Africa

What to expect: Catering mostly to the area's large Somali population, the typical African grocery stores stock a small selection of foods familiar to native Africans, like fufu, a thick porridge made from starchy root vegetables that's an African staple, and smoked boney fish, a delicacy used in regional recipes. Many also carry Caribbean products, like Jamaican jerk seasonings and guava jelly.

For souvenirs, you'll want to head to one of the African fabric shops, where the walls are lined with gorgeous, colorful fabric - many of them hand-dyed and decorated - that can be used to make dresses, head wraps, blankets and curtains.

WILL SHILLING PHOTO

Accra International Market

5266 Cleveland Ave., North Side

614-899-0843

The friendly owners will tell you about all of the unusual products you'll find on the shelves. Customers come in often for ripe plantains, smoked fish, Goya malted beverages and skin-on goat meat. Also popular is the jarred shito sauce, a condiment made with peppers, smoked fish, ginger and onion.

Tadi African Market

2007 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., North Side

Tasty-looking delicacies include Nina Groundnut Paste, a creamy African-style peanut butter, and Esther's Authentic African Ready Stew, a mixture of tomatoes, peppers, onions and spices that can be combined with chicken or fish to make a tasty African stew. If you're feeling really adventurous, though, try the dried snails on a stick.

Denbet Fabrics & Beauty Supply

2003 Dublin-Granville Rd., North Side

614-888-8660

Okwahuman Fabrics

5264 Cleveland Ave., North Side

614-794-1031

The walls at both these North Side shops are lined with colorful African fabrics, and there's also a sizable selection of straight-from-Africa DVDs.

... NEXT >>