I went to the market today. Not my usual shopping at Safeway. Nope. Today I went to H-Mart. For me, going to H-Mart is a trip to an exotic location. I am fascinated and nervous at the same time. It’s a grocery store (I go to the grocery store practically every day) but filled with so many things I have never seen or heard of before and other things that I’ve only read about in novels and cookbooks. I am out of my shopping comfort zone (eek!) but all the same I can’t help but linger and cruise the aisles just to see all the unusual offerings.
I’m sure this seems a bit over the top. It’s just a grocery store, after all. But not to me. To me, it’s an adventure. They sell whole fish, with eyeballs staring at me from the ice bucket! Cactus leaves! Multiple varieties of organ meat!
At my core I am just a simple Midwestern girl. Right now this Midwestern girl is living in a large East coast metropolitan area – an area with a large international contingent. There are many things that I don’t like about living here. (Let’s just say that crowds and noise are not my favorite and leave at that for now.) However, there are also advantages to living in this big metro area. Restaurants for every global cuisine you could imagine, for one thing. Prefer to cook your global cuisine? No problem! We’ve got H-Mart (that’s the bigger, supermarket type place) and we’ve got smaller hole-in-the-wall markets. Just in my town alone there are multiple middle Eastern and Indian markets as well as a Polish market. Drive a few miles further and find even more choices. Despite the fact that I have travelled a lot, most of these trips have been domestic. I have been to 48 of the 50 US states but not as many other countries. America has wide variety in its many regions but when compared to the rest of the world, the states are more similar than different.
If you too live in a large metropolitan area with a variety of food markets, I say take advantage of the opportunity to see with your own eyes something you’ve only read about. If you don’t live near an H-Mart or a specialty food market, take a minute to look at my pictures from the store today and just imagine you came shopping with me.
Sometimes you can see the world just by going down the street and around the corner.