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Apr 23, 2014 07:43 AM

H Mart Open in Central Square!

If any of you are in the area, head on over to the H Mart grand opening - it's a festival! It's sample heaven - bulgogi, seafood pajon, fried tofu, various cakes, etc. - and a fabulous store. I just walked out with dragon fruit, shiitakes, lemongrass, chicken hearts and hot-and-spicy spam & can't wait to go back. The food court's in full swing, too. It's all good!

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  1. Well, don't cry any tears for Reliable Market in Union Square I guess. I'm sure it's great but I like the Reliable.

    13 Replies
    1. re: tatsu

      I may be wrong, but think Camberville can support both stores. Harvest Co-op, though, is probably going to take a big hit.

      1. re: tatsu

        H-Mart doesn't sell booze, either. Hopefully that's enough for reliable to hold on.

        1. re: muscles_marinara

          There's a package store literally next door- walk out the back door of H Mart and you're standing at the back door to Libby's Liquors.

          1. re: Luther

            I'd highly recommend walking across the street over patronizing that place, unless you're buying nips, and maybe even then.

            1. re: CportJ

              Agreed. Supreme is far better than that other place (I have no idea what the name of it is, I always just think of it as "The Flavored Vodka Store").

              1. re: maillard

                Also agreed. Supreme has come a long, long way over the last several years. If you go back about 15 years I used to frequent whichever of the two was closest but over the last 7 or 8 I can't remember the last time I went into Libbys.

            2. re: Luther

              I wasn't trying to characterize this as a drawback to H-mart. I'm hopeful that it will be niche that the fine folks at Reliable can use to stay afloat. No liquor store that I've seen in the area has as good of a selection of Sojus and Sakes.

              Considering that I live about half a block from the new H-Mart, I'll be patronizing it far more than Reliable, but hit up Reliable when I'm in Union, just to give the indies some business. Good riddance to the dirty and overpriced Lotte, though.

              1. re: muscles_marinara

                I didn't even like lotte when I lived over there. It was good for an emergency gochujang run but that's about it.

                I live closer to reliable than hmart and I'd prefer not to deal with the insanity so I know where I'll tend to go

          2. re: tatsu

            I think Lotte is doomed, too. I know from sources that Reliable has been struggling since the Burlington H Mart opened.

            I'm pretty sure all the mom-and-pops are goners, including Han Ah Rheum in North Cambridge, which has been in decline, too.

            1. re: digga

              good reminder to me to go to Reliable much more often!

              1. re: digga

                Han Ah Rheum has been only half there for years, sadly. They're really only just open when the elderly owners feel like hanging out for a few hours, seems like. The last two times I've tried to go and pick up some of their terrific house-made kimchi, they've been closed during posted hours.

                1. re: digga

                  Sadly, Lotte Market already closed (a few weeks ago).

                  1. re: digga

                    I won't miss Lotte, but I hope reliable selling beer/wine/soju will be enough to pull them through.

                2. I am SO excited about this!

                  1. Madhouse right now in food court. Plenty of seats, but there is only 1 cashier for both ramen and curry shops, so it's a long wait. (Curry folks say they will soon get their own cashier.) Pastry line is fine.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: lossless

                      If you eat anything, please post a review. I am almost unreasonably excited about having this place so close by & was amazed to see what was done with the former Harvest food-court space - beautiful!

                      1. re: pocketviking

                        Maybe not today - just finished my grocery shopping and the line is the same. Ramen menu looks pretty much like Porter Sapporo with minor mods. Curious to try the curry.

                        1. re: pocketviking

                          Curry is your average Japanese curry. The lack of vegetables besides shredded cabbage bothers me though. I think I'm gonna stick to cooking my own vermont curry mix with onions carrots and potatoes, taste better and way cheaper, plus more veg. They do have the deal for $5 for a single size of any meat curry, without that it's def not worth it.

                          Sapporo ramen taste like its porter square sister store. Meh.

                      2. Are the produce display cases chilled/misted? Absence of that amenity makes the Burlington store hit-or-miss. You can find pristine stuff there if it's just arrived, but a few days of sitting at room temp renders much of it undesirable. Things arrive continually, so there's always a mix of crisp here, crumpled there.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: greygarious

                          LOTS of misting! I noticed it several times while I was walking around the produce section.

                          They've used the space really well. It's MUCH nicer than the Burlington store, although of course it's only day one; hopefully it stays relatively clean.

                          Harvest downsized so much when they moved across the street that there's not as much overlap in products as there would have been before. I think their real target is Whole Foods, especially re the meat/fish/produce sections. I looked at the fish counter and it was MUCH better looking than at Whole Foods, and the meat selections looked excellent too.

                          I tried a sandwich and a canele from Paris Baguette. Both were good; neither made me swoon. I'll definitely be back for the other food court stops.

                          1. re: MichaelB

                            Good thing about the misting. I've been hoping in vain that Burlington would install it at some point, but it's been a couple of years now.

                            The things I've tried from the Tous les Jours bakery in the Burlington H-Mart have LOOKed gorgeous but lacked flavor. Cottony white flour texture, not much butter/egg where richness is called for, and too sugary.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              The hell? I’ve always been told misting makes your produce dewy-eyed while it rots faster. Am I missing something?

                              1. re: enhF94

                                I don't think so. A damp paper towel in the veggie bag keeps herbs fresh longer. Works with mint especially well.

                                1. re: tatsu

                                  ah, found my source for this: Alton suggests some, but minimal, moisture on a towel to give back water to greens as needed, but not enough to promote rotting. Also oxygen deprivation, but that’s not going to happen in a grocery.


                                2. re: enhF94

                                  My experience with misting is not that positive. Makes a lot of veggies rot faster, especially the more delicate ones.

                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    I believe the cases that have misters are also chilled, aren't they? Automatic misters in the produce section have only been around for a few decades. I think keeping the produce cold is more important than dampening it.

                            2. re: greygarious

                              Also, however, I did notice a lot of produce that was cling-wrapped onto foam trays. I imagine it might have just been for opening, but I don't love not being able to really get a good look at the produce I'm buying. Really was tons of misting on the other stuff though, especially the greens.

                            3. Re: curry, they are having a special $5 sale on almost all curries. From today until 5/5. They were handing out coupons and also telling people to just let the cashier know if you don't have a coupon + you'll get your deal regardless.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lossless

                                I got a coupon booklet in the mail for the grand opening week(s). I think it's good for 1-2 weeks.

                                1. re: catsmeow

                                  The one I grabbed on the counter (sadly, before they opened so I couldn't grab myself a lunch to eat at work) has a big red "May 5th" sticker on it.