Thai Phat — A slightly sweet, exotic scent greets customers of Thai Phat — Burlington’s “oriental food market,” as the sign over the door proclaims. The source? Tiny mangoes, spices such as star anise and cardamom pods, huge sacks of rice. When it opened in the mid-1990s, Thai Phat was the first Asian food market in the area, catering largely to the Vietnamese community. Gradually, America’s expanded global palate has brought locals of all backgrounds to the warren of aisles overflowing with a continent’s worth of ingredients — from long beans to banana blossoms and frozen dumplings to whole fresh fish.
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