Chefs on the prowl for hard-to-find ingredients know they've come to the right place as soon as the doors to Jay International Food open and the smell hits the nose — that acrid musk that fills the air at any Asian market worth its salt. The smell that tells you there is definitely every conceivable kind of dried fish and cephalopod in one corner of the store and a stock of their freshly killed brethren on ice in the other. At Jay's, the sauce selection alone is practically mind-blowing. The aisles are tightly packed with every imaginable variety of soy sauce (light, dark, thick, sweet, fruity), and they come not just in endless varieties, but also from different brand names. That smell is also wafting from the durians, nestled in next to leafy Chinese broccoli and Japanese yams, and not far from the fresh blocks of tofu. The store is compact, but Jay's uses every inch economically. And it's just that kind of ordered chaos that makes shopping at Jay's an experience and a beloved neighborhood gem.
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