Whether you’re a cooking pro or get frightened by the sight of a frying pan, there’s no doubt that your taste buds crave flavor. The only way to achieve that, subtly or otherwise, is to have the right ingredients or—better yet—the perfect spices that’ll make your meal a memorable one. Kalustyan’s carries every spice imaginable, as well as an impressive array of kitchenware. The long and narrow shop, which also houses a deli and seating area upstairs, is crowded with shelf upon shelf of assorted spices, honeys, chutneys, oils, beans, teas, and more. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but the helpful staff will guide you through it all. If you’re looking for a generic type of curry or honey, then your typical grocery store will do, but at Kalustyan’s, a seemingly simple request for these ingredients will yield curries with the zest of West India, Jamaica, Singapore, or Malaysia (among others) and honeys made of raspberries, blueberries, ambrosia, chestnuts, and citrus. Next time you’re asked to contribute something to a dinner party, nonchalantly offer to buy whatever spice is needed, because you’re guaranteed to find even the most obscure ingredients at Kalustyan’s.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009