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Oct 3, 2009 06:32 AM

Must eats at H-Mart food court?

Any recommendations for must eats at the food court at H mart in Burlington? Which restaurant is the best?

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  1. Red bean buns at the Tous Les Jours bakery!!! They are the pretty round puffy breads topped with sesame seeds. They have red bean paste inside. Heavenly!!

    I also had the sweet potato pastry. It was flaky and yummy, and if I hadn't had the red bean paste bun I would be recommending it. But really, those red bean paste buns were soooooo good. Heading back in a few minutes to get more.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Eatin in Woostah

      What about the food court? I was there last night and everything except the Indian place was written in Chinese (I believe). The pictures were of no help really and I felt overwhelmed, so didn't get any thing there to eat. I will try the red bean buns next time.

      The fresh produce was excellent last night, with silver queen corn, 5 for $1, parsley 2 for $1, great baby bok choy and tons of other stuff. I enjoyed shopping there immensley.

      What a huge place, I'll enjoy getting to know it better. It's only 10 minutes from my house.

      1. re: Eatin in Woostah

        Do they call them red bean buns at Tous Les Jours? They sound like sesame balls, which I adore! Dining at the Super 88 food court in Allston, I just had some last night from Pho Viet. And I had the Malay noodle soup from the place around the corner. Heavenly meal!

      2. It was mob scene last night. Tried to get a noodle soup- only two choices available. I was told that seafood options weren't available b/c the oysters weren't fresh. I had a seafood soup (the only non-meat choice) and it was blah, probably because there was no seafood in it-just noodles, veggies, broth. They ran out of food (at my food stand) shortly after I got mine. The stone pot meals looked better. The Indian stand hardly had any takers and the bakery was basically cleaned out by the time I got there. My suggestion would be to go at off hours or wait until the rush dies down and they work the kinks out. My friend got fresh kimchee that she loved-they had people packaging it for you while you waited. Great selection in the rest of the market, from what I could tell in limited time there. Want to go back and get green tea and red bean ice cream (and sweet red bean buns). They also had a huge selection of frozen dumplings, tea....etc.

        1. I've visited the food court twice, both times patronizing the Korean stall (the one closest to the rear of the store). The first time I had number 3, which was a soup with tofu and fish, marked with one spicy star but really not that hot. The second time I had number 6, which was a gentle soup with bean thread, rice sticks (the oval thick kind), and a few Korean dumplings (mandoo, sort of a flat relative of the pot sticker with a delicate wrapper). The number 3 dish was tasty. The broth in the number 6 dish was really quite good, but I felt that the mandoo were overcooked and overall the dish was less filling/satisfying than the number 3 had been. Then again, it was about 1:30 in the afternoon, so maybe the mandoo were in better condition earlier in the day.

          I am not certain I understand mce1215's complaint about no English. While it is true that most of the stalls' signage is targeted at the Asian community, they all do seem to have at least some English subtitles, and the stall I have eaten at has very good pictures too.

          As an aside, both times I have eaten at the H-Mart food court, there have been lines for every stall except the Indian stall. Those guys see almost no business. I wonder how long they will last. For those who are interested, their menu seems to be the usual north Indian mainstays.

          21 Replies
          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            I was not really complaining, just stating a fact. I could not read the signs and the pictures were not clear cut, to me anyway. And, with the huge Asian community that was shopping there last night, there really is no need for them to put English signs up. I merely wanted some help or give me some numbered items and stalls which were good.

            Thanks for your imput, I'll definately go back.

            1. re: mcel215

              I commented on the bakery (which is sort of part of the food court) because that's where I've been. :) Sadly, when I was there today they were out of the red bean paste buns. Oh well.

              My husband and I ate at the Indian stall because (a) there was no line and (b) it was so insane I couldn't really walk around and figure out what the dishes at the other stalls might be. I agree, signage is not very clear for non-Asians, especially if you're not totally familiar with the cuisine. So we both went with the path of least resistance - saag paneer, pakoras, nan, rice, channa masala. It was all pretty good, though not great. The naan was just warmed up, not freshly made. The saag paneer and channa masala were tasty, and what you'd expect from a food court stand. Unfortunately, the pakoras were flabby.

