H Mart - Burlington
Thanks to Chowhound, I found H Mart and was able to make a second visit Saturday evening. Silly me thought 6pm on a Saturday night might be a good time to go. I joined the procession looking for a parking spot which was extra difficult because I was driving my husband's pickup. I was determined, however, to enjoy the food court for the first time before a quick trip around the store.
Question - my timing was great for food samples. There must have been at least 12 stations. How often are these held? I would definitely like to enjoy them on my next visit.
Question - is there ever a time when the store is not crowded?
Thanks to the food sample, I purchased some pork belly to use in some recipe that I may have looked at in the past 6 months. It's in the freezer until I need it. But my question, in general, do you have any meat, poultry or fish that you like to get at this store? Does the fresh chicken taste any better than what is available at my regular supermarket (usually Market Basket)?
I can't believe I came home without buying some kimchee. Do you have a favorite prepared food that you buy from HMart?
Thanks for your help. It's a long way to go so I have to carefully plan my next trip. Was delighted to spot a Trader Joe's nearby, too.
I find Sunday mornings to be the least crowded for me, but you won't find any samples out then. I too am looking for a recommendation for a good kimchee and feel a bit overwhelmed because they have so many brands to choose from.
Trader Joe's opens at 10am and I think you can hit both stores at that time without it being a zoo. And the road they are both on is pretty jammed packed, so that's why I go on Sunday morning.
They seem to have the samples most weekends starting around 11:00 - 11:30 AM.
The marinated chicken, pork and beef in the refrigerated sections near the kimchi and other preserved veggies is great on the grill or broiled. I suggest starting with the chicken as it's pretty inexpensive and delicious served wrapped in some lettuce leaves and rice. The marinated beef and pork are great too though more expensive. It might look spicy due to the red sauce look, but usually isn't very spicy at all.
They used to make fresh kimchee at this HMart, but I haven't seen it in a few months. Might be worth asking one of the clerks which packaged kimchee is the best.
On the fish, I think it's like fish anywhere, if it looks really fresh it's probably good. If it doesn't look good don't buy it. With that being a guiding principle, the fish that looked great there has usually been good and cheaper than elsewhere.
I've never had any spicy marinated meat here: it's always been straight up mild (and tasty!). I love it for a quick though greasy meal, topped off with kimchi.
A note on the kimchi ... I was at Hmart myself on Saturday, and I didn't see the fresh kimchi either. I used to see two buckets that they would serve from: one called "gutjori kimchi" and the other I don't remember (regular, I guess). The latter tasted similar to what you get in the ready-made bags and jars, but the gutjori kimchi?? I love that stuff like none other. I think it's because it's not as vinegary and tastes fresher and not as strong. I found it on Saturday in the plastic boxes on the left side of the back wall, away from the bags of kimchi. The boxes are too small for me (and more expensive I think), so I instead opted for one of the bagged kimchi's ("nat", with MSG ... too salty). If they had bags of the gutjori kind, I would've gotten that instead.
Not usually crowded at all on weekday mornings or afternoons.
I enjoy the pork belly and very thin cut beef (for soup). I don't think the chicken is special, and I think the fish quality is frequently below average. Seafood items are often less expensive here, but e.g. shrimp is from Vietnam, not U.S., and I won't buy for sustainability reasons.