|Shoppers enjoyed a variety of samples cooked in the store on opening day.|
Shoppers at the new Lotte Plaza Market at the renovated Ravensworth Shopping Center found a wide selection of exotic fruits, vegetables, and seafood – and lots of free samples – on the Asian grocery store’s opening day Dec. 19.
|The Ravensworth Plaza parking lot was full on Lotte's first day.|
The new store replaces a Safeway, which lost its lease when the owner of the shopping center embarked on a makeover project. The renovation was completed last summer.
|If you need lemongrass for a recipe, you'll find it here (second from right).|
It’s the 11th Lotte store in the local grocery chain, which was founded in Maryland in 1976. There are four others in Virginia – in Fairfax, Chantilly, Ashburn, and Centreville. The Lotte website identifies the new store as the Annandale Lotte, although the postal address lists it as Springfield.
|A belt fish, on sale for $2.99 a pound, reduced from $3.99.|
Although the company was founded by Korean Americans and has a wide selection of Korean items, the stores have since branched out to serve a broader array of ethnic groups in Northern Virginia.
|Indian bitter melon, in the middle.|
“We have a bigger selection of produce, fresh seafood, and meat and lower prices than Giant or Safeway,” said Alvin Lee, the president of Lotte Plaza Market, at the new store. As examples, he cited dragon fruit, live crawfish, Chilean sea bass, and black tiger shrimp. Live lobster is just $5.99 a pound, he said, and fresh salmon is $4.99. He also noted the store has items geared to Latino, African, and Middle Eastern communities, and that a quarter of his customers are non-ethnic Americans.
|There's a large variety of fish, including snapper and striped bass.|
The Annandale Lotte Plaza is running a contest for shoppers at its Annandale store through the end of the year, with prizes including $2,000 and 10 40-inch LED Samsung TVs. To enter, customers are asked to write their contact information on their receipts. The winners will be selected on Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.
|Some of the fish are sill alive.|
The Annandale store sells cookware, paper products, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics, as well as groceries. It has a ready-to-eat market but doesn’t have a bakery or pharmacy.
|Asian specialties can be purchased and eaten in the store.|
|Chickpeas and lentils from India.|
|Middle Eastern dairy products.|