              All around me, I saw beautiful bowls of noodle soup and rice bowls with kimchee. Looking forward to going back when it's not so crowded to try again!

              1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                What's with these references to the "Asian community" and signs that are unclear for "non-Asians?" H-Mart is a Korean store. Things are generally written in Korean, using the Hangul alphabet. A Chinese guy isn't going to have any easier of a time reading things than a white American who only speaks English.

                1. re: Luther

                  I'm sure you're right, but there is also a Japanese stall and two Chinese (or it may be two Korean and one Chinese), and I'm honestly not sure which languages are represented. They're all unfamiliar character sets. I suppose I should have said "non-Asian readers" or those not as familiar with the cuisine. The biggest challenge honestly right now is just the sheer volume of people angling for food and seating space, and my ADHD which prevents me from focusing with that level of crowding and activity..

                  And I'm not making any assumptions about the nationality of people shopping at H Mart - there are non-Korean foods represented there (plenty of Japanese products, and an entire aisle of Indian).

                  1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                    While I do not speak or read any Asian language, over the course of time somehow I learned to tell the difference between Korean and Chinese (and the Japanese characters that do not come from Chinese). Maybe it was all the years I helped my father sort stamps for his collection? Anyhow, next time I am at the H-Mart food court I will try to figure out which stalls are labeled in which languages. Not that it will help anyone read a language they don't know, but just for curiosity's sake.

                    When I was at the food court the other day, I stood in line behind an Asian woman who ultimately took pity on me and invited me to join her and her friend at their table, which their friend was holding for her. It turns out they were both Chinese, though originally from different regions. One thing they told me was that more than half the people at H-Mart are actually Chinese. The reason? It is so much more convenient than Kam Man for a great many people. What really surprised me was these two individuals preferred it to Super 88/HKM, though we really did not get into why.

                    1. re: PinchOfSalt

                      I think the Indian place will be gone soon and I hope it's pho next. It's weird because I've never seen an Indian place in any Hmart or korean supermarket.

                      1. re: joebloe

                        I rather see more Korean restaurants such as a Bon Chon chicken restaurant than Pho - as much as I like Pho...

                        1. re: robertlf

                          Bon Chon chicken would be nice. I have never walked through any korean supermarket and chose to get nothing because nothing seems alluring. Anyone else with the same problem?

                      2. re: PinchOfSalt

                        I think it's not so much the language as just being less familiar with the cuisine. Over time I've learned that Saag Paneer is spinach and cheese, so then muttar paneer is peas and cheese, and saag palak is spinach and potato. So even when written in western characters, if I don't know what japchae or bibimbap are (I do know those - but just examples) it takes a little more time to figure out what to order, especially if you want to try something new. Usually in a restaurant you can either read the description or ask the staff, but it's tough in the food court when the crowds are too big.

                        1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                          You have a good point there about unfamiliar foods labeled in Roman characters with the name only (no description) not helping people who do not know the cuisine, especially if there is no picture. Even if there is a picture, it can be mysterious. The last two choices at the Korean stall I have been eating at are both versions of Bibimbap, but the Chinese woman and I both were wondering how they were different. Me, I am the kind of person who would order to find out, but not everyone is like that, nor should they have to be.

                          1. re: PinchOfSalt

                            Do you happen to remember what the different versions are called? (Chances are, they either refer to a different meat topping, or regular vs stone pot version!)

                            1. re: another_adam

                              Hehe, the English subtitles under both pictures were identical; primarily a listing of the ingredients. But they were both bibimbap, rice served with assorted good stuff on top, including an egg (which in these renditions was fried sunny side up). If you find yourself at the H-Mart food court, these are the last two offerings at the Korean stall at the far end of the row of stalls.

