Being in and around the San Diego area for a while now, I’ve come to know three markets where I can source not only halal meats, but all of the Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Turkish, Balkan, Persian and Indo-Pakistani products that I like to use in my cooking.
Here are the ones I know and shop:
- Balboa International Market is located at 5905 Balboa Avenue, San Diego, CA 92111; tel. (858) 277-3600. They do have a halal meat section, but there is also a separate area where the cheese and other non-halal meats are located. One of my favorite things about this market are the Persian breads in the produce area. They’re freshly made daily. They even have pizza made with the breads but I’ve never tried them. One of the main reasons I go to this store is because it’s the one place where I can hear Turkish on the radio as well as find lots of Turkish products like Turkish brands of cheese, sucuk (cured meat), olives, and even mineral waters. Actually, the languages in the store vary from Turkish to Arabic, Farsi and Urdu- maybe even others. I love that it’s small but international. If you’re craving freshly made baklava and lokum, you can get that, too, on the way out at the stand right across from the cashier check-out.
2. Harvest International Market located at El Cajon located at 733 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020; tel. (619) 442-0413. I came to this market by accident as I was in El Cajon since I heard there were a lot of Middle Eastern markets and restaurants. I looked around at other markets that were a little smaller, but this one inspired me the most. Their meat counter is so nice and fresh and they carry a lot of bones I can use for broth as well as offal (i.e. lamb, beef and chicken intestines, heart, kidneys, etc.), which is what I was looking for since I’ve arrived in San Diego. The other thing I love about this market is the freshly made Iraqi style breads baked right in the store, making the entire store smell so nice. The produce has always been nice and fresh when I’ve visited. Sign up for their weekly ad and get discount offers texted to your phone.
3. North Park Produce is located at 12342 Poway Rd, Poway, CA 92064; tel. (858) 391-9100. This market is attached to a bakery and grill so you can shop and eat in the small restaurant before or after, which is nice. The market is large, but the meat section is small. They carry a large variety of nuts and dried beans, of Middle Eastern and Balkan products, lots of Turkish brands of rice, bulgur and pastas, which is great. They do have a good size fresh produce section, too.
If you know of any more places where good quality Halal meat can be purchased, please drop those in the comments section below.