As much as it may feel like a conglomeration of suburbs, lacking towering skyscrapers and an abundance of monolithic office blocks, it is easy to forget that Springfield is the third largest city in Missouri. Now, to someone from the coasts or around a larger metro area, it may not seem like much, but what Springfield, New York City, Sacramento, Austin and any other metro area have in common is people. People make a city, and they have families, heritage and likes and dislikes, and every single one of them has got to eat.

As is such, here in Springvegas there are a lot of places to get food including restaurants downtown or fast food places right off campus. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you might even cook some food for yourself. Now, if you’re making mashed potatoes or some chili, you probably won’t have any problem finding everything you need at Walmart or Hy-Vee.

But, let’s say you have family from another country or continent. To make some of the food you grew up with, you need more than what is available at the largest grocery store in the area. So what do you do then?

For many people across the country, the answer comes in the form of an often overlooked pillar of many communities: the international market. In these markets, shoppers can find products that are easier to find in their countries of origin. For example, taking a trip to the Asian World Market on Campbell Avenue will show a variety of different Lay’s potato chips you have probably never seen at Price Cutter. 

While there are many international food markets in Springfield, one of the newest to open is the Bombay Bazaar located at the Plaza Towers Center at 1915 S. Glenstone Ave. This market specializes in desi products, from areas like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and several other countries spanning south Asia to the Middle East.

Bombay Bazaar opened at the end of November last year, and I recently had the opportunity to visit the store and check out their selection. I don’t cook a lot of desi food, but from what I can tell, Bombay Bazaar has a pretty impressive selection. 

Upon walking in, I noticed that it appeared to be set up much more like a larger grocery store but on a smaller scale. The shelves were spaced out further than many international markets I have seen, most likely to allow for use of the small fleet of shopping carts available at the front. 

The produce section was fairly slim, although this is not out of the ordinary because produce spoils quickly and can usually be found at other stores, if needed.

What really made Bombay Bazaar shine was their selection of dry goods. On the shelves in the front of the store were a wide selection of different noodles and grains, ranging from smaller sizes for personal use to larger quantities for large families or commercial use.

Bombay Bazaar is located a convenient distance away from campus by car and is a great location to visit. If you haven’t found a source for desi food and ingredients that you like yet, or if you’re just looking to try out a new local business, Bombay Bazaar is a great stop for your shopping trip. Their hours are 10am-8pm Tuesday through Saturday and 10am-6pm on Sunday.