“Dang it.” I muttered.
After driving across Tulsa, fighting construction and traffic, I was staring at the dark “open” sign of Middle East Market (5459 S Mingo Rd, Tulsa, OK 74146). I looked at the hours of operation; they were supposed to be open another four hours!
Squinting my eyes, I peered through the tinted windows. Were those lights on? Holding my breath, I pulled on the door handle. The door opened and a cheerful bell announced my entrance.
“I thought you were closed,” I said.
“We get that alot,” the young man behind the counter nodded, “Several times a day, actually.”
But I was already looking around, taking inventory. A case of Middle Eastern cheeses, drinks in arabic, beautiful persian teapots, glass teacups, spices, teas, syrups, pickled vegetables, several kinds of couscous. There was even a small rack of clothing.
The whole place smelled like toasted spices.
I walked in circles for a while, eying everything.
“I could use those glass tea cups and that giant tea pot for my Global Table dinners,” I thought, knowing full well that I couldn’t fit one more cup in my cabinets.
“Tea would fit!” I decided, and hurried over to that aisle. I stared blankly at the labels, half in arabic, half in english. What to buy, what to buy?
I asked David, the young man who greeted me a few minutes earlier, for his advice. He cheerfully obliged and recommended Alwazah’s ceylon tea, stating it was not as bitter other brands. I took the box, grabbed a bag of lump sugar and checked out.
The key to shopping in an international foods store such as the Middle East Market is to ask lots of questions. You can learn alot from a local.
The Middle Eastern Market has been in Tulsa for 13 years. David’s father, Abdu Mohamad, took the small shop over 7 years ago.