Sunset Park

Chamoyadas and shark backpacks are top sellers on Sunset Park’s Fifth Avenue

April 3, 2019 Lore Croghan
Soledad Chino of Nieves Tia Mimi holds a chamoyada, which is her Sunset Park shop’s top-selling treat. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

You’re not a Brooklyn foodie until you’ve eaten Mexican ice flavored with chili powder and hot sauce.

Try a chamoyada. It will make your nose run, but it’s awesome.

Mexican ices are called nieves, the Spanish word for “snow.” It’s helpful to know this when you’re on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park looking for a shop that sells them.

By the way, the hot sauce in the chamoyada is liquid chamoy, which is made from fruit, chilies and lime juice.

The chamoyada is the top-selling treat at Nieves Tia Mimi, co-owner Evaristo Azomosa said Wednesday when I visited business owners on the Sunset Park commercial corridor. From my visit I’ve compiled this list of Fifth Avenue’s top-selling food, drinks and products.

Here’s a glimpse of the shops on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Here’s a glimpse of the shops on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Customers at the shop at 4711 Fifth Ave. have their chamoyadas made with mango, lemon or melon Mexican ices. A large serving is priced at $12.

Why would people want chili powder on their dessert? I asked Azomosa. I’ve never been to Mexico and I really didn’t know the answer to this question.

“It tastes better,” Azomosa said.

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Co-owner Soledad Chino, who’s married to him, said their business was founded by her late sister, Nohemi Chino.

Nohemi’s nickname was Mimi. “Tia” means “aunt.” The shop is named after her.

Pupusas you can pass off as homemade

Pretending to be a good cook is almost as much fun as being one.

If you want to impress your family by seemingly serving homemade pupusas, La Union Deli Grocery stocks frozen ones that cook up very nicely indeed.

Pupusas are corn flatbreads stuffed with beans and cheese or other fillings. They’re a tasty staple of Salvadoran cuisine.

A four-pack of Izalco brand pupusas is priced at $5 at the shop at 4011 Fifth Ave. It’s a top-selling item at the deli, employee Bertin Vasquez said.

This store specializes in Salvadoran products that draw shoppers from Flatbush, Coney Island, Manhattan and the Bronx as well as Sunset Park.

“Salvadorans are nostalgic for their country,” he said in Spanish.

Bertin Vasquez says frozen pupusas are a top-selling item at La Union Deli Grocery on Fifth Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Bertin Vasquez says frozen pupusas are a top-selling item at La Union Deli Grocery on Fifth Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Mexican salted beef is so popular

I was hoping pinatas would be big sellers at La Guadalupita II because they look pretty in photographs. But they’re popular purchases only at Christmas, store manager Wendy Reyes said.

Cecina is the top-selling product at the store, which carries lots of Mexican products. Cecina is salted, partly dried beef. People make tacos with it.

“We probably sell 100 pounds of it a week,” Reyes said. It’s priced at $7.50 a pound.

Pinatas hang from the ceiling at La Guadalupita II. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Pinatas hang from the ceiling at La Guadalupita II. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Bring on the bourbon

The top-selling drink at L’Wren, which has been open for seven months, is called Bush’s Folly. The $11 cocktail is made of bourbon, elderflower, vermouth, ginger and lemon.

Its name is a reference to Bush Terminal, said Travis Klaus, who co-owns the bar at 4004 Fifth Ave. with his wife Jessica Klaus.

“People like their dark booze here,” he said. Whiskey, scotch and bourbon have all been selling well.

Travis Klaus shows off Bush’s Folly, which is the top-selling drink at L’Wren. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Travis Klaus shows off Bush’s Folly, which is the top-selling drink at L’Wren. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Hark! A shark

The best-selling merchandise at this shoe store is a backpack. It’s decorated with a hungry shark’s face and is made by Sprayground, a coveted brand.

“We order 300 to 500 of them before back-to-school shopping,” which runs from June through August, said Gary Vergara, a manager at Es La Vida. The shoe store is located at 5402-5404 Fifth Ave.

People buy the shark backpack, which is priced at $80, in fall and winter, too, he said. Adults use it to carry their computers.

Gary Vergara, a manager at Es La Vida shoe store, poses with a Sprayground brand backpack that looks like a shark. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Gary Vergara, a manager at Es La Vida shoe store, poses with a Sprayground brand backpack that looks like a shark. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Handmade baby clothes

What a great spot for grannies to buy gifts.

The best-selling item at Sonia Castillo’s shop, Novedades Sonih-Mex, is crocheted baby clothing. Soft, cozy dresses, sweaters and pants are priced from $20 to $40.

The focus of her store at 4216 Fifth Ave. is handmade goods from Mexico, she said.

Gary Vergara, a manager at Es La Vida shoe store, poses with a Sprayground brand backpack that looks like a shark. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Gary Vergara, a manager at Es La Vida shoe store, poses with a Sprayground brand backpack that looks like a shark. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

‘Lots of glass in the street’

Daniel Perez owns a shop full of beautiful bikes. But the best-selling merchandise at Sanba Bicycle Shop is a $7 inner tube that fits inside a bicycle tire.

He has sold 1,000 inner tubes in the year that his shop at 884A Fifth Ave. has been in business, he said. In messy New York City, flats happen frequently.

“There is lots of glass in the street,” he said in Spanish.

For an additional $7, Perez will install the bike inner tube for the customer.

Daniel Perez  holds bike inner tubes, which are a best-selling item at Sanba Bicycle Shop. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Daniel Perez holds bike inner tubes, which are a best-selling item at Sanba Bicycle Shop. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Follow Brooklyn Eagle reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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