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Ethnic Groceries in NoVa

I thought of creating a "go-to" thread for various ethnic grocery stores in Northern Virginia.

Here are some that I frequent:

Ali Baba in Vienna -- good groceries, meats, pastries, excellent house-made fresh pita
Attila's on Columbia Pike -- just got some good feta and soujuk there.
----Neat molasses varieties. ("Turkish Market" I think it is called -- behind Attila's).
Lebanese Taverna market in Arlington
Halal market behind Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church
Gourmet Basket in McLean -- *great* pumpkin kibbe! good pita (Ali Baba is better).
-----good bulgarian feta. (does catering I understand).
-----decent prices on staples, like syrups, molasses, etc.
Mediterranean Bakery (thanks, The Matt), Pickett Street, Alexandria
----- also mid-east groceries, and fresh hummus, etc.

Mount of Olives (near Rabieng) for Greek items, including tarama.

Across from Cherrydale Safeway, "The Philippine Market" (?)

Duangarat's Grocery (next to Rabieng and Mount of Olives).
Bangkok 54 (I haven't been, but others recommend it).
Eden Center grocery
--------(i get their shredded green papaya, kaffir lime leaf, fresh rice noodles, pastes, etc.).
H-Mart, Grand Mart (thanks kt!).

India A-1 grocery across from MickeyD's in Arlington, near Glebe on 29.
----- (also have some Sri Lankan pastes, mixes, etc.)
(Does anyone know of the Indian - Sri Lankan grocery in Centreville? near 66?)

Euro-Latino Market (The place at corner of Pershing and Washington Blvd. -- reportedly Argentinian cuts of meat).
The place near Whole Foods in Clarendon (but I think it is expensive -- some items cost more than in Whole Foods!)
Bestway on Telegraph Rd. -- staples, proteins, offal (thanks monavano)

German Gourmet in Falls Church and near Bailey's Crossroads
-------(I like the original, on Rte. 29 better) (best wurst and cheese selection,
--------great mustards, condiments).
Heidelberg Bakery, Arlington (German mustards, wursts, fresh breads, pastries)
Swiss Bakery -- Springfield & Burke -- breads, pastries, cakes, gourmet foods

Latin: Euro-Latino Market (Argentinian?)
---- El Chapparal (Salvadoran?)

Please add your ideas. Thanks!

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  1. El Chapparel in Arlington for meats.

    The Lebanese Butcher for lamb and meats especially hard to find cuts.

    Then of course there is H-Mart and Grand Mart.

    1. (All spellings approximate)

      The Greek place you reference is called Mount of Olives, and it carries general Middle Eastern items as well. The Thai grocery is called, naturally enough, Duangrat's.


      Euro-Latina Market, corner of Washington Blvd and Pershing Dr in Arlington for Portuguese wine, also South American sausages and other meats.

      El Chapparal market, across Wilson from Whole foods, for meats (but, unfortunately, they seem to no longer offer ready-to-go empanadas).

      For Italian, the Italian Market at Spout Run & Lee Hwy (but Litteri's in DC is usually cheaper).

      Also, of course, all the H-Marts in Northern Va. for Korean and other East Asian items.

      Glad you mentioned that little Philippine place. In addition to specialty grocery items, their carry-out is great, particularly on Saturday when they have it all set out so you can see it, but I worry that no one knows it's there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gonzocook

        gonzocook, i remembered that euro-latino place while you were posting. thanks.

        i'm going to add in your names to my general post.

      2. Bestway on Telegraph Rd. just off the beltway for Latino foods. Great for staples and proteins, especially offal if you're looking for it.
        I buy chicken parts for stock. Just yesterday, I picked up 2 huge turkey legs to supplement my turkey carcass in making a stock for turkey vegetable soup. Cost me $3.80.
        Also great for fajita meat, oxtails and shanks for braising, and all sorts of chorizo.

        2 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          When I fire up the smokers for BBQ, I get all my untrimmed briskets and pork shoulder from Bestway. Decent whole fish selection as well.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            espn! I was thinking that it had been too long since I braised a brisket. In fact, I was eyeing many cuts and thinking mmmmmmmmm brasing *Homer Simpson voice*

        2. I'd add the Mediterranean Bakery in Alexandria on Pickett St. Another Lebanese place, I think, but they have many Middle Eastern groceries along with their house-made items like hummus, mujadarah, pitas, etc.

          Also, may or may not fit, but the Swiss Bakery does have a selection of European items: http://www.theswissbakery.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: TheMatt

            good point about swiss bakery, thanks.

          2. Reston/Herndon edition:
            - The big mart on Elden just off the square - sort of like an H-Mart but I forget the name - Latin focused with Asian stock

            - Asian - a great small market is in Herndon by Amphora's bakery (across the driveway and down a bit further towards Taste of the World.

