World of Possibilities

An ethnic market guide charts a path through Union Square.

Despite talk of gentrification, nearly all the markets in Somerville’s Union Square still resemble dodgy convenience stores: fluorescent lit, cramped, and littered with ads for phone cards. Look closer, though. At the seemingly ordinary Wellfoods Plus, coolers contain not ice cream but lakka, a 30-pound fish from Bangladesh. In Casa de Carnes, there are more varieties of condensed milk than soda. Now local gourmands and culinary adventurers can get in on the goods with the Somerville Arts Council’s new ethnic market guide to the neighborhood. The fold-out map profiles the owners and typical clientele of eight stores, and highlights the best exotic products. Map in hand, we found halal goat meat; a tart Central American frozen fruit called jocote; and Deli Manjoo, a chocolate-filled Korean pastry that’s good enough to make you forget standard cream puffs.

ArtsUnion Ethnic Market Guide of Union Square is available free at Somerville City Hall, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-625-6600, or at any of the eight featured markets. To reserve a spot in a group tour, 6 p.m. on 4/19, 5/3, and 5/17, call 617-625-6600 x2985. For more information, visit