Published: September 21, 2011
800 N. Rolling Road, Catonsville, (443) 612-9020, hmart.com
There must be a logic to why every supermarket entrance opens into the produce section, instead of encouraging you to load up on nonperishable stuff first, but that’s neither here nor there. When you go to H Mart, it’s important to be aware of the all-out melee you’re about to step into and mentally steel yourself against the throng of shoppers all as distracted as you are by the dizzying array of edible flora on display here. Occupying an area that would normally house a supermarket’s entire selection of vegetables is H Mart’s selection of greens—just greens. A ton of hot-pepper varieties? Check. But how about, like, six types of eggplant, fresh turmeric rhizomes, banana flowers, or a big box of Taiwanese basil for about two bucks? Oh yeah, it’s also cheap as hell, and regarding the basil, herbs in general here are the best deal anywhere. Fruit is equally well represented, with huge bins full of unfamiliar citruses, sometimes with leaves and stems attached—massive Korean pears, those awesome Japanese peaches, even dragonfruit and durian. And the root-vegetable section—you know you’re someplace special when there are 20 things and only three have the word “potato” in the name.