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Mitsuwa changes


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A couple of months ago Mitsuwa got a new manager. Yesterday I drove to Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights to do my usual road trip. While on a whole, Mitsuwa is still in business, my perception is that things are changing. The bins of bean sprouts and bamboo shoots are gone replaced by aging bagged varieties. Where there used to be lots of supplies of mushrooms, eggplant, and cucumbers and other things, there wwere minimal quantities. The sushi fish selection seemed to be the same but the packaged clams in the shell all had at least one clam opened and wouldn't close if touched. It's nothing I specifically can put my finger on but I wonder if H-Mart is taking business and the new manager had been charged with remaining profitable?

There is a new book store but it is pale shadow of the old. The take out sushi selections did look better than ever. The last imported Japanese beer from Japan is gone!

Has anyone visited Mitsuwa lately and formed an opinion of how it may have changed?-Dick

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I've always thought the produce section had its ups and downs but figured that might have to do with the day of the week I'm there. The fish selection does seem to be about the same as ever. Not saying yes or no to your theory-- I have no idea. My impression has always been that a large number of the customers are Japanese expats or people who have recently moved here from Japan. Do you think those customers would be quick to switch to Super H?

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I've always thought the produce section had its ups and downs but figured that might have to do with the day of the week I'm there. The fish selection does seem to be about the same as ever. Not saying yes or no to your theory-- I have no idea. My impression has always been that a large number of the customers are Japanese expats or people who have recently moved here from Japan. Do you think those customers would be quick to switch to Super H?

I would think not but it is hard for me to determine what the demographic mix was that shopped at Mitsuwa. If not Japanese, then H-Mart should be attractive because of the pricing. Mitsuwa always has a Hokkaido Festival in late August, so we will see if Mitsuwa brings in the selection of fish and other specialities as in the past.-Dick

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Both Mitsuwa and H-Mart stock some of the same varieties of fresh produce, fish and other consumables. Of course Mitsuwa is heavily structured with items from Japan but that is changing as costs rise. I am seeing many more items from Korea and China such as Nori at Mitsuwa. H-Mart is of course hevaily biased towards Korean imports. As I said, it is hard for me to determine what the demograhics of the shoppers at Mitsuwa was before H-Mart. Certainly if I am given the choice for the same type of produce or non-sashimi quality fish, its H-Mart because of the pricing.-Dick

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I'm going to have to check out H-mart. I never get around to it because I'm right down the street from Mitsuwa-- plus sashimi-grade fish is always on my shopping list, and I'm happy with Mitsuwa for that. I must admit I've been frustrated with the small supplies of some produce there recently.

It would be interesting to know what the overall demographic is at the Arlington Heights Mitsuwa. A lot of non-Japanese people I chat with about cooking are indeed defecting to H-mart.

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK, I've been to both Mitsuwa and H-Mart in the past few days. I really enjoyed the variety at H-Mart. I bought some fresh water chestnuts, lime leaves, some lovely handmade tofu, and some frozen seafood. However, the sashimi-grade fish didn't look very good. I had planned to eat at the food court but skipped it because it seemed expensive and not very exciting, while I still like Mitsuwa's just fine and it clearly gets a lot of business. No one seemed to be eating at H-Mart's even though it was noon when I was there. H-Mart will be in my rotation for the produce but I will still go to Mitsuwa more often. (On the last trip to Mitsuwa I bought fresh lychees, two kinds of fresh fish, shirataki, a snack made with fried fresh vegetables that they sell in the produce department-- lovely and made in Taiwan.) Undoubtedly it's partly the way I cook influencing that and I have no idea how typical I am.

On the way out of H-Mart, a frozen yogurt and snack stand called something-berry caught my eye; I wonder if it is a precursor of Pinkberry and will make a point of trying it next time.

Edited by Tess (log)
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Shopped at Mitsuwa last Saturday and the produce was a pale comparison to before and many things not available. The sashimi grade fish case still looked good but many other hard goods were gone. It's almost as if they are getting ready to go out of business. We were there about 10:30 am and the store was almost empty.

In comparison, the Sunday before we went to H-Mart and found a great selection of everything from live lobsters to Korean Hot Pepper threads.

BTW, where did you see sashimi grade fish at H-Mart?-Dick

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BTW, where did you see sashimi grade fish at H-Mart?-Dick

Let's see: it was my first visit to H-Mart and I only noticed that fish on my second or third time walking around as I tried to get a sense of what was there. I was disoriented as to the layout. I want to say I walked through the freezers with the frozen seafood, headed towards the checkout, and took a left on my way into the central freezer section. It was on a little counter all by itself. There were just a few things wrapped and labeled for sale.

My favorite thing from that shopping trip ended up being the green vegetable fresh tofu. Incredibly rich and creamy.

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