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Aug 29, 2007 09:53 AM

Japanese grocery, SS area, (Wheaton, Bethesda, Rockeville)?

Hi -

I want to try my hand at making California rolls; and then moving on to other rolls. I would like to find a good local source of ingredients and tools. Anyone have a recommendation for a Japanese grocery with fresh stuff and a helpful staff to start me out? Preferably in Silver Spring (but could range to Wheaton, Bethesda or Rockville).

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  1. There's Daruma in Bethesda (6931 Arlington Rd), but I don't know how fresh their produce is, they seem to specialize more in imported goods. Also, I don't know how friendly they are because I think they only speak Japanese there.

    If you want a big selection of produce & fresh fish, I'd suggest a korean grocery store instead. Try the Han Ah Reum in Wheaton (12015 Georgia Avenue ).

    2 Replies
    1. re: SandpaperTongue

      There is also Maruichi Foods in Rockville, 1047 Rockville Pike. I don't think they have fish but they'll have the other things you need for sushi.

      They certainly speak English at Daruma, and they do sell fish for sushi last I looked, although I have never bought any so I can't vouch for it. (Their prepared foods are only mediocre but they're kind of the only game in town.) They seem reasonably helpful to me but I've been going there a long time and the woman who's usually there seems to recognize me, and if I recall correctly she got noticeably more friendly after she found out that I knew a tiny bit of Japanese. So my experience may not be representative.

      1. re: SandpaperTongue

        My Japanese co-worker thinks highly of Daruma, if that's any help. I think there's another one that she recommended, but I can't remember the name. I'll ask when she gets back from vacation.

        And I agree, Han Ah Reum will have just about everything you could want for sushi.

        Good luck. We tried our hand at making sushi once. It's a lot harder than it looks. It was tasty but not pretty.

      2. There is a small Japanese sushi carryout/grocery called Hinata on St. Elmo Ave. (basically on the back side of the big parking garage, fronting on st. elmo) that specializes in selling sushi quality fish. they don't have fresh produce, as I recall, but is a well stocked grocery store that I find friendlier than Daruma.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bachinskin

          Oh, I forgot about that one. I've never bought the fish but it is a tiny wonderful place. (That's Bethesda too, by the way.)

          1. re: wombat

            Actually - before getting any replies I ended up going to both Hinata Sushi on St. Elmo in Bethesda and Daruma in Bethesda (since I could reach both my Metro). The lady at Hinata was very helpful to me. She went around the grocery with me and pointed out each item I would need to make rolls; and even said don't buy this rice, it's too expensive. In addition Hinata had fresh imitation crab. The lady at Daruma was not as helpful and they had only frozen imitation crab. (Maybe the Japanese don't want imitation and they don't have a call to carry it as much). I think Hinata worked out very well. Now my daughter and I have to try our hand at making the rice and the rolls! Thank you.

            1. re: TwoCats

              Hinata was definitely the best choice, I used to go there (I moved) and eat sushi all the time and the amount of Japanese families that would come in and buy fish was quite large. The owners are also the nicest people in the world, and I think I almost died when I saw their daugher in a bee costume on halloween awhile back while stopping by.

              I bet if you ordered California rolls in there they would even explain how to make that.

              1. re: ookii

                Good idea Ookii - I think we will go in and order California Rolls.