            - I think it's an H-Mart that's up at Rt7 and Dranesville road, near Thai By Thai.

            - A Compare Foods is coming soon to Tall Oaks in Reston - I *think* it'll have a lot of ethnic offerings - unfortunately a market was there and closed (surprising me - I thought they were doing well).

            In the KMart center, there is at least one Salvadoran market (behind the McD's), an Indo-Pak place and a Mid-Eastern market (Halal?)

            1. Latin: The Glebe Market (N. Glebe Rd. and Pershing Drive) (forget about the place in Clarendon El Chaparral is ridiculous expensive).

              Persian: Nemooneh Bakery (the bakery is inside the Grocery Store). (4074 Walney Road Chantilly, VA 20151)

              1. Good list. Bangkok 54 market is INCREDIBLE. They had fresh kaffir limes (not just the leaves) on my last visit. Its the best small market in the area in my estimation.

                A few additions....

                -Yas Bakery in Vienna for the best barbari bread, plenty of persian cooking staples, and some good persian cookies (esp the walnut "macaroons")

                -That persian market next to Joe's Noodle House in Rockville...don't remember the name but the selection is nice, esp for produce.

                -the filipino market on Broad st in falls church city for hard to find condiments and weird filipino noodles.

                -Indian Spices (behind Cafe Nessma and Kasha's Kitchen) has good indian foodstuffs (MTR brand) and locally made south indian food in the refrigerator case (only ok, though the tamarind rice is quite good).

                -The Italian Store is good for a few things (bags of frozen sfogliatelle, calabro ricotta cheese)

                1 Reply
                1. re: CoconutMilk

                  Yekta Market is the Persian market.

                2. Anyone with a hankering for Eastern European delicacies should check this place out. I keep meaning to do that!


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bob W

                    That reminds me that in the Herndon KMart center I mentioned before is a Russian Gourmet. I believe they have another location in Rockville.

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      There's also a Russian Gourmet in Old Town near Rustico.

                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                        Been to the Russian market but didn't really know what to get!

                        Eden Market for Latin products on Route 1 in Alexandria just North of Krispy Kreme. Has a great Chorizo collection but I also go there for a variety of types of Queso Fresco. If you go, do yourself a favor and pick up some Oaxacan String Cheese - Try it in Quesadillas....

                        For those in DC, a Tiny (And I mean TINY!) Japanese market has opened at 7th and U - It may be small but it was PACKED with goods. Makes it easy to run there for some items instead of hoofing it to H mart. Last time I was there I met the owner - The old MaƮtre d' from Japan Inn on wisconsin (God I miss that place!)


                  2. No one has mentioned Lotte yet? One in Fairfax and the (new, huge) one in Chantilly.

                    1. Don't know/remember names, but I'll try to give people enough description so you can get there:
                      Indian -- In herndon, in the K-mart shopping center (elden and Post).
                      Bangladesh -- There is a whole line of Bangladeshi stores in Arlington at Lee Hwy and George Mason.
                      Thai/Asian -- Super H in Merrysville is probably the best
                      Sri Lankan -- There is one in Rockville...as soon as I remember where exactly, I'll add to the post
                      Lebanese Butcher people have mentioned, has hands down the best meat.
                      Italian - Italian store in Arlington at Lee Highway and Kirkwood (so if you were coming on Spout Run off of GW pkway, it's on the right at the light to lee Hwy, in the shopping complex with CVS).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pgwiz1

                        unless that bangladesh food market has changed, it was *VERY, VERY* thinly stocked, and, in my opinion, dirty.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          agreed on both -- tho most southeast asian grocery stores have a similar "dirty" issue, so I won't say it's totally out of the ordinary (aka It's no Whole Foods/Wegmens/Harris Teeter). The one I went to, I didn't think was that thinly stocked...they had regular groceries, as well as a meat counter in the back, and cases of frozen fish flown in from Baghladesh. All that said, *if* someone did want to go to a bangladeshi store, atleast they know where they can go.

                      2. Springfield:

                        Fresh World -- on Backlick in N. Springfield on the way to Annandale, site of the old Hechinger hardware store -- A huge general asian grocery with a lot of asian and central/south american product and staff. They have long aisles specifically dedicated to regions (Korea, Thailand/SE Asia, Japan, Mainland China, Mexico/Central America, etc) Lots of live and exotic seafood (including live Cobia), large butcher w/ sheep's head, ox tail, various chorizo, etc.

                        Dong Nam #1 Market -- on Backlick right where 95 and the Springfield-Franconia Pkwy meet, yellow shopping center. Semi-small Chinese-owned grocery with nearly everything.

                        Halal Market -- next to Dong Nam, pretty basic quick Middle Eastern/Indian stuff. Butcher on site.

