Mi Pueblo
1745 Story Road, San Jose; 408.259.3421
Silicon Valley is loaded with little Mexi-marts, but Mi Pueblo, a local chain of 18 stores, is king. The one at Story and King roads is colossal. It’s like a Ranch 99 but for the South Bay’s Latino population. There is so much more than tortillas.

At the salsa bar, the “Totenada Ozzy” salsa made with fiery chiles de arbol is superb. There’s also a good little taqueria with shady outside tables. The white-helmeted butchers create meticulous, artfully arranged meat and fish displays that are a sight to behold. Who knew octopus could look so pretty?

Best Buys: Fresh salsa, Mexican onions and chipotle chicken wings.

El Oaxaqueno
330 E. William St., San Jose; 408.294.9388
El Oaxaqueno keeps odd hours. When owner Bertha Zavaleta sells out, she closes up her little shop until another shipment from Oaxaca arrives. When she is open, count on product you won’t find anywhere else: fresh chiles de agua, Oaxacan chocolate, wood-oven-baked tlayudas (a big tortilla), red and black mole, and chapulines (toasted grasshoppers seasoned with salt and lime).

Best Buys:
Chocolate, chiles and fresh Oaxacan cheese.