Fresno's Laotian Markets

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James Roper

Fresh, juicy lemongrass, crimson Thai chiles, and fragrant holy basil. To find such a glorious bounty in the U.S., just stop by the hyperlocal Laotian markets of Fresno, California, where much of the glowingly bright produce is cultivated only a few miles away by the Hmong and Lao farmers whose families settled here in the 1970s. Better yet, at Asia Supermarket (4818 East Tulare Avenue; 559/252-7025), Golden Bowl (1221 North First Street; 559/485-5593), and other Fresno grocers, the prices are so low that there's always cash left over for a green papaya salad or Hmong pork sausages with sticky rice from the supermarket's deli.

Andrea Nguyen is a SAVEUR contributing editor.