Any produce stores/markets in chinatown?
I think I already may know the answer to this question since I've searched far and wide -- but is there really no "chinese market" in Chinatown? Anywhere to buy cheap produce?? I live in Chinatown and don't have a car and it's tough finding a place to buy dinner ingredients on a day-to-day basis! Anyone know of anything I may have missed?
The Giant up at 8th and O is actually pretty good, and not too far from Chinatown. There is also a supermarket at 11th and M/N that has a decent selection of ethnic foods and produce. You can get everything from njera to eel brood in brine to imported coke (made w/ real sugar) to whole rabbit there. Don't worry about the smell, you get used to it.
re: hill food
I remember Da Hua when they used to be on Eye St. Their prices were ok back when they had competition in chinatown, and they were the best grocery store, but as competitors dropped like flies, they raised their prices as all the suburbanites had to come to chinatown for groceries. Then, the grocery stores started appearing in the 'burbs, and with high rents and high prices, the rest is history
I live in Chinatown too. Unfortunately there aren't any places right here with groceries right now, but you have a few options for the next 6 months or so, until the Safeway opens in City Vista (5th and K):
-Peapod by Giant (you order online and they deliver to you). They usually have offers out there for something like $20 off your first order.
-Metro to any area grocery stores--closest one is the Giant in Shaw but there's also the Harris Teeter in Pentagon City. If it's a big food shop you can always cab back (annoying but might be necessary).
-Metro to Eastern Market
-Sign up for one of the flex cars in the area and use it when you need to drive to get groceries. I've also seen various ads for discounts and/or no sign up fee for these.
The only place that sells dry goods in chinatown is Dai Hsin, but they are rumored to be closing soon.
If you're looking for produce, and don't mind a bus/subway ride, there are many asian (Chinese and Korean) wholesale markets in NE, just south of NY Ave. along North Capitol St. Metro would be NY Ave./FL. Ave./Gallaudet stop.
Let me correct myself. These markets are off Florida Ave., a bit past North Capitol St. These "markets" are basically where the trucks offload their cargo when they arrive from out of state, like from NYC-chinatown.
The owners allow regular people to buy their stuff. I've bought stuff like 100 lb bag of rice, fish, chinese veggies, fruit in bulk (oranges, mangoes, etc.), condiments in bulk, seaweed in bulk, imitation crab, etc. It's interesting just to explore each warehouse. Anything you see at a chinese or korean market, they probably have, because they deliver to these markets.
There's even a heavy Jamaican/African presence selling butcher meats like goat, etc. The only thing you have to worry about is that this warehouse area is located in a shady area, but you should be fine if you go during the afternoon hours. If you had a car, you could drive there, but you would get a headache trying to park. The warehouses are generally open M-Sa from 6am - 3pm.
If you look on google maps, follow NY Ave towards NE. Look for the intersection with Florida Ave. Make a right onto O St. and then onto Florida Ave. Right before Gallaudet University, make a left onto 4th St., and make your immediate left onto Morse st.
All along 4th st., you can also find cheap stores like chinese stores that sell chinese goods and cheap t-shirts