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H Mart? forgive me, take away my CH logon, but what is this place?

I've seen mention from time to time of H Mart, but I never heard of it and the name itself doesn't sound intriguing....well, I think I saw one in Upper Darby, PA; so, now I need to know what is it? what do you do or buy there? See there's a website - asian stuff?? Is it worth it to go there? What do you recommend? What to stay away from? Anything specific about the Upper Darby location? Thx.

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  1. Can't speak to that specific location, but it's a Korean supermarket chain. They carry a lot of pre-marinated meats like galbi, bulgogis, have a large seafood department, a variety of Asian foods with a focus on Korean products. i like the ones near me a lot. It reminds me of the 99 Ranch Market I used to go to in California.

    1. I love the place. They have all manner of ingredients for Asian cooking and a huge produce dept. where they sell everything from apples to lemon grass - and lots of other things you have probably never heard of - at dirt cheap prices. I love to buy rice there; they sell so many wonderful kinds that you would never find in an ordinary supermarket. You have to go and see it for yourself.

      2 Replies
      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Caution - you have to really know your prices. Last week in MA, they had 6oz. punnets of Driscoll raspberries for 99 cents, while other chains had them on sale for twice that. But the ordinary all-purpose potatoes were $1.19/lb. Often their regular prices for produce varieties you'd find everywhere are a good bit higher than in American supermarket chains. The fish prices are good, the meat prices tend to be high. Most of the meat is in thin slices but even the few larger, less-labor cuts are more expensive than in the local American chain a few hundred feet away. Also, the limited amount of English signage is challenging for non-Asian customers.

        1. re: greygarious

          Interesting, I compare prices of fruits and vege all the time and almost always, my local H mart prices are almost always better than my local supermarkets. As for meat, certain cuts like Kalbi are really top quality with great marbling so I definitely pay more at H mart and imo totally worth the money.
          Dairy and other american groceries seem to be higher in prices though.

      2. H stands for Han Ah Reum, I believe (which means "one armful" in Korean - somebody correct me if it's wrong.) I have been to a few (NYC, NJ, VA) and all of them had great produce and seafood departments. Lots of sampling stations too. More reason to go if you buy Asian grocery items, but even if you don't - I think it's still worth a visit.

        6 Replies
        1. re: uwsister

          My local H Mart unfortunately lacks samples. I imagine the constraints of Manhattan prevent it from being as large and fully stocked as locations outside the city. It still is, though, an indispensible stop for quality tofu, kimchi, shirataki and other Japanese and Korean staples.

          1. re: JungMann

            You mean the one in Manhattan? Yeah, that one's not as good as suburban ones for sure.

            1. re: uwsister

              There's a big one in Fort Lee, a quick ride over the GWB

          2. re: uwsister

            Don't know what it means, but their name in Chinese characters (Koreans used Chinese characters before Hangul was invented) which they also display in their stores, are "Han" - Korean, "Ya"- Asian, "Lung" - Dragon. I may be wrong in the literal interpretations but that's how it translate into Chinese.

            1. re: dpan

              I've actually never noticed a Chinese signage on a H Mart. I'll have to look next time!

            2. re: uwsister

              han ah reum does mean armful in korean...han ah reum is purely Korean...not that it matters.=p

            3. There's been a proliferation of Asian mega-marts over the last decade or so, in Chicago we have the Koren H-Mart, and Assi as well as the Japanese Mitsuwa (they all have overlap of products). Locally they all also have food court offerings such as fresh pastries (some more pastry-like than others) and all sorts of Asian dishes. The thinly-sliced meat selections for Korean barbecue or hot pot cooking are mesmerizing. They also have a good assortment of fresh and frozen fish.

              The only downside is that they're so big that you'll occasionally see the same items stocked in a few different locations.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ferret

                In the DC area we have H Mart, Lotte, and Grand Mart. All are Korean owned, but they have all adapted to local market conditions with extensive Latin American as well as South Asian sections.

              2. Bring your specs. If there is any english on the packaging, it is in very small letters. Many products don't have much english at all so you have to go by the photo.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  Here's a good example. Sale this weekend. On something fish related.

                  http://www.hmart.com/hboard/down/boar...