                        New Afghan/Middle Eastern Market beside Jaxx "nightclub" at the intersection of Rolling Rd & Keene Mill Rd. Owned/operated by the owners of Afghan Kabob next door. Lots of interesting fresh stuff, "bulk bin" nuts & sweets, butcher on site, etc.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Russel Shank

                          DIdn't the Fresh World chain close?

                          1. re: Lori D

                            I don't know -- not the one in Spingfield, at least as of like a couple weeks ago. They have/had a Reston location too, right?

                            That Springfield ethnic grocery at Hechinger has gone through a couple of name changes. They still had the Fresh World signage displayed this past month.

                            What'd you hear?

                            1. re: Russel Shank

                              The one in Reston closed -150% certain on that one! Don't know about the chain. Tried googling.

                              1. re: Dennis S

                                I know the one in Reston closed, and apparently there was a branch in Glen Burnie that also closed.

                                This report says that the company filed for Chap 11 for the Springfield location: http://www.observernews.com/story08/n...

                        2. @alkapal

                          Out of curiosity and for fun, I just spent a couple hours combing through the google listed Asian markets/groceries in the DC area and made an East Asian grocery map. It's NoVa and DC heavy, some Md. I also set up a half-hearted S. Asian/Middle Eastern map also


                          No point to this really.. but it'd be cool if the area's specialty markets were mapped and reviewed in some uniform way (stock size, prices, unique items.).

                          If anyone here wants to help by checking that the little markets in your area are accounted for, then click the link, and put your address into the 'map search' area. It'll show your house, and you can zoom out to see the markets nearby. If I'm missing one, reply here, and let me know the address or name.

                          (East Asian markets/groceries for this map -- Chinese, Korean, Japanese, SE Asia-Thai/Burmese/Malaysian/Philippine/Indonesian/etc)

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Russel Shank

                            russel shank (aka carrick), all i can say is "YOU DA MAN!"

                            what a great service you have provided all of us. bravissimo!

                            1. re: alkapal

                              uh oh, don't blow my cover..

                              Anyway, if everyone thinks this is worth while, let me know and I'll expand it.. maybe make maps for African/Ethiopian groceries, serious Indian/Middle Eastern Map, Latin American, European/Gourmet shops, etc.

                              It might be fun to spend an afternoon or two hitting a handful of shops to take a couple pics and write summaries/reviews, but I don't have the passion(?) to go on a quest to map every one.

                              If enough people scope out the map, hit the ones in their area (or let us know which ones have closed, or which ones we've missed), there could be complete maps of all the ethnic markets in the D.C. area.

                              So, anyone see something in your neighborhood that I missed, or that you know is closed?

                              1. re: Russel Shank

                                Yep - just posted to the comments on the map.

                                Oh, and thanks, btw.

                                1. re: Dennis S

                                  Saw that man. Thanks. Look at the comment below for a budding Indian/Middle Eastern Map.

                                2. re: Russel Shank

                                  hey russel, it ain't a very good cover if you see your name when you click on the map and locations! ;-)).

                                  i'd love one for indian and middle eastern. i don't know how i'd put pictures onto your map, but it seems you know your way around the technology.

                                  thanks again; this is very generous of you.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Here's the budding Indian/Middle Eastern map...

                                    The way editing/creating maps works, is that the creator can grant access to select collaborators, or make it totally open to public editing. If you want, send me your email address and I'll put you on the collaborator list. Editing is pretty intuitive and self-explanatory, including uploading images, I think.

                                    I'm learning my way around the maps, but it seems like there's a way to combine the maps. If you open both maps in the same window tab (open one, then paste the address of the second in the URL bar and load it), then both lists will appear on the same map. I'm probably making this confusing. Basically, if you load maps in the same tab in a close amount of time, then Google remembers them, and lets you view more than one on the same screen/map. The titles of the individual maps will be located in the lower left corner. You just check the box next to each one, to make them appear.

                                    Here's a long list of Indian shops -- a few I know are closed though, and not all are food markets, so if this keeps up, I or someone could call and check.

                            2. Anyone know of an African grocery in Northern VA or DC? I'm looking for some palm oil and want to try some other African ingredients.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: BonApetit

                                There is an African market at North Market and 7th Street in Frederick. They have a lot of interesting stuff, including some scary-looking dried sea creatures. I'm sure they have palm oil.

                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                  There used to be one on 18th in AM downtown. Just 2-3 blocks up from U on the West side of the street in an English basement type of space - but I haven't even been in that area for over a year at this point.

                                2. re: BonApetit

                                  Poke around the Ehiopian/Somali markets off of Seminary Rd in Va. There is bound to be palm oil somewhere. Maybe even try Fresh World off of Blacklick in Franconia/Annandale, or similar Asian/Latino big supermarkets, they seem to have everything.. especially places that any Thai stuff.