New Green Traditions

Why H Mart Might Be Your Best Source For St. Patrick's Day Food

If you really want to go green this year, think outside the box.

By Joanna O'Leary March 14, 2018

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If it's green, there's no reason it can't be part of your party spread.

No, it's not because this supermarket chain specializing in Asian groceries is known for its pre-made corned beef and cabbage, diverse selection of soda breads (with and without raisins!) and/or Irish breakfast demonstrations.

The small minority of Americans who celebrate St. Paddy's Day by eating or preparing only real Irish food should head to Central Market or Whole Foods for the aforementioned. But if you're looking to chow down on green snacks in between Irish car bombs, H Mart may be your best bet. Especially since according to the special app on my phone, there's nary a McDonald's in Houston offering Shamrock Shakes.

If the “O'Leary” part of my name didn't clue you in, I'm half Irish and therefore ethnically obligated to celebrate the feast of St. Patrick over multiple days. I like a mix of the vulgar and the authentic when it comes to my edibles, so while I will be making a big buttery pot of colcannon, I will also be unabashedly consuming green snacks and drinks. It doesn't particularly bother me if their hue is derived from artificial sources, but naturally verdant foods are always preferable and usually taste better.

And H Mart has tons of them. There are the obvious staples: seaweed salad, endless varieties of Asian leafy greens for a powerhouse Paddy Day salad, jarred green curries, and multiple types of green tea. However, I suggest adding to your basket those harder-to-find (at least in Western stores) emerald goodies, such as dried seaweed or kelp snacks, matcha mochi, or green tea chocolate pies. On a recent visit, I also spotted green tapioca pearls (perfect for a shamrock pudding) and green fish roe, the latter of which I plan to use as a garnish for my Irish cheddar cheese platter. Melon-flavored milk is also on hand to help you rehydrate in between swigs of Guinness.

Yes, sourcing your St. Patrick's Day spread from an Asian supermarket may not fit into your idea of what is traditional, but remember, if you want to be truly traditional in accordance with history, you'd be serving your guests uncooked potatoes. Slainte!

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