Best Place to Buy Food You’ve Never Heard Of

Hana Japanese Market
2004 17th St. NW, (202) 939-8853
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
The first rule of Hana Market is you don’t talk about Hana Market. Otherwise, the onigiri rice balls will be sold out by noon. Rule No. 2 is don’t peruse the market’s overstuffed aisles in a hurry because there’s so much to be discovered. Some snacks, like brightly colored mochi balls and boxes of Pocky sticks, will look familiar, but branch out by picking up packets of instant curry, frozen boxes of natto, trays of sea urchin, an array of Japanese vegetables, and bottles of C.C. Lemon that best Gatorade any day. Hana Market, owned by Ikuyo and Yoshio Tanabe, evolved out of a travel agency, and D.C. is better for it.