There’s a vegan I follow on Twitter who recently recommended to explore your local international market. I remembered that there is one not too far from us in the West End of Richmond that took over an abandoned Food Lion store. My daughter and I were up for an adventure the other day, so we went!
New Grand Mart is based in the D.C. area and is relatively new to the Richmond market. There are two locations in our metro area: Chesterfield and the one we visited in west Henrico. We were not disappointed with our visit. I was particularly impressed with the variety and quality of their produce! Their tofu selection is equally unbelievable. The variety of noodles, pasta, and rice is almost overwhelming!
They have food and spices from just about every country in the world and divide their aisles this way. Their Ramen noodles alone take up a whole aisle. They also have a huge assortment of spices, and these are placed within the aisles of country of origin. They carry what seems to be the entire Goya line of products, including four varieties of vegan refried beans!
So what did we buy?
- Exotic produce. We picked up an Asian pumpkin to make pumpkin curry, Chinese eggplant, fresh Thai chilies, dried Ancho chilies, apricots, and some Rambutan.
- Tofu. I bought a smaller pack of extra firm in a brand I’ve never tried before!
- Fresh rice noodles, which we have already prepared for a meal. Note to self: once cutting the noodles, separate each one before throwing them in the water to cook… they will not separate without help!
- Ramen. My daughter, who is not vegan, got a couple of instant bowl flavors to try, and I got a multi pack of spicy noodles which are vegan.
- Goya refried beans! Two of the four vegan flavors available. (I know. CHOICES!)
- Exotic condiments. We bought sweet chili sauce for dipping spring rolls, canned red curry paste, and a Jamaican Jerk seasoning paste. We’ve tried the chili sauce (AMAZING!) and the curry paste (better than what’s available in traditional American groceries) so far.
- Canned coconut milk. In a normal grocery store, you are lucky to have a choice between two brands. In this market, I think there were at least 8 different types/brands from which to choose. We’ve already used this in the pumpkin curry!
Will I go back? Absolutely. Not only did they have a wide variety of unusual produce, dry goods, and spices, but the store was clean, prices were very reasonable, and the employees were friendly. Will this be my main grocery shop? Probably not, but I will likely stop by on a monthly basis for spices and unusual produce at least.
If you’re not from the D.C. or Richmond area, I’m sure there is an international market in your area, especially if you live in our near a metropolitan area. Don’t be afraid to check it out! You never know what you will find!
Do you shop at international markets? What are some of your favorite products you’ve found? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.