The Indian grocery store

Update: see this page for a list of India related shops/restaurants etc in Mexico

We stepped up to the armed men guarding the door. The street was deserted, not a single person walking. The doors were huge, almost the entire front of the ground floor. I hesitated, checked the number again, but there was no doubt. This was it. I spoke to one of the guards…is this the place where the…and then blank, the spanish words for grocery shop disappeared from my mind.

Luckily as soon as I said the word for Shop, one of them helpfully filled the blanks, the Indian shop? I said yes. He said, follow me. We walked through the narrow doors into what appeared to be a parking lot. A few cars were parked there, but the vast cavern inside was clearly underutilized. Off to one side, a door. We followed the guard through this door and then the lift. Second floor to the right, he said., and quietly disappeared. We got into the lift and at the second floor, we turned right. A maze of corridors and doors. One door had a framed portrait of an Indian god, but I don’t even remember which one. That was the only sign that behind this door was the only Indian grocery shop in Mexico.

When I first arrived in Mexico, I knew that it was going to be problematic to find indian grocery items. Mexico is not exactly known for its large Indian population. In the past I hadn’t really cared, sine I was quite happy to go with the flow, scrounging around on foreign foods. I didn’t even learn to cook till I reached Australia, and till I had an epiphany. Nobody was going to make me food that I wanted to eat, and thus I started cooking. Really simple stuff, but somehow it’s only the food of your childhood that manages to fill your stomach. Sydney did have a large Indian population, and frequent visits to Parramatta was enough to keep things stocked. So when I left for Mexico, I got a whole bunch of essential spices shipped, and stocked up with visits from my parents and anyone who went anywhere basically. We managed to find ingredients in odd places: ghee from this ultra hippy food place, mustards seeds from the general market (they feed it to birds), tea from an upmarket grocery shop in Mexico city. The first time I went to an Indian artifacts shop in Mexico City I asked the shop keeper where to get foodstuff, and he gave me a number of a wholesale dealer, but I never followed it up, it wasn’t even a real shop.

But then a friend of D’s, who’d been to Bangladesh, and subsequently enamoured of Indian food, passed her an email from another friend with a list of supplies stocked by this grocery shop in Mexico City. I looked at the list and realized that most of my troubles were over. But the shop was hard to find, and it meant a trip of 5 hrs to Mexico City and then some to find the place. We went one weekend and as luck would have it, the shop was closed for vacations. And last weekend, on a whim, we went there again, and finally it was open.

The owner of the shop, who’s been here for close to 20 yrs now, is mostly a clothes dealer, because the entire warehouse was dominated by stacks and stacks of clothes. The grocery section was a small room, with a few shelves packed with lentils and spices and all the familiar accoutrements of indian cooking. We walked in , and immediately started piling stuff on a table to take home, while the assistant looked on bemused at the flurry of activity. I even found ragi flour. In a matter of minutes we were done, with enough supplies to warrant a largish carton and the assistance of one of the workers to carry it down to the car.

I spoke briefly to the owner, and he claims to supply food to the entire Indian community in Mexico. He told me that there were around 5000 people here, but they must be well scattered. I guess I will have to make the inevitable trip to the Indian embassy to find out what they’re up to.
The address for the place is as follows
CALLE FERNANDO DE ALVA IXTLIXOCHTIL 27 INT 201
COL. OBRERA, C.P.06800. DF, MEXICO
TEL: 1325-9843
Above location is one and half block from METRO DOCTORES. Open from 10AM TO 7PM (M-F) Saturday by appointment.

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56 thoughts on “The Indian grocery store

  1. Thank you .. I just hope they take orders on phone n ship me to Puerto Vallarta !! ..

    If its possible… please can you e-mail me the list of items they have ..

    Thank you again
    God Bless :)

  2. Thanks a lot for your information. I am in mexico now and searching for a shop…. It will be helpful if you can provide us the list of items..

    Dude once again thanks a lot for your info…

  3. Hi

    thanks for the information, are they still take orders by phone and ship the items? and how many days they take to ship/

  4. You are a lifesaver, Dinesh! Thanks for the info! I hope the address is still valid?
    Particularly want urad dal as I cannot live without Dosas, hehe!

  5. Thank you for this information. I looked up the address on Google Maps, and it showed a Hotel Max at that location. The street name is actually CALLE FERNANDO DE ALVA IXTLIXOCHTIL. (Two words) But there is a large parking lot next to the hotel, shown on the Google Maps Street View.. We hope to locate this store when we are in Mexico City in two weeks.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  6. Hello Sriram. It’s got a pretty decent selection of (mostly) north indian stuff. The stock changes from year to year, so the best thing to do is to email that guy and see what he has. Good luck!

  7. This Forum was really helpful,I am Moving to Mexico in December….. Was worried about where we would get our supplies from…. Now very relaxed.
    Thanks Dinesh…..
    If someone could also help me out with the approx cost of Living in Mexico city for a family of Four , apart from Schooling and Rent . It would be great help.

    • Hello Dinesh,

      I am going to move to Mexico for few months, will be working with Ericsson. Need info on apartment rentals and other basics to survive in Mexico. Could you please guide me?

      • Hi Nidhi,

        I was in Puebla, Mexico in August and that city is very beautiful and economic.

        The apt. rents range between 1700 to 2500 Pesos which is around US $150 to $200, could be slightly more depending on the location. Very posh Apts.in down town range is $400 – $500

        But it all depends on which city you are going to live in…I believe Mexico city is almost double to Puebla when it comes to Apt. rents

        Hope this helps…

        Best Wishes

  8. Hi Dinesh… this is wonderful news!! my brother is moving to Puebla, Mexico in a couple of months and was worried he may not find Indian Groceries. we were even planning to ship some from USA… this is definitely a better choice as I am sure it would cost much less to ship with in Mexico.

    any idea if there are any good South Indian Restaurants??

