A mere two stops past Manhattan on the 6 line (or a 15-minute cab ride from Harlem) stands Foodfest Depot, a 98,000-square-foot space in the industrial Port Morris section of the South Bronx that's the international grocery store of your dreams.
Catering to mom-and-pop restaurant owners and adventurous-but-savvy food shoppers alike, the store is members-only by only the loosest of standards: it takes less than a minute to fill out the membership form and costs nothing to join. You read that right: zilch.
And because products are sold in bulk, prices are much lower than at your typical New York City grocery store. Plus, there are always specials.
Inside you'll find an astonishing variety of groceries sold in bulk, from basics like milk, oil and sugar to specialty products like Nutella spread and Vita Coco coconut water.
But the real draw is the row upon row of hard-to-find international items, including an impressive selection of products from Latin America (glass bottles of Jarritos soda in a rainbow of flavors) and Africa (bulk bags of fonio, a "super grain" from West Africa).
There's plenty of perishable food, too, from a wide range of produce to an entire walk-in frozen section, though when I was there some of the leafy vegetables seemed past their prime.
On a recent Sunday I took baby steps and left with a small cart's worth of Greek products: a three-liter tin of Creta Verde extra virgin olive oil ($23.95) and some stuffed grape leaves. But I vowed to come back soon and stock up on quinoa, beans and laundry detergent. Oh, and maybe a tub of that white sauce the halal cart guys put on their chicken and rice. It wouldn't take long to go through a gallon of that, would it?