Arizona to Asia in an Hour: A Trip to the AZ International Marketplace, Mesa, Arizona // Phoenix Travel Blogger, Things to Do in Phoenix and Mesa Arizona with Kids
So, I haven’t always been a photographer. Sometimes I feel like a cat who has lived nine lives–in college, my major was World Politics (and Spanish), and I interned for 40 hours a week at the Department of State in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs, where I had to obtain a secret security clearance. Before that, I lived in Spain and studied at a university there and I think my friends thought I would never come back. I remember when I came home from my time in Spain, it was January and our the newly-elected president was being inaugurated. The city (I went to college in Washington, DC) was abuzz with activity and excitement, and my friends commented on how this once-crazed poli-sci major was now wearing scarves like a European and looking bored. Yep, I loved Spain and everything about living abroad. I had lived in Germany for three years before that, but once again, I had caught the international bug. Working at the State Department, surrounded by diplomats and the cadence of so many languages further solidified in me a life-long fascination and intrigue with all things foreign. As a high school Spanish teacher, I led a group of students through Europe, and I did it because I know first-hand how travel can change a person. Forever.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
As a parent, it is always possible to expose your children to international culture early and often, you just have to look for it sometimes. One such opportunity that I have been wanting to try and recently had the opportunity to check out is the newly-opened AZ International Marketplace in Mesa, Arizona.
100,000 square feet of international awesomeness.
If I were to tell you they have Ramen noodles, you might say, aw, no biggie, so does Fry’s.
But, my friend, does Fry’s dedicate an ENTIRE AISLE to different brands of Ramen noodles?! Cray I tell you.
We quickly moved past the Ramen, however, because well, it’s kind of American at this point. I wanted to see things we don’t normally see. We discovered Jackfruit bigger than our heads for 58 cents a pound, so many types of produce we had never heard of before, checked out a whole row of Shrimp crackers, which I suppose are pretty darn popular in Asian countries judging by the quantity and variety of brands.
Spices? Anything you want. Chopsticks? So pretty and any you can imagine. Rice paper, seafood, coconut milk GALORE…the list goes on! My kids were quite fond of checking out the candy aisles and trying to figure out the ingredients when we don’t read the language. 😉
There is also a large Hispanic food section (said to be the largest in the area, though I was hoping for a larger selection of tortillas).
Lotus leaves bigger than my son’s body? Check.
Did they make these Tapioca Pearls for ME?! Aren’t they just almost too pretty to eat? We finished the day off with a tasty Strawberry-Mango Boba smoothie and chatted with the owners at the counter. The whole place is so clean and friendly! It was a fun little summer treat and something I think the kiddos will remember for awhile!