The Capital Region is not without its fair share of bodegas. You can go to every Price Chopper, Stewarts, Mobil, Hess, Hannaford or Shop Rite in the area, but if you’re looking for plantain chips or hard-to-find Hispanic ingredients you’re probably gonna have to hit up the neighborhood bodega.

Who doesn’t love bodegas? It’s one of the few places where you can walk in with 5 bucks and walk out with enough shwag to feed yourself for a week.

Bodegas may also be referred to as “corner store” or “grocer.” They typically sell everything from booze to baby food. The stores originated in South America to service the poor. Over the years, they’ve popped up in metropolitan areas all around the country and became popular for “this and that” shoppers in neighborhoods without grocery stores.

Most bodegas have earned a “Cheers” type of prestige where after a few visits you become best friends with the clerk. Seriously, bodega clerks are some of the coolest people on the planet. They become hang-out spots and the epicenter of any tight-knit community. Their prices are just as friendly. You might be dropping about 5 bucks for a gallon of milk at the grocery store while you can score one for a buck fifty at your local bodega.

Lemme go back to the “only at the bodega” items that we love so much. Here are a few of my favorite items that you can score at any local bodega for a grand total of around 5 bucks.


Quarter Waters (Little Hugs) – Who needs coffee or Red Bull? These little plastic bottles are filled with enough sugary water to kill an elephant. These delectable beviez usually cost around a quarter a piece (hence the phrase, “quarter waters).

jasonlam, flickr

Pork Rinds – Yeah, sure, you can get pork rinds at any grocery store. But there’s something about the 99 cent bags in bodegas that taste more piggy and delicious.

Vox Efx, flickr

Plantain Chips – You can get a small bag of these from Trader Joe’s for a couple of bucks, or you can get em’ from the bodega for a couple cents. These starchy, salty chips are finger lickin’ good.

russelljsmith, flickr

Mini Donuts – The perfect go-to bodega snack. Get yourself a sleeve for a dollar or less and enjoy. Ya gotta go with the powdered ones, though.

Phillip Pessar, flickr

Jumbo Honey Bun – It might not be the most nutritious breakfast, but dayumn are these thangs tasty!

What are your favorite bodega snacks + items?  Comment below!