(I wrote this on Yelp! first.)
The produce here is phenomenal and it's the best reason to go. It's so fresh and the selection is huge. There are Asian fruits and vegetables that I'd never heard of before. There are also things I'd heard of, read on restaurant menus, but had never seen what it looks like before. And whenever I take something home and cut into it, the fresh scent is amazing. Cucumbers, mango, avocado, you name it--it can be found here and it will be great.
This is an international grocery store focussing mostly on Asian foods, so you'll find a huge variety of rice and soy products, anything you'll need for Asian cooking. My husband lived in Okinawa and traveled through South Korea and has found some of his favorite brands here. I'm gluten-free so the abundance of rice products makes shopping and cooking a breeze for me.
Neither of us are seafood eaters, but they have a huge selection of fresh critters from the water. Some are still alive! There's often a bucket of clicking-clacking blue crabs hanging out for sale.
There are limited Mexican, South American, and Middle Eastern brands and a handful of familiar American brands. (If you can't find an American brand you're looking for, check out the CVS on the other side of the shopping center.)
Downsides: The dairy is iffy. All the cheese and milk I've gotten from there has gone bad much sooner than it should have. (But it was great for the first day or two.) Some of the dairy is beyond expiration dates on the shelves, so check carefully. Also, the smell of the fish market wafts throughout the whole store. It can be distracting. It's somewhat disorganized--coffee and coffee filters are in two different aisles on opposite ends of the store. The selection of beer and wine isn't great. And if you're wary of products from China, read the labels carefully because a lot of stuff is imported from there.
But all the fresh stuff is so cheap! The bill is never as high as I think it's going to be. And fruit is healthier than cheese, so maybe I shouldn't be buying so much dairy anyway.
E Mart International Grocery
8100 Arlington Blvd.
Falls Church, VA