I went up to Devon Ave. on Sunday afternoon, Chicago’s Little India neighborhood, for some lunch with my folks, and afterward we were wandering around when my dad stopped us at a small, twenty-four-hour shop called Madni Mart. He was in search of a massive bag of basmati rice. Madni Mart could help us.
In addition to more and bigger bags of rice than any one person could eat in a month, Madni Mart had a variety of canned, boxed, and bagged foods stuffed onto its tall shelves with narrow aisles in between. It was a tiny store, but I felt like I was sneaking and hiding everywhere I went in there.
Would you like to mix up some family?
Do you need lentils? Because they have all kinds of lentils.
Also, all kinds of pickles. Pickled mango, pickled garlic, pickled lime, and the vague “mixed pickle.”
These are only a few of the huge variety of spices bagged up in the back.
Do you want your jaggery in squares or lumps?
Also, in the back was a butcher shop. The three guys back there, all Hispanic, were serving up halal meat. One of them was breaking down a whole–and frighteningly still life-like–lamb. Multiculturalism at its finest. Little places like this are what I love about this town.