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Really good Chinese Grocery Sought

  • j

Does anyone know of a really good Chinese grocery in the DC area, one that caters to Chinese people who are particularly discerning? I am about to move back to DC after several months in China and have amassed a slew of recipes that call for particular vinegars, chili peppers, etc., and not sure I know of a place to get them. I would much prefer not to have bring vinegar home from China with me!!

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  1. Don't know for sure..you might better stuff a good supply in your suitcase.

    We look forward to sampling your new found treasures...

    Jim Zurer
    Washington DC

      1. While not "Chinese" in terms of ownership, any of the Lottes in Northern Virginia will have the ingredients you seek. Including the meats and other hard to find items (like the vinegars).

        1. We've been impressed with Lotte Oriental Supermarket, 11790 Parklawn Dr., in Rockville, MD. 301-881-3355.

          Whether it will meet your specifications is, of course, unlear. I can say, however, that: we're usually among the only non-Asian shoppers; and many of the products have no English language identifying information, leaving us t wonder what they are!

          1. For Chinese, the best I've found is Maxim's in Rockville. The Lotte's have a good selection of Chinese and Japanese ingredients, as does Han ah Rheum in Merrifield.

            1. Hi James.

              There are quite a few Chinese grocery stores around. Polly mentioned Maxim's in Rockville. Right behind them is Kim Sam. I acutally like them better because they are cleaner and more of them speak Cantonese--my dialect.

              The Lotte stores are actually Korean owned but there are many "crossover" items used in both cuisines. The same goes for the grocery stores at Eden Center near Seven Corners. Many Vietnamese-Americans are of Chinese ancestry. You can, of course, go to Chinatown too.

              Good luck.


              1. It's been challenging to find such a place on the Virginia side. The only one I've found thus far is KAM SAN, off of Little River Turnpike. It's in the same center as A&J Restaurant (I believe it's Markham Street). The Chinese grocery store does not have an extensive produce section, but they have lots of Chinese sauces and sundry items.

                Good luck!

                1. James, I go to Oriental Market at Rockville Pike and Edmonston, but I cannot say how it ranks on an absolute scale. It suits my modest needs, however. The important thing is that you let us know when you get back how your search turns out.

                  1. The best oriental grocers bar none is actually outside Ellicott City on old Rt.40. Unfortunately I can't remember the name, I do know it has 2 words in it perhaps Han something. It's about 10 miles from Rt. 70 and not to far from Ellicott City. Fresh seafood, fishies swimming in tanks, a produce dept.that is a riot of unpronouncable veggies, a bakery and the sounds of many ethnic tongues reverbarating off the walls. I live in WV and travel an hour or more depending on traffic to get there. It's definitely worth the trip!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Michel
                      Michael Mckenna

                      The place in Baltimore is called Han Ah Reum and is actually in Catonsville on Rt 40 about one mile west of I-695. The grocery story is Korean run but carries a lot of different Asian styles of food. They have every conceivable exotic fruit and vegetable, a fresh fish market and a good selection of meats as well as an entire aisle of soy, oyster and fish sauces.

                      Two miles further west on rt 40 at Rt 29 in Ellicott City is Lotte Plaza which is also a Korean grocery store with a slightly smaller selection.

                      In Falls Church, VA is the Eden Shopping Center where every store in the strip center is Vietnamese run. There are two small grocery stores. The larger one has a good canned ingrediants selection with fresh produce and fish as well.

                      Don't bother with the DC Chinatown near the MCI Center for groceries. The restaurants cater primarily to the tourist trade.

                    2. The Chinatown bus to NYC is $15 round trip. It leaves from next-door to Full Kee at 3:30 a.m. and puts you in NYC Chinatown on E. Broadway, near the large bridge. It leaves NYC at 6:00 p.m. If you can't find it in NYC Chinatown, I'd guess you're screwed. Although I'd be happy to hear if you found stuff more locally.


                      P.S. Asian Foods on University Avenue in Wheaton seems to have a wide variety of condiments, particularly Indonesian ones. Whether this would extend to Chinese, I don't know, but it might be worth a look.

                      1. Great Wall Grocery in Fairfax! The fish wall is worth a trip just to see. Enjoy!

                        1. Wow, talk about resuscitating old threads! I was wondering why James G, who now is actually living in China full time, would have posted this, but finally saw the dates of everything up to the last post. Interestingly, just about everything that was said then is still reasonably true. Of course, Great Wall didn't exist at the time of the original post, nor did Super H in Fairfax IIRC.