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Specialty food & grocery stores in District?

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I'm new to DC (I live in Dupont) and am having trouble finding where the little specialty groceries and stores are. In particular, I'm looking for the following:

1) A good Asian market. Preferably one with great produce as well?

2) Someplace where I can buy English pickle. Also sometimes called 'farmhouse pickle'?

3) Eastern European pickles. And pickled vegetables of all kinds. At non-Whole Foods prices. Maybe someplace Polish- or Bulgarian-owned?

4) A place with a big selection of lentils, flours, rice, etc available in bulk.

5) Lebanese or Middle Eastern grocery.

Admittedly, a long list of wants, but I have to believe there's stuff out there other than Whole Foods and Trader Joe's? Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!

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  1. There is very little within the District, though check out:
    Hana Market is Japanese, between Adams Morgan and U Street. You can walk there from Dupont.
    Rodman's has a lot of interesting specialty goods, certainly Eastern European, some Indian and Middle Eastern. It's between Tenleytown and Friendship Heights (red line) on Wisconsin Avenue.

    Some of the Safeways actually have a pretty good international section. The one that is being renovated in upper Georgetown had a surprising selection of Eastern European and English goods. You should seek out some other Safeways, perhaps, though I doubt the one near you on 17th Street is strong in this regard. You might consider the Giant at Columbia Heights (green/yellow lines) and investigate their international section.

    Metro-accessible in the suburbs: (You should do a search on the board for a more comprehensive list):
    Yekta Market is Persian I think and pretty awesome. Twinbrook metro (red line) - although you have to walk along a rather unhospitable street to get there, it's doable.

    Kam Sam supermarket is an Asian market, definitely has produce and tons of stuff. Rockville metro (red line) - also a significant 15-20 minute walk from the metro.

    Eden Center market - Vietnamese, with lots of produce. West (or East? I always mix those up) Falls Church metro, with 15 minute walk.

    Also, Ethiopian markets, of which there are certainly many metro-accessible in DC proper, are a good option for lentils, etc. I don't know of any in particular, but this is a start:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/638252

    1. I find that this blog is very helpful in locating ethnic markets:
      http://www.eatwashington.com/

      1. There are a few H Marts in the area. The one I go to is in Wheaton. It's about a 20 min. walk from the Metro station -- or, there is a bus you can catch at the Metro station that goes up GA Ave. (I think it's the Y Bus). For an Asian market with great produce, this is the place.

        www.hmart.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: woodleyparkhound

          That's a great tip, thank you!

        2. The Florida Ave Market has a TON of specialty foods stores, although most sell food in bulk for local restaurants. There are several asian markets, meat lockers, a restaurant supply store, a decent Italian market, etc. It's metro accessible, but I wouldn't recommend walking there (at least alone), considering a) it's not in the best neighborhood, and b) you'll probably come out with more food than you'd ever want to carry on the metro.

          Ditto to hamster on Ethiopian Markets. I like Dukem's on U Street. And, although you probably knew this already, Yes! Organic sells rice, lentils and spices by the ounce (at least at the Adams Morgan location). Once you realize you're paying a 700% markup for spices at the grocery store, there's really no reason not to buy at Yes.

          Here are links to a really nifty market directory and other info on the market:

          http://www.scribd.com/doc/19889319/Fl...
          http://capitalcitymarket.blogspot.com/
          http://www.pps.org/great_public_space...

          1 Reply
          1. re: SouthShore

            Thanks to all for the tips! I've already checked out the Hana Market (Japanese), which is definitely the real deal.