You might think that in a small town like Tupelo it would be hard to find international grocery items. Well, think again, because although Tupelo may be small, several international markets have made it possible to cook all types of food at home.
U & Me Asian Grocery
630 North Gloster Street
Tupelo, MS 38804 This part grocery, part restaurant serves up delicious Asian dishes and provides groceries that can’t otherwise be found in Tupelo. They also serve a variety of bubble teas. U & Me has been open for about three-and-a-half years, and manager Missy Miniyog says business is good for both the restaurant and the grocery. The restaurant’s most popular dishes include pho, the chicken noodle bowl and khao soi. Customers at U & Me are all kinds of people, Miniyog said, usually looking for particular ingredients they need to cook at home. “If they’re making an Asian dish, they’ll come in looking,” she said. Shoppers can find ingredients like Pho spice packets, tofu, kimchi, rice flour and mung beans at U & Me. They also carry produce typically found in Asian dishes like ginger, eggplant, bok choy, napa cabbage and mung bean sprouts, among other items. Along with ingredients for cooking, U & Me sells Asian snacks, sweets and sodas as well. Most of the groceries come from Thailand, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Speedy Gonzales Tienda
361 B South Gloster Street
Tupelo, MS 38801
Speedy Gonzales is a family-owned tienda that sells food and products from Mexico. It’s located on South Gloster Street, in the Denton Place shopping center across from Walmart Neighborhood Market. Speedy Gonzales has been open for 12 years and in its current location for four of them. It was previously located on North Gloster Street. According to Elkin David Gonzalez, son of the store’s owner, Speedy Gonzales serves many people in Tupelo’s Hispanic community. Many of their customers are regulars who shop at the store when they need specific items they can’t find at other local grocery stores. “Usually it’s tortillas and spices — basically things that remind them of home,” he said. The store’s shelves are stocked with an array of sauces, spices and dried peppers to use for seasoning Mexican dishes. They also sell corn flour and tortillas along with a variety of other types of tortillas. Sweets, snacks and frozen treats, like paletas — popsicles — can be purchased at the store as well.
Al Waleed International Market
418 South Gloster Street
Tupelo, MS 38801
Al Waleed International Market was born out of necessity when owner Waleed Saleh grew tired of traveling to Memphis to stock up on Middle Eastern grocery items. The store has now been open one year. Items sold at Al Waleed come from countries across the Middle East including Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. “If I needed any of these things, I had to drive two hours,” he said. “I decided to open one here just to make it easier on everyone.” So far, business has been good. Customers looking for large quantities of Middle Eastern spices like cardamom pods, anise seeds and sumac can find them at Al Waleed. The market also sells shawarma spice mixes, falafel mix and za’atar spice mix, often used to flavor meats and other Middle Eastern dishes. In addition to an impressive selection of spices, you’ll find things like halloumi cheese, all types of lentils, Turkish coffee and an array of candies and snacks.
More to check out: These international markets can be found around Northeast Mississippi.