Walking into an ALDI supermarket can feel a bit like walking into a Whole Foods in a parallel universe—the decor is similar, but everything is cheap as hell and you have to pay a quarter for a shopping cart.
The discount retailer is pumping $30 million into store redesigns in the D.C. area, including the location in D.C. proper (901 17th St. NE). Hopefully this will combat the misconception that ALDI isn’t up to the level of its competitors.
While it’s true that ALDI’s shelves aren’t overstuffed with ritzy things like three stalks of asparagus in water, the Germany-based supermarket provides plenty of staples, as well as some oddball treats. Find your way to the best ALDI has to offer, PAC-MAN style:
ALDI has a ton of nuts and dried fruit, from plain old pistachios to chili-lime cashews and crystallized pineapple. Bonus points for everything being close to half-off prices at other stores.
Here you can gobble up European chocolates—level up with strange flavors like strawberry yogurt-filled bars and caramel brownie German chocolates. The natural fruit tropical popsicles are also not to be missed. This is also the section where you can find some of the only non-ALDI brands, like bags of Haribo gummy bears for under a buck.
Admittedly, this can be ALDI’s weakest area, but you can score some bonus fruit points. The mangos, bulk pears, and kiwis are always delectable and a total steal. The avocados are also usually perfectly ready to ripen in a day or two, and often sold for a dollar a piece.
The bread selection is great, with sourdough loaves, everything bagels, and English muffins. Gain a huge power up from all those carbs—keep a lookout for the gigantic Italian circle loaf with a 16-inch circumference.
Chia seed-infused fruit juices and individual cold brew coffees with almond milk are among various gems.
High score alert! You can assemble a cheese plate gourmet enough to impress dinner party guests thanks to ALDI’s cheese aisle. There are surprisingly luxurious offerings like mature Irish cheddar and brie, as well things you didn’t even know you wanted like cheese wrapped in prosciutto, bourbon-infused gouda, and the ever-elusive cheese curds. Game over. You win.
Illustration by Stephanie Rudig