You certainly would never find a box of Hamburger Helper or Shake ‘N Bake lurking on my pantry shelves. But it’s not because I’m a from-scratch purist. Open my freezer and behold a bounty of veggie potstickers, custard buns, and edamame all ready to steam up for dinner. Open my cupboards and you’re likely to find packages of Patak’s palak paneer or a jar of Indonesian “simmer sauce.”

While food enthusiasts like myself may scoff at packaged “American” foods, somehow packaged foods from other countries and cultures seem just all around more acceptable.

That mindset is helping ethnic grocers to grow. An Associated Press article picked up by the Modesto Bee, among others, looks at the growth of Asian, Mexican, Indian, and other ethnic markets across the country.

But you don’t have to be a sociologist or business analyst to notice that ethnic grocery stores are hot—just drop over to your local 99 Ranch Market on a Saturday and try to find a space in the parking lot.

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