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Check out small, family-owned ethnic food stores in your area if you're cooking on a budget but yearn for something a little more exotic. I bought a 10 pound sack of delicious, fluffy, fragrant basmati rice at my local Indian grocer (in small-town Iowa!) for less than $8, and I even recycled the decorative rice sack into a purse! Ethnic food items and spices can usually be found much more cheaply at these types of stores than in the "world foods" aisle of the supermarket. Plus, if they're family owned and run, the person working there will usually be happy to give you free tips on what and how to cook with the food they sell!
By Thompsons1 from Pella, IA
When shopping at one, just be SURE you know what you're buying, because sometimes their idea of "beef stew" is a couple of pieces of peas, one slice of celery, and beef broth! LOL Another store
I go to one periodically. I agree that you can get spices much cheaper than in the supermarket. Usually they have wider variety and you can buy in bulk if you need to.