Around the World at the West Side Bazaar

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Nadeen Yousef, Owner of Macrame by Nadeen.

A rainy April day seemed like a perfect time to enjoy lunch and a little shopping with girlfriends at Buffalo’s West Side Bazaar. It has everything from macrame key chains to dim sum dumplings without any need for an umbrella!

The Bazaar is a small business incubator on Grant Street for Buffalo’s immigrant community, offering an opportunity for newly arrived residents to start their own shops or restaurants. With offerings of goods and services from all around the world in one small corner of Buffalo’s West Side, the bustling little marketplace is a fun place to both shop and enjoy a varied array of delicious offerings from the many food stalls that share the communal kitchen.

Small shops run by immigrants from places as far flung as Iraq and Rwanda offer both handmade crafts as well as imports from the owners’ home countries. Browsing the colorful stalls for gifts for ourselves (and others!) kept us happily busy until it was time to eat. And how to decide? Burmese? Pakistani? Bubble tea? We tried three kinds of dim sum dumplings, shared Ethiopian chicken and rice and Thai pork noodles and finished up with coconut filled sesame balls from Laos and beautifully served Ethiopian coffee.

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Dim Sum

Everything was fresh and delicious, remarkably plentiful and insanely inexpensive. We could have fed twice our number with leftovers and nothing topped $10. With our bellies happily filled and toting a few treasures and a tall glass of bubble tea, we headed out again, discussing whether our next visit would include goat curry or samosas or Burmese mohinga soup.

Buffalo is a city built by immigrants, and our newest arrivals are making their own vibrant mark on our culture and our tastebuds. A visit to the West Side Bazaar is a great way to see this in action while eating just an enormous amount of really yummy food.

(Katie Couric visited the bazaar as part of her Buffalo feature for Yahoo News; see Visit Buffalo Niagara’s video on the bazaar below.)