Even in this small town, there is a wide range of flavors available at a variety of ethnic stores catering to people from all over the world. I love cooking ethnic food, so I make it a point to try out as many of them as I can. The newest ethnic grocer in town is Mirsung Indian Grocery, located at 49 E. Green St., Champaign. They just opened on June 1, and I went to see what they could offer that was different from the other stores in town.
It’s a small space, in a strip mall, with a typical selection of Indian groceries. You can find much of it, like rice, dal, spices, and canned goods at other stores in town, but their focus is on offering competitive prices. For a selection of items that I typically shop for, many were priced the same or lower than what I would find at my usual sources. They also have a good selection of fresh produce, probably due to their twice-weekly deliveries.
The owners, who have other jobs in town, were at the store when I stopped by. They mentioned that their goals for the store were to offer college students a closer and cheaper option to shop for Indian groceries. They have some extra space that they want to use for cooking classes, teaching students and others from the community how to prepare delicious, healthy Indian food without being intimidated.
Fresh produce and good prices are a great reason to stop in to check it out, but the reason I’ll be going back is the customer service they offered. They were friendly without being invasive, willing to share information about the products they had, and offered help with recipes. I took home a vegetable new to me, karela, and ended up enjoying it a lot (you can read what I did with it on my blog). If you’ve never cooked Indian food before, I’m confident that you could walk out knowing enough to make your first dish from their advice. Whether you’re new to Indian cookery, or experienced enough to mix your own garam masala, you’ll find something new at Mirsung.
They are still working on their website (it will be at www.mirsung.com), but you can call them at 344-2660 or write to mirsung.groceriesATgmailDOTcom. They have an email list you can sign up for to get inside information about new offerings.