International Grocery Store, Café, Bakery, and Restaurant
By Chelsea Chambers
One of our greatest—and most underrated—superpowers is our astonishing sense of smell. The olfactory receptors have the unique ability to transport us to a nostalgic past, entice our taste buds, and ignite a formidable hunger.
Hana Mutlak and her family clearly understand the power of a good aroma because from the moment I opened the doors to Food Land Market, I developed a voracious appetite for whatever was cooking in the kitchen. I craved it. And luckily for me, my appetite was satiated by some of the most remarkable falafel I’ve ever tasted.
“Here you are eating real food,” Hana tells me, after I’ve devoured my falafel. “Everything is made fresh and from scratch, absolutely nothing is premade.”
Families of all ages munch happily on their dinners around me as I pour over the beautifully organized aisles, comprised of unique food items from all over the world. While Hana and her family come from Iraq, they pride themselves in stocking more than just Mediterranean food. At Food Land Market, you can find items from England, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, and more.
“We are an international food market. We work closely with many importers to stock our store,” she explains. And that is no easy task, “We are here until almost 1 am every night, making sure everything is fresh and organized.”
I wander the rows of food, seeing names I recognize like baba ghanoush, baklava, and hummus. And intrigued by some I’d never heard of before: toma cheese, nar eksisi (pomegranate salad dressing), and Hazer Baba—a mixed fruit and nut treat. I want to try absolutely everything. And fortunately for me and the rest of the Treasure Valley, we can. Food Land Market’s Boise Bench location on Orchard Street, next to Crone’s Cupboard, makes them easily accessible no matter where you’re coming from.
But beyond being an international grocery store, Food Land is also a café (with some of the best Turkish coffee in town), a bakery, and a restaurant—serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. “I was a barista for ten years and I didn’t want to waste those years, so we also made it a café,” Hana says with a smile.
And despite having only been open since October 2019, you can see for yourself the glowing reviews left for Food Land Market on their Facebook page. Everyone raves about the fresh, home-cooked meals and unbelievably affordable prices.
“We aren’t look for a high profit,” she said, when I asked her how they keep their prices so low. For Hana and her family, it’s all about offering high-quality products at low prices.
In Iraq, most of Hana’s family owned grocery stores, so the business is in their blood. But the addition to include a restaurant aspect came from her mother, an incredible cook who was known to feed large groups of people. “We wanted to share that with the Boise community.”
I rounded off my first trip to Food Land with a delicious cup of Turkish coffee. I slowly sipped the coffee from my tiny, ornate cup, grinning with delight as Hana busily cleaned and chatted with her daughter. It’s more than clear that this family truly cares about each other, their customers, and the Boise community. Everything they do is done with fervor and a genuine smile. Food Land Market is about quality and customer service and I absolutely cannot wait to return. Probably tomorrow. And the next day…
Visit Food Land Market on Facebook at @FoodLandMarketBoise and stop by their store at 710 N. Orchard Street in Boise!