Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thrifty Tip #3: Shop at Ethnic Groceries

I am a big fan of shopping at the various ethnic groceries around Baltimore. One of our favorites, H Mart, formerly named Han Ah Rheum, is a giant Korean grocery store that is the size of a grocery store like a Safeway. They have great prices not only on various Asian products but also serve a large Indian and Latino population. Their produce prices* are the cheapest I've seen and you can find many vegetables and fruits both exotic (fresh durian or rambutan anyone?) and not (green beans, 5 kinds of eggplants) for sale.

To illustrate my point, I'd like to share our grocery purchases last night in its entirety:

2 avocados
3 Chinese eggplant
large bundle Swiss chard
4 bunches green onion
2 blocks fried bean curd
1 savoy cabbage
40 fresh thai peppers
3 baby napa cabbage
1 package hon-shimeji mushrooms
5 large cucumbers
1 large package rosemary
5 limes
2 lb green beans
2 lb bananas
1/4 lb snow peas
1 large (very fresh!!) knob ginger
1 lb fresh strawberries (only 99 cents!)
1 large package dried shiitake mushrooms
2 instant ramen
1 lb package crab stick (for sushi)
2 lb bag cellophane noodles
1 pack rice stick noodles
1 pack vegetable noodles
1 pack bean thread noodles
8 oz pickled ginger
1 package yogurt chew candy
1 bottle oyster sauce
1 bag panko
1 lb frozen squid
1 lb frozen mussels
1 large bottle rice vinegar
5 lb sushi rice
1 large bottle dark soy sauce
1 large bottle rice cooking wine
1 package shiitake and tomato noodles
2 packages nori
1 lb frozen masago (for sushi)
1 large bag frozen vegetable dumplings
1 large bag frozen mixed seafood dumplings
1 large bag frozen pork and chive dumplings
32 oz jar kimchee
1 bag tapioca pearls (for bubble tea)
1 large bag green tea mix for bubble tea
12 pack Coke

All for $103.

*If you are lucky enough to live in a city with a ethnic neighborhood like a Chinatown, that is a good place for cheap, varied produce as well. NPR highlighted this in an story last week.