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Started amid pandemic, Tamil grocery store expands to second city spot

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It’s a London success story that demonstrates you can find the whole world right here in the Forest City.

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Mar 27, 2022  •  23 minutes ago  •  1 minute read  •  Join the conversation Partheepan Kanapathipillai, with his wife Subajini Partheepan, has opened a second Tamil grocery story in London. The first Angela supermarket  opened on Huron Street at the start of the pandemic so local Tamils didn't have to travel to Toronto for ingredients. The new location on Wonderland Road opened Saturday. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press) Partheepan Kanapathipillai, with his wife Subajini Partheepan, has opened a second Tamil grocery story in London. The first Angela supermarket opened on Huron Street at the start of the pandemic so local Tamils didn’t have to travel to Toronto for ingredients. The new location on Wonderland Road opened Saturday. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

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It’s a London success story that demonstrates you can find the whole world right here in the Forest City.

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Angela Supermarket, the Tamil grocery store started by Partheepan Kanapathipillai in the teeth of the pandemic, now has a second location. Located at Wonderland and Oxford, the new store had its official opening Saturday.

“I think that during the pandemic resources were getting tight. We couldn’t find a lot of our spices. Not a lot of people can afford to go down to Toronto,” said Kumaran Markandu, who spoke for Kanapathipillai.

Before the original Angela supermarket opened on Huron Street east of Adelaide Street in November 2020, Markandu said Tamils wanting authentic ingredients for their meal-making would have to venture at least as far as Scarborough.

The pandemic reinforced the need for a local solution. “That really drove the idea of ‘It’s something we have to start. It’s now or never,’” Markandu said.

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He estimates London Tamils number in the thousands. Across Canada, there are 300,000 Tamils, he said, the largest diaspora outside of the northeast of Sri Lanka and the southern tip of India.

And what rare items can shoppers find at Angela Supermarket? “There’s a special curry powder that’s from our region in Sri Lanka. Guaranteed you’re not going to find that anywhere else,” Markandu said.

Tamils are famous for their multi-course lunches featuring delicacies such as Sri Lankan brown rice, lentil curry, eggplant curry, goat curry and soup. But Markandu said the store offers goods that all South Asians will appreciate.

“Don’t feel that you have to be a certain ethnic group to shop at this supermarket,” he said. “There’s something for everyone.”

He encourages Londoners who want to get out of their culinary comfort zone to try things like pairing dried, salted fish with eggplant: “Come in, explore.”

The new location of Angela Supermarket is located in Unit 2, 661 Wonderland Rd. N.

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