Sisters Sougol Mollaan and Sahel Dadras run Yekta, a Persian market and restaurant that their father, Yadi Dadras, opened in Rockville in 1979. The market is a wonderland of fresh produce (pomegranates, quince, persimmons, lemon and limes with their leaves, and cucumbers); dried fruits (barberries and apricots); nuts and nut brittles; baked goods (all kinds of baklava, cookies and flatbreads); dairy products (labneh, a kind of strained yogurt, and mast-o-moseer, a Persian yogurt dip); olive oils; pomegranate molasses; spices—and so much more.
1488 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-984-0005, yekta.com
Hinata Sushi Carryout (and Market)
There are interesting finds in every nook and cranny of tiny Hinata Sushi Carryout (and Market) in Bethesda, owned by sushi chef Waka Sakita and his wife, Nobuko. You’ll find boxes of fresh daikon radishes and Japanese turnips on the floor below racks of Hello Kitty candies. Shelves are jam-packed with soy sauces, sesame oils, dashi powder (to make kelp and bonito stock, which is used often in Japanese cooking), dried soba and udon noodles, bags of rice, and other Japanese staples. Aficionados know to go here for the superlative sushi. Place your order with chef Sakita, then stock up on your Japanese essentials for the 20 minutes it will take for him to prepare it (take the sushi to go, or eat at one of the three tables in the front of the store).
4947 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda, 301-656-1009
Guru Groceries and Chaat House
Guru Groceries and Chaat House, a market and cafe, opened in Bethesda last July. Husband-and-wife owners Deepak and Madhu Khemka relocated to the new location when their lease expired after a nine-year run in Rockville. “A lot of our customers would come from Bethesda, so we knew there was a need here,” Deepak says. The store stocks everything necessary for an Indian pantry, including fresh curry leaves, paneer (a fresh cheese), Kashmiri chili peppers, mustard oil, and fermented rice batter ready to be turned into dosas (thin pancakes). Not to be missed, though, are Madhu’s chaats—savory snacks that explode with flavor—such as the papri chaat, a melange of spiced chickpeas, crispy crackers, tamarind chutney, mint cilantro chutney and yogurt. (The chaat house part of the market seats 20.) They also sell flavorful dishes prepared by a local Indian cook and frozen. Maybe chicken curry, dal makhani (black lentil stew) and aloo gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) for dinner tonight?
7817 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, 301-251-4400, facebook.com/gurugroceries