Monday, February 17, 2014


A few years ago, HMart opened down the road from my apartment.  At first, I didn't notice, but eventually became curious, but sadly not curious enough to go to HMart.  Which is odd, because few places bring me greater joy than a grocery store, but I still always managed a way to find an excuse not to go. 

Finally, Christmas Day came and I needed to be scarce for a few hours.  With most of Central Jersey closed in observance of the birth of Jesus, I was sorely in need of a place to avoid the cold and be amused.  After striking out at a few local supermarkets, I remembered HMart.  Knowing they were an Asian market, I thought perhaps they would be open and they were.  Inside, I enjoyed the delights of a new grocery store, which had durian fruit in two locations in the store and durian ice pops for the daring who do not desire to take a knife to a giant fruit.  I only ended up buying a pepper that day, because I didn't have a plan, but vowed to return, like McArthur.

With today a federal holiday, there was no better time to return to HMart.  I was well aware they are the only place in the area I know which regularly sells duck eggs and I planned to make sweet and sour chicken tonight, which requires ginger.  This was sufficient to get me to go HMart.

First, a word about duck eggs.  For 34 years, I was unaware there were better eggs than chicken eggs, but this summer at the farmer's market, they were selling duck eggs for the same price as chicken eggs, which was worth the plunge.  Duck eggs differ from chicken eggs primarily in the yolk, as there is far more yolk, the best part of the egg, in a duck egg than in a chicken egg. 

So, off I went, to a well plowed parking lot, ready to shop in a new supermarket.  Upon entering, the first thing I notice is how large the produce section is.  They have an amazing selection, containing a large variety of fresh and some frozen produce, which makes sense when you deal in exotic produce.  I once again bypassed the durian fruit and considered the Asian Sweet Potatoes to finally find some fresh ginger. 

After procuring my ginger, I took a walk around the produce section and saw the most poorly named product in human history, rape flower.  A more unfortunately translation I could not imagine, as the Asian language version of the name was written below.  I am well aware of rapeseed oil, but I cannot imagine, even I, the least sensitive consumer imaginable, would want to walk up to the cashier with rape flower in my basket.  But should I change my mind or need an offensively named item from the produce section, HMart is there for me.

The fish section was even more amazing, with live fish, whole fish, filleted fish, frozen fish.  Just an impressive selection, though it evoked a sadness in me that I had no idea how to prepare a fish not fully filleted for me.  I looked at all of these wonderful seafood items and realized most of them were so far outside the realm of what I could cook and had to pass, but someday I must learn to work with a whole fish. 

What really struck me at this point, aside from the amazing cleanliness of the store, were the giant-sized packages.  I don't think I saw meat packaged in less than three pounds, saw more fruit packaged by the case than I can accept, cases of ramen and 25 pound bags of rice.  I was confused, because I couldn't imagine needing food in this quantity. But there it was, all over the store.

Finally, I managed to find noodles in packages for one person and obtained some soba noodles, which are likely the most underrated food in history, since people fail to appreciate how great buckwheat is.  With my items in tow, I head to the register, purchase my items and head home happy with my second trip to HMart.

In all honesty, I cannot tell you how much this particular entry just sucks.  You missed the misspelling of about 30 words, which is 32 words more than usual and any threads of a meaningful story just fell apart.  If I didn't know better, I would say I was having a stroke given the way the words are failing to come to me, but more likely, I'm just getting old, which is a far worse fate. 

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