Bodega Latina, Richmond
Bodega Latina is a local chain of Latino grocery stores. While its product line caters mainly to the Mexican and El Salvadoran community, you can find products made in Brazil, Peru, and any other parts of Latin America. The staff is almost exclusively native and they will take the time to explain what an obscure ingredient is used for.
What to buy: I no longer have to order my Antarctica guarana (in tins, a 12-pack, or a multi-litre plastic bottle), Yoki cheese bread mix, or Uniao coffee from that website based in Miami. Not only that, if you're looking for Inca Cola (which I tried at a Peruvian restaurant) or Malta India (which I tried at a Cuban restaurant), you can get the former in tins or in a 2-litre bottle and the latter in various sizes of bottles. There are three locations in the Richmond area: Tuckernuck Shopping Center: 9046 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23294 (804) 747-8224; Colonial Shopping Centre: 9020 Quioccasin Road, Richmond, VA, 23229 (804) 741-5800; Stratford Hills Shopping Centre: 2801 Hathaway Road, Richmond, VA 23225 (804) 726-4700. When I was there last, I got Goya mollo criollo (a type of citrus marinade) and some Mexican Rice mix at the Tuckernuck location. Due to more floor space at Quioccasin, I found some Brazilian coffee Caboclo by Uniao, churro mix, and Salvadoran sweet bread which looks like it was run over by a car (the design looks like tyre marks). They sell the guarana in 12 packs at the Quioccasin location too. I couldn't help but laugh at the Bimbo bread too.
What to pay: Prices are much more reasonable here than ordering from the many online stores and that's not even factoring in postage and handling.