payne via Flickr
Original Image by Brent Payne via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Along with other surrounding area Chicago dietetic internships, my internship participated in an “Ethnic Tour” of Chicago.   I love exploring and being exposed to different cultures and as the first time that I really got to see a larger chunk of Chicago, I was grateful that the tour stopped in some of the ethnic communities that we were able to visit.

With different cultures and practices, trying to educate someone with a different ethnic background than what the RD may might be familiar with can be a barrier to providing the most help.  Foods that people have grown up with can shape favorite foods and dictate the cooking methods often used.  Browsing through the grocery stores, bakeries and through the streets of the ethnic neighborhoods gave us a better idea of where a lot of ethnic groups are coming from.

I want to share where we went for anyone wanting some guidance in the Chicago area.  The tour was broken up into 4 parts categorized by the area of Chicago.

Stop #1: Corner of Kedzie and Lawrence–Mexican, Korean, Middle Eastern and East European IMG_4205

  • Middle Eastern: Jafeer Sweets–4825 Kedzie; Sahar International Super Market–4851 N. Kedzie; Nazareth Sweets–4610 N. Kedzie; Al Khyan Market: 4738 N. Kedzie
  • Mexican: Super Mercado Lindo Michoacan–3142 W. Lawrence
  • East European: La Baguette Bakery–4134 N. Kedzie; Andies Fruits and Vegetables–4725 N. Kedzie

Stop #2: Devon Avenue–Indian, Russian and Kosher

  • Indian: Kamdar Plaz–2646 W. Devon; Fresh Farms Porduce 2626 W. Devon; Patel’s Indian Groceries 2610 W. Devon; Patel’s Cafe, Sweets and Savories–2600 W. Devon

Stop #3: Clark and Foster–Swedish, Persian and Middle Eastern

  • Swedish: Swedish Bakery–5348 N. Clark; Erickson’s Swedish Deli–5250 N. Clark; Ann Sathers 5207 N. Clark
  • Middle Eastern: Middle Eastern Bakery and Grocery–1512 W. Foster
  • Persian: Pars Persian Store–5260 N. Clark

Stop #4: African and Asian  IMG_4210

  • W. African–Old World Grocery–5129 N. Broadway
  • Vietnamese–Bale Bakery and Take Out–5014 N. Broadway; Dai Nam Grocery–4925 N. Broadway; Mien Hoa Grocery–1108-1110 W. Argyle; Viet Hoa Grocery–1051 W. Argyle
  • Chinese–Chiu Quon Bakery–1127 W. Argyle

I’m looking forward to heading back to these neighborhoods to pick up ingredients. I feel more confident being able to peruse the aisles as I have a sense of familiarity of what the food products are used for.  All the neighborhoods were gracious enough to allow us into their communities and were eager to help with any questions.

Where ever you’re living I’m sure there’s an ethnic community’s cuisine and culture you haven’t experienced.  It doesn’t have to be large area, but experiencing a different culture can open your eyes to other’s customs and show you how similar we all really are.  I challenge you to check out neighborhoods in your background.  You might find a new cuisine you really love.

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