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Jun 30, 2010 08:44 PM

E.mart Korean Grocery / Food Counter in Troy, MI [Detroit Area]

Since there are few Korean restaurant options in the Detroit area (many of which were started by the same person) I was glad to see a new option pop up a couple months ago--- E.mart, on the northwest corner of Big Beaver and Dequindre. The food counter (with tables) in the front of this store has roughly seven dishes on offer at any given time.

I’ve tried four dishes, and they’ve all been respectable and prepared to order with reasonably fresh ingredients. (I had been worried, since the veggies in the Produce department often aren’t at their pinnacle of freshness, regardless of the good variety…). There is a very spot-on description of the grocery section at Yelp (by a girl from Clawson), but I don’t think I’m allowed to link to it.

Back to the food counter. The Bibimbab “Item #9” is a good dish for the first time visitor. $6.99. It comes with a side of cabbage kimchi, but the other banchan type items are already included in the bibimbap; the marinated sprouts and various julienned veggies, etc.. The bowl contains a decent quantity of beef, and it was tender and freshly cooked. Also included was a partially fried egg. If you don’t like runny whites, you may want to say so when ordering. Spicy bean paste is served only on request.

My one slight complaint is that tea is not served free. One must buy it from a “unique” vending machine requiring exactly two quarters.

Another winner is Jeyuk Bokum item #11 for $7.99. This is thin sliced pork stir fried with chili paste and onions. Served with rice. I also tried the Jampong #3, for $6.99, a semi-spicy noodle soup in a mussel seafood broth. The seafood was slightly funky for me, but the other customers seemed to think it was just like back in the old country. All dishes mentioned make for a full, hearty dinner-for-one, assuming one is not a pig.

Finally, a popular dish was the standard Bulgoki Dupbab #12 for $7.99. What you see in the picture is what you get. Pretty good. Note that there are no English descriptions next to the pictures at the counter, and questions posed to the pleasant cashier prove discombobulating. Also, it is cash only. So, you just need to be prepared to go with the flow at this place.

If you consider middle class Korean housewives to be of good scenery, then you should appreciate the atmosphere. E.mart is saving these ladies a traffic-y trip up to Rochester Rd. where the longstanding Korean grocers reside, as well as offering them this good food counter, unavailable elsewhere. Check it out.

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  1. Wow, that stretch of Dequindre is quite the international mecca!

    - Polish Market at 15 Mile/Dequindre
    - E mart at 16 Mile/Dequindre
    - International (Middle Eastern, best hummus in Detroit IMO) and Laxmi at 17 Mile/Dequindre...
    - And Produce Palace at 12 Mile/Dequindre if you don't mind going a bit further south

    Vtombrown, thanks for the review. Sounds like it's worth trying!

    1 Reply
    1. re: coney with everything

      Yeah, my mom and I went there a few weeks ago... my boyfriend is filipino and he wanted to make a bunch of dishes for my mom so I looked online and found the filipina store right in that plaza with Emart. When we got there I was so excited to see the asian food store but pleasantly surprised when I found out it was a Korean store (which I kind of wondered when I saw the store name of E-Mart... i've actually heard of this grocery store that is common in Korea although i've never been there). So after picking up some things that I don't think you can find in the bigger Emart store (I think we got some Calamansi and some spice packs that were strictly filipino) we headed on over to the Korean store... my mom and I had so much fun, although I felt out of place a bit since we are both big, white women. But overall, my excitement outweighed feeling out of place... my mom and I are from up north in Michigan near the Ludington area but both of us love other cultures and particularly like any kind of asian food. So we went up and down all the aisles just see what we could find - I highly recommend going into the freezer section and picking up some mini-buns, not sure what else to call them they just looked like a sweet roll I had once at an authentic chinese restaurant that was filled with pork. I laid some bok choy down in my rice cooker and cooked the buns on top of it... NOM NOM NOM. I must get more :p I got the spinach and pork filled buns and I plan on making them all the time now :D

      I haven't tried Kimchi before but they had many kinds in the vegetable section that were obviously made at the store... I really wanna try it but was a bit overwhelmed with all the options.

    2. VTB, next time try the soondubu ($6.99, can't remember what number). It's the spicy seafood stew with silken tofu. It's the standout item there (assuming you like mussels, squid, octopus, etc.). Nice thick broth, really fluffy pillows of dubu (silken tofu). If you dine in, they serve it in a sizzling stoneware bowl. This is going to be my go-to dish for winter comfort food, I think.

      P.S. I'm the girl from Clawson on Yelp. ;-)

      1. I don't want to hijack this thread. Seriously. But I have a story.

        DD#1 has a recipe for chicken wings. Required Five Spice. She bought Allspice. I told her that's not the same. So, I went off to the John R corridor looking for an Asian market to seek out the Five Spice. North of 12 Mile is Thang Long. Right next door is the Chinatown Market. That's where I found the Five Spice. And it's where I felt myself the most confused grocery shopper in history.

        Gawd, I wish I had hours, and some help in that store. Almost nothing in English on packaging. Recognized kimchee--little else. Had to settle on a package of Rice Vermicelli noodles for us.

        I'm gonna make some Pho this weekend!

        2 Replies
        1. re: RedTop

          Party at RedTop's! I will bring the Kimchee!

        2. < <Since there are few Korean restaurant options in the Detroit area (many of which were started by the same person) I was glad to see a new option pop up a couple months ago> >

          Try Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti. There are at least a dozen, including five within two blocks of the U-M, and that doesn't even include the Korean-run sushi bars that often serve some Korean food. Everyone has a different favorite (I like University Cafe on Church, Arirang near Ann Arbor-Saline/I-94, and Hana way out on E. Michigan Ave. in Ypsi), but you really can't go far wrong. Panda on the southeast side is maybe a cut below the others. Lately there's been the banchan war—you used to get just kimchi for a side dish, or maybe one other, but they've started serving more and more of them. The other night I got seven.

          Arirang Restaurant
          3135 Oak Valley Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

          1. Quick stop at E-mart for noodles(for the pantry) and had Ramen #6 as well for lunch. $5.99 with poached(?) egg, kimchee and fruit sides. I was just prepping for DanDan. Must say the people ( I was the only non-Asian) were very friendly and polite and watching 1y/o Korean kids eat noodles is worth the trip. They also have a very wide selection of Korean based but still broad selection of ingredients in the grocery and the ginger must have been grown out back it was that fresh.

            I had forgotten Janelle and VTB's recommendations and I'm going back in.

            P.S. VTB - some of the pictures now have English explanations on them. Some not all. "You spin the wheel, you takes your chances."

            2 Replies
            1. re: goatgolfer

              woo-guh-ji Kalbi Tang. spicy cabbage beef short rib soup.

              Pretttty good. Cheap, fast, hearty. Big thumbs up. Can't wait to go back and try other dishes.

              1. re: donbui82

                donbui, if you were there yesterday, then i must have just missed you. i stopped by for goatgolfer's #6 ramen. pretty worthwhile. like goatgolfer, i'll probably work my way thru the menu before doubling back to the ramen.

                at the meat counter, wagyu-angus beef was advertised but i didn't see it, for price checking purposes...and, there was a line, so i'll check back later.

                *note to self: troy's shilla on maple east of crooks deserves some love for their healthy and filling bibimbap at a decent price in a nice atmosphere.