Odds are you won’t find fresh banana flowers in your local supermarket. Nor, for that matter, floss halvah, beef kibbeh, warm simit, or house-made kimchi. For authentic international products, most markets in North Jersey, no matter how big nor how global, won’t do. Sure, you might find ethnic products at conventional food emporiums, but when you need or want something more exotic than soy sauce or bok choy, do yourself — and your family — a favor and go to one of the many local ethnic markets that offer uncommon ingredients and novel foods. You may not only discover the captivating spots your ex-pat neighbor shops to make the aromatic dishes that has you salivating each time you pass their door but a wonderful world of new tastes and flavors.
H Mart, Englewood, Little Ferry, Leonia, Fort Lee and Ridgefield
Put on good walking shoes to get around this Asian market, a national chain with five locations in North Jersey (another is planned for Paramus). It’s huge — and its wide aisles are filled with just about anything you could want, and then some. Kimchi (sliced, whole, cubed, stuffed, with oysters, with extra garlic; some in 7-pound jars), ramen (including Nongshim, Korea’s No.1 brand), rice (sweet, brown, mixed grain, some sold in backbreaking 25-pound bags), seaweed (dried, seasoned, roasted), plus a vast selection of produce (chive flowers, bamboo shoots, sesame leaves, banana flowers, 1½ foot-long Chinese beans, lotus root…), fish (you name it, they have it), meat (ditto).