For most of us, grocery shopping involves going to a large supermarket and loading up on the essentials. You may want to consider changing your routine once you learn more about some of Regina’s small, locally owned specialty grocery stores. There, you’ll find foods from all over the world, unique treats and hospitality like no other. Italian Star Deli (1611 Victoria Avenue) The Italian Star Deli has been owned and operated by the Giambattista family since 1966. Three generations of the family continue to work in the store today, giving a warm welcome to customers and making them feel like they’re part of the family. The store, as its name implies, focuses on foods imported from Italy; however, they do carry items from all over Europe. Tucked into the cozy downtown location are foods from the Balkan states, Germany, Greece and even South Africa. The deli also sells some of its own creations, such as homemade tiramisu, Italian dressing, pesto and a concoction called “La Bomba,” a mix of banana peppers, jalapenos and crushed chili peppers in oil. The dressing, pesto and La Bomba are staples in the Italian Star’s famous paninis, so you can attempt to make your own at home. [caption id="attachment_16959" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Gino Giambattista at the Italian Star Deli courtesy of Chad Mario[/caption] India Food Centre (417 Victoria Avenue) Many refer to this store as Tony’s, after its owner Tony Matharu, who established it with his father in 1979. The shop’s motto is “Where the spice is right,” so it’s no surprise that spices are featured prominently with their own aisle. The store caters to a global clientele—in addition to Indian imports, it brings in items from Africa, the West Indies, Central America and Southern America. They carry some specialty items that can’t be found anywhere else in the city, such as a traditional Jamaican Easter bun. They also have a wide selection of hair extensions and specialty hair products. And, of course, you’ll always find samosas, curries and about 15 varieties of hot sauces on its shelves. Regina Ukrainian Co-op and Boutique (1805 Winnipeg Street) This year marks Regina Ukrainian Co-op’s 80th anniversary. The store boasts that it’s “your one-stop shop in Regina, offering meats, sausages and groceries.” Upon walking in, it’s clear that the store’s specialty is its meats and sausages. The deli counter is lined up with eager customers and the store is filled with the intoxicating smell of smoked meat. The rings of sausages are hung on racks behind the counter are quickly snapped up and restocked. Two large wood fire smoke houses are going at full force behind the store to keep up with demand and lure in passersby with their aroma. The co-op focuses on German, Polish and Ukrainian foods, paying tribute to the people who have traditionally lived in the neighbourhood. Manager Shanna gave us a sample of the smoked ham sausage, still warm from the smoke house. It made our knees buckle, it was so good. [caption id="attachment_16961" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Sausage at the Ukrainian Co-op courtesy of Chad Mario[/caption] Ngoy Hoa Asian Foods (1580 Albert Street) Ngoy Hoa Asian Foods is a family-owned and operated Asian grocery store, serving Regina since 1991. It is the most diversified, largest store of its kind in Saskatchewan with 10,000 square feet of groceries from numerous Asian countries. They carry fresh exotic produce, their own cut butcher's meat, frozen goods, snacks, fresh noodles, dishware, utensils and more. In the meat department, you’ll find barbecue duck, pig feet and pork tongue, ears, lungs and kidneys. For ramen fans, there is an entire aisle of instant noodles in more flavours than you can imagine. And if you’re into bubble tea, you can find mixes to make your own. For those confused by foreign language packaging, Ngoy Hoa takes the intimidation factor away by including translations for each product on shelf labels. Whether you want to try something new or pick up Asian food favourites, Ngoy Hoa will have something for you. [caption id="attachment_16960" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Spicy beancurd strips at Ngoy Hoa Asian Foods courtesy of Chad Mario[/caption] Spice up your shopping routine and try some of Regina’s specialty stores on your next grocery run!