A Chef can get Creative in Arlandria. Best International Grocery Stores in Arlington & Alexandria

It's no secret that some of the best ethnic foods will be found in the suburbs.  Arlington & Alexandria is no exception.  We spent a cold Saturday morning exploring a few different international markets in the area.  Here's what we found:

First stop was Americana Grocery at 6128 Columbia Pike.  This shop has a good selection of latino foods and groceries.  One of the larger international markets, it also includes foods from Peru, which means there is a great variety. Staff was nice and produce was also pretty good.

Next was the Mercado Latino & African just up the road from Americana Grocery at 4611 Columbia Pike.  A much smaller store, it has a small variety of mostly latino products.  We didn't see a ton of African products, which we were excited for.  But the staff was friendly and helpful.

 Mercado Latino and African on Columbia Pike in Arlington.

Mercado Latino and African on Columbia Pike in Arlington.

Further north in the Lyon Park section of Arlington, we visited European Foods Import Export, at 2700 N Pershing Dr.  While the 'European' name was a little misleading, it was a great market.  Most of the products were Brazilian, Portuguese and Spanish, but were things we had never seen in this area, including specific brands imported chorizos and even canned octopus.  This place is small, but packs a punch.

For some Asian products, we stopped by Bangkok 54 Oriental Food Market at 2927 Columbia Pike.  Next to a restaurant of the same name, this market sells all sorts of Thai and Southeast Asian ingredients and foods.  We found Thai flavored Lay's chips, fresh bamboo shoots as well as frozen silk worms, all for a good price.

All the markets introduced us to products we had never seen and set off our imaginations of exotic dishes to try at home.  On top of the excitement of our senses being bombared by new and exciting prospects, the prices at these markets were very good!  

PROTIP:  Start at one end of Columbia Pike and work towards the other, most of the international markets are located along the Pike.

Any other markets we should check out in Arlington & Alexandria?  Let us know in the comments!