Jim C. Lawson, author of "The Baltimore Ethnic Food Store Guide" (Ardmore Publications, $9.95), has selected the following six ethnic stores as his favorites:
1.Old World Delicatessen & Bakery and Old World Gourmet: Two locations offer Russian-style products made in the U.S. -- from yogurt to hunters' sausage. They also stock a variety of eastern European foods -- Lithuanian-style cheese, Bulgarian pickled tomatoes and Polish syrups. Try the Russian bread that is baked on the premises. The Old World Delicatessen & Bakery is located at 9118 Liberty Road in Randallstown (655-5157) and the Old World Gourmet is at Belvedere Market, 529 E. Belvedere Ave., Baltimore (323-2445).
2.Mastellone Deli & Wine Shop: Going to Mastellone's is the next best thing to going to Italy. The air smells seductively of garlic, cheeses and cured meats. Look for a fine selection of wines, Italian specialty foods, mozzarella cheese, hot sausages and cannoli. Located at 7212 Harford Road, Baltimore (444-5433).
3.Kapera's Bakery: During the week this is a wholesale operation only, but on the weekends you will find delicious poppy seed cakes, cheese cakes, nut rolls, sour dough bread and bow-tie pastries. The store also stocks some imported products from Poland, including honey, pickles and candy. Located at 3222 Foster Avenue, Baltimore (675-9093).
4.Shyam Foods: Mr. Lawson considers this one of the best Indian stores in the area. The selection of frozen foods ranges from chicken masala to lamb curry. The store also stocks nanan, puri and chapati breads, fresh produce and canned chutneys. Located at 1724 Woodlawn Drive, Baltimore (265-5119).
5.Egon Binkert Meat Products: Smoked meats -- from sausages to hams cured with salt and juniper berries -- hang near the front door. There are German and Swiss-style cold cuts that are made on the premises, country-style bacon, smoked pork loins and chops and German condiments. Located at 8805 Philadelphia Road, Baltimore (687-5959).
6.Big Boy's Worldwide Market: This is truly a one-stop shopping trip for a variety of cuisines from Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, the West Indies and India. You can find hot sauces from around the world, a wide variety of curry powders and fresh produce -- from lemon grass to mangoes and breadfruit. Located pTC at 218 N. Paca St., Baltimore (685-4080).