Have you ever been to H Mart or Super H Mart? It’s a fantastic grocery store for those who really enjoy cooking Korean food. We enjoy going to H Mart so much that when we make a trip to Chicago, it’s a must stop for Korean-American Midwesterners who don’t have this kind of access to Korean-related goods. In fact, we go to H Mart every time we’re in a major city that has an H Mart. I guess you could say it is part of our family culture.
But H Mart is not only for those who like to make Korean food, it’s also for those who enjoy eating Korean food because every H Mart in the U.S. has a small food court of various Asian ethnic cuisines, such as Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Some even have a bakery, puffy rice cake shop, coffee/dessert shop as well.
Because my mom needed a few green veggies, the kind you’d find more easily at an Asian market, she asked us to stop by Super H Mart. I was like, “Uh, Mom, it’s Christmas. I’m sure they’re closed.” My dad’s response, “Oh, they never close.” In disbelief and after one phone call, I found out that I was wrong.
Take a look at Super H Mart’s food court on Christmas Day.
I couldn’t believe how many Houstonians crowded the store on such a big holiday. I expected to see a few customers, like us, picking up last minute items. Of course, this is a different Houston than what I remembered from my childhood. Seoul Market and Komart, smaller and medium-sized grocery stores, are long gone. With an increase in economies of scale, and Super H Mart won out in the Korean grocery market. Even though I miss the small mom and pop shops, which I grew up knee deep in the Korean small business culture, I still love how H Mart offers a variety of Korean goods that make you feel like you could be grocery shopping in Seoul, South Korea.
You can buy packaged 반찬 (banchan) or 떡 (tteok or dduk).
You can buy fresh seafood, which is so hard to get at smaller Asian grocery stores, which typically sell frozen seafood.
(Photos Above: Top Left – Fresh Squid, Top Right – Fresh Shrimp, Bottom Left – Fresh Fish, Bottom Right – Fresh Crawfish)
There’s also dried squid too! Yum!
As I’ve said before, Linus thinks all seafood tanks are like the ones at Shedd Aquarium. It’s a definite win-win for everyone in our family.
You can buy 김 (gim), which is roasted seaweed. Unlike the one or two varieties we choose from our hometown, you can choose from 20 or so varieties from non-roasted, roasted, salted and roasted, single-serve packages, multi-packs. The choices are e-n-d-l-e-s-s… yummm…
We visited Houston at the end of last summer, and we thought we could save space in our luggage by purchasing Maxim White Gold in Chicago. After some searching and asking a H Mart employee for help, we came to the conclusion that Super H Mart in Chicago didn’t sell Maxim White Gold. (sigh…) Fortunately, Maxim White Gold was on sale in Houston, so we purchased a box! Yay!
As soon as we came home, we opened up a package and drank a cup of Maxim White Gold. It looked creamier, but the taste left me wishing that we left the box in Houston. We’re a Maxim Original coffee drinking couple. We’ve tried Maxim Gold, which has a nuttier flavor, but nothing beats the original. And that’s something I can get in my hometown.