                              1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                OK, hopefully one day I'll get a chance to check it out! (As a carless urbanite, it's not an easy place to get to-- it's a lot easier for me to bring things back from the Manhattan branch than for me to get to the suburbs! The Manhattan one is tiny, though, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the MA one has)

                                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                  I think the difference between the two is that one is hot and in a stone pot and the other is cold. The only reason I know this is because we accidentally ordered one of each and had no idea what we would get until it arrived!

                                  1. re: taterjane

                                    Without seeing it, that's what I would have guessed based on general principles :) If one is the same as the other but with dolsot (돌솥) in front of it, then that one is the stone pot one. (If you want hot, it's usually safe to order 'dolsot bibimbap' ('stone pot bibimbap')- the default is that it will come with some beef on top)

                                    Incidentally, for some reason, the stone pot one is often called 'okdol bibimbap' ('okdol' 옥돌 = 'jade') in Boston. I have no idea why, and I've never seen that anywhere else-though recently jade has been popular for its supposed health benefits, and one can indeed buy jade cooking pots. (It was a rage a while back to have jade beds, jade slippers, and who knows what else). But if the place is Korean, they'll always understand 'dolsot bibimbap', since that's the more usual word for it.

                                    1. re: another_adam

                                      tj and a_a, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the great info and explanation. This is what Chowhound is all about.

                                      1. re: another_adam

                                        Some of the city's greatest culinary minds have pondered the question of why on earth it's called Okdol bibimbap here (and apparently nowhere else), and as far as I know, no one has a definitive answer.

                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                          Some sort of founder effect, I'm sure! If we could just trace back the first place to promote bibimbap from the "secret hidden Korean section" at the end of a sushi menu, I bet we'd have the answer. (Though this would still leave something of a mystery-- I understand how founder effects propagate in general, but in this non-genetic case, it's kind of hard to see why newcomers to Boston would suddenly adopt the local lingo. I mean, if I moved to a country where "skillet cornbread" was for some reason called "iron pan cornbread" by a couple local restaurants, I doubt I'd adopt it! But I suppose the motivation to not drive away customers with unfamiliar terms is quite strong.)

                                          1. re: another_adam

                                            See also: Joyce Chen and why potstickers are still called "Peking Ravioli" in some Boston restaurants.

                                        2. re: another_adam

                                          A belated follow-up to the two bibimbaps- yes, in Korean, one is labelled as the stone pot one, and the other is just the plain room temperature one in a regular bowl. The hot one is actually labelled 'gopdol bibimbap' (ummmmm, another kind of stone... the dictionary says 'agalmatolite'... not as fancy as jade, I guess?). But you can just order 'dolsot bibimbap' (stone pot bibimbap), that works fine too.

                                          Now that I've had a chance to try it, I agree that the food court offerings are kind of disappointing. They're more or less the quality and range of offerings I might expect at a good highway rest area in Korea- which isn't necessarily terrible (the truck stop offerings can be pretty OK there!) but nothing too exciting. I guess that's good, since if it's too hectic to try to get food and get a seat there, you don't necessarily feel like you're missing out on something wonderful!

                                          1. re: another_adam

                                            Even the bakery is a disappointment in comparison to the HMart I've been to in Flushing and Atlanta.

                  2. The pigs in blanket at TLJ are great.

                    1. i was there on opening day and it was complete madness

                      i didn't sample any of the stands at the food court because i didn't feel like battling the crowds. i'm eager to return and try the food at the korean stands. especially the giant handmade mandoo (wang mandoo) at the korean-chinese stand

                      i, too, was hoping for a korean fried chicken stand such as bon chon chicken or, even better, kyochon chicken or kyedong chicken. i noticed ganpoongki on the menu at the korean-chinese stand but it's just not the same

                      i was also hoping there would be a dessert stand selling different flavors of patbingsoo with assorted toppings. those were the two stands i was hoping for the most. oh well