Run To The Supermart And Pick Me Up Some Cactus

For most Americans, nopalitos aren't exactly a comfort food. A product of Mexico, they're sliced cactus. But nopalitos can set off waves of nostalgia among many Hispanics. As can tostones (green fried plantains) from Honduras, and harina pan, a corn flour from Venezuela that is used to make arepas, a cousin of the English muffin. They're all big sellers for Goya Foods Inc., the Secaucus (N.J.) ethnic-foods distributor. And with the U.S. Hispanic population set to pass 26 million this year, other companies are finding it increasingly hard to ignore.

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