Check Please! Delicious Ethnic Foods at Tangiers International Market
In this week's installation of our Check Please! series, Don and I stopped by Tangiers International Market. This marketplace, located on Farmington Avenue in Hartford's West End, boasts that it provides "Specialty Foods for All People", and just by stepping foot into the bright and beautiful market, it is certainly hard to deny that claim.
Tangiers is a family owned establishment, founded in 1995. According to Winston Latif, one of Tangiers' owners, his parents founded the marketplace, once located at the intersection of Prospect and Farmington avenues, just over the West Hartford town line. According to Latif, Tangiers started off as a small deli with few items. "Tahini, a few packages of cracked wheat, bags of rice, but mainly it was just a deli, that served falafel", Latif recalls. Customers began enjoying the food so much that Tangiers began to expand their menu, adding meals over rice pilaf as well as small plates of Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Stuffed Grape Leaves and the like.
But their menu wasn't the only thing Tangiers was expanding. People wanted more ethnic products as well. Latif's family would have to travel to obtain the products that customers desired. "We would travel to New York, New Jersey, and even Canada sometimes", to increase their inventory of ethnic products. The move from their previous location has also aided Tangiers in adding to their inventory, allowing them more space for a wider variety of products.
The items Tangiers sells are generally native to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions of the world. According to Latif, their most popular grocery item is Tahini paste which is used in a variety of foods from hummus to the tasty, tangy tahini sauce. "We sell out of that just about every week", he says. Being the only ethnic store in the Greater Hartford Area, it is not hard to see why this item flies off the shelves here at Tangiers. As for the food, their most popular item is their famous falafel sandwich, which Latif says people come from all over New England just to try.
Today, I ordered their famous falafel sandwich and I must say, as someone who spent four years in New York City, of all the falafel I've tried from many street carts and restaurants, Tangiers' falafel sandwich is certainly a favorite of mine. There's much more to explore at this marketplace and I'm excited to come back and try everything else they have to offer. If you have the time, I recommend stopping by for one of their healthy, affordable meals!