Barbur World Foods

Barbur Blvd is a street that runs through SW Portland.  And it’s got the weirdest mix of things…it’s not that far from a lot of nice neighborhoods, but it seems to be kinda the seedier part of SW.  There are two Fred Meyers, sure, but there are also some sketchy apartments, THREE places that I think are brothels (their signs advertise, um, “erotic rubdowns”?  awesome), a strip club, and lot of fast food places.

But it’s also got Barbur World Foods, which is a fantastically fun store.

(I stole the picture, hence the funky border, because there were two people who had just had an accident on Barbur exchanging insurance information when I left, and I felt weird trying to get a good picture).

This is part normal grocery store, part middle eastern market, part other random places market, and part “I don’t think that’s labeled for sale in the US”.   We started going there because my fiance loves pitas, but we couldn’t find good whole wheat ones anywhere.  This solved that problem-and they were cheaper! Win-win.

They have normal produce…

0819091016-03And not so normal stuff…

0819091016-01(Green almonds.  Which people who like food far more than me get excited about)

0819091018-04Fava beans, big root things (I forget what they are), artichokes, all together…

One of my favorite things is their bulk dispensers:

0819091019-00Yup-made for Jelly Bellys, full of things like lentils and bulgar.

Their meat selection shows the same crazy variety.  In addition to a normal butcher counter they have this cooler:

0819091019-02The top has Halal meats.  And then the last full shelf you can see, the stuff on the right is ground buffalo.  The label on it said something like “what REAL Americans eat!”

I got one of these cookies:


The cheese selection mostly involved lables that looked like this:

0819091021-01(the side told me it was “Danish Cheese”)

And these cured meats weren’t wrapped up in anything, which freaked out my germaphobic tendencies.


There’s normal grocery store stuff too, like Alpenrose milk.


I needed couscous, and this was an absurd amount, for super cheap.  1 kg, which is 2.2 pounds, for $4 and some change.  But I’m not sure this is a legal nutrition information box…

0819091025-00I bought it anyways.

They have great candy, that mostly I only see in Canada (they sell it in the UK too, but I’m far more likely to go to Canada…)

0819091028-01And then, more normal grocery stuff

0819091029-01Cliff bars.  It’s quite the mix.

You can get every flavor of jam imaginable.

0819091030-00That would be pumpkin and quince there.

One thing that always amuses me is what you can get in a can there.  Like baba ghanoush


And stuffed grape leaves


And every possible preparation of fava beans

0819091032-02(that’s 4 types right there, and i think there were more).

They also have Turkish Delight, which I was mildly obsessed with as a child after I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

0819091033-00(it didn’t live up the hype when I had some, but my 8 year old self was convinced it HAD to be tasty, and I would insist on getting some whenever I found it)

And they had this stuff, which is amazing, and baked here in Portland

0819091036-00They sell these all over the metro-WinCo, Costco, Thriftway, but I don’t know how common they are other places.  I restrained myself from getting some, since I already had a cookie…

What’s your favorite grocery store?


2 responses to “Barbur World Foods

  1. OMGosh! I’m totally with you on the childhood turkish delight story. Hilarious.

    In Fairbanks, our grocery options are fairly limited. We have Safeway, Fred Meyer, and Walmart. I prefer Fred Meyer because of their superior health food section (which is not to say it doesn’t need some work). We also have a few Korean grocery stores that sometimes have good stuff for cheap, like gigantic bags of sea salt.

    • I worked at Fred Meyer one summer while I was in college. The employee handbook forbid beards on employees, except those in Alaska. My brother worked there too, and wanted to go work at one in Alaksa, just so he could have a beard.
      Know what’s insane about Portland? I live a good 25+ minute drive from ANY Walmart, and even those don’t have a full grocery department.
      I get kinda excited when I find a Walmart because I never go…

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