    Thanks a lot…

    Hamsa

      • Hi Dinesh
        I am moving to San Luis Potosi in 4 weeks. But currently I am staying on temporary basis and also planning to go to Mexico City next weekend. Can you pls mail any contact information (Email or phone) of the grocery shop owner. The forum thread says it is better to ask the owner for an appointment when going in weekends and also to get the latest inventory log of the items available.
        Have a nice day….
        Thanks
        regards
        Karthik

  9. Hi Dinesh,
    We are moving to Mexico City next month….can you mail me any Indian grocerry store’s address or phone number….is there any Indian temple ,restaurant ….or any organization where Indian people can meet up.

    Thanks….

    • Hi Amita:
      The only grocery store I know is the one mentioned above, though now there are some condiments being sold at the Restaurant tandoor in Polanco http://www.tandoor.com.mx/ (website seems to be down at present).; and this is the other indian restaurant, but i haven’t been there (http://www.resdawat.com/index.htm). I don’t know any temples, or any Indian organization. I went to the embassy to ask about it and it was a complete waste of time. The indian cultural centre has events once in a while, but since i don’t live in mexico city, I don’t pay much attention to them .Good luck!

    • Hi Amita,

      In response to your query… there are a couple of people who do home delivery of indian grocery…..
      We do have a Iskon temple and Gurudwara here. As Dinesh mentioned tandoor n Dawat serve indian and Muglai , bukara near zucalo also serves indian food…..

  10. hi denish its feel great to see all this im in uk now days and planning to come mexico so probly I will be need it.nay way is it not dnagerous area is it?
    thnks

  11. Hi this is Dev, I have been buying the Indian grocery items from rush@rhos.com.mx for the last 2 years and I can tell you that their prices and services are much better. They have all the dals, masalas, indian atta, basmati rice, namkeens and many more items. Hope this helps.

  12. Hi friends,

    Its feel great to see you all.
    Thanks a lot for your information.
    I am in Coatzacoalacus now and searching for a Indian Store and Restaurant.I am vegetarian and First time I came out of India. So It’s a little difficult for me to stay here.But now would be easier.
    Yes m agree wid u peacay indiamexico.com, needs to be created!

  13. thanks for very informative info re: Indian food and availability in Mexico for newly arrived ‘hindus’. naren rana

  14. Hi Dinesh,
    Do you know any Indian store that will ship the grocerries to other locations like to Leon City in Mexico..If so please let me know where and how..

      • Hi Dinesh, Iam working in Wipro Technologies, Chennai for Citibank. My manager told me that there is an onsite offer for 2 yrs in mexico for my role. But he said it will be very difficult to survive in mexico becoz of language barrier & food. Iam a pure vegetarian. He also added that it is not so safe to move alone after 5 pm. Due to financial constraints, Iam desperately looking for an Onsite opportunity. When exploring for information about Indian shops in mexico via google, I came across this forum & read thru it completely. It was very useful and reduced my fear to certain extent. Earlier I have lived in switzerland during 2012 where most of indian foods would be available.
        Now my questions are:
        1. Will language be a barrier there?
        2. How safe is living in mexico for 2 yrs?
        3. Is it safe to live there with family (wife & kid)?
        4. How much could one save there approximately?

      • Hi Harihara,
        I’m vegetarian as well, but I eat eggs, so it’s a lot easier. In my experience, eating out in restaurants is a bit difficult. You might find one or two things you can eat. But if can cook, there’s no problem eating at home. You can generally get rice/tortillas (maize rotis)/some side dishes wherever. If the rice is not white, then it generally means that they cooked it in chicken broth.
        Regarding safety: it depends on where you will be. I see that WIPRO has an office in Mexico City, which is generally considered fairly safe. Of course its a huge city so you will have the usual sort of problems in a big city, pickpockets, thefts etc.
        I feel that you can manage with English in teh eork environment, but outside that you will need spanish, or atleast someone who can help you in the first fe days. Since the script is almost he same as english, and since many words mean the same, it is quite easy to begin reading spanish, but speaking spanish will take time. I spent a lot of time watching tv (with subtitles) and this helped a lot.
        Again, the amount you can save will depend on where you live. The exchange rate is favourable, but I don’t know how much rent costs in Mexico City. Try this website to get a better idea. http://www.mexconnect.com/forums/
        On the other hand there are more Indians in Mexico City, so you can maybe contact them to get a better idea. Good luck!

  15. Hi dinesh need ur help i have got an offer for 2 years at a company in Basiliso promo anguiano g.madero city could u pls tell if this is a safe city for family to stay for 2 years. Waiting for ur reply.

      • Hi Dinesh yes this is the Address of the place… Ing. Basiliso Romo Anguiano,
        225 Col. Gpe. Insurgentes, Del. G.A. Madero; C.P. 07870,
        México D.F., MÉXICO, could you be kindly able to help and inform if this is a safe place.? thanks in advance.

      • Hi ramya, I am not too sure about this area. I asked someone who lives in Mexico City and they said the same. If you are going there to work for an Indian organisation maybe the best bet is to contact someone who lives there. In general Mexico City is safe, (of course you have the usual problems as in any big city). Another option is to post on IWAM’s Facebook page and see if they have any suggestions. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help !

  16. Hi Dinesh,

    Your help regarding groceries and useful info. About Mexico is commendable, much appreciated.
    Please can I have your contact number to discuss few thinga in detail? I’ve recently arrived in Mex City and staying in Polanco.

    Cheers !
    Shahzad

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