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Alex

Familiar theme, different context (H Mart)

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Crying in H Mart

 

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Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart. For those of you who don’t know, H Mart is a supermarket chain that specializes in Asian food. The “H” stands for han ah reum, a Korean phrase that roughly translates to “one arm full of groceries.” H Mart is where parachute kids go to get the exact brand of instant noodles that reminds them of home. It’s where Korean families buy rice cakes to make tteokguk, a beef soup that brings in the New Year. It’s the only place where you can find a giant vat of peeled garlic, because it’s the only place that truly understands how much garlic you’ll need for the kind of food your people eat.

 

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29 minutes ago, Alex said:

Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart. 

 Thanks for sharing this.   Resonated on many levels.

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great piece!

 

Ive never made it to H Mart. They are at least 90 min away. 

 

We we have a couple big Asian markets near enough. But sanitation is questionable (eg chicken in wrapped foam trays sitting in fetid chicken juices that have been there for who knows how long and ooze over towards the pork belly) and I'll only buy packaged stuff there. 

 

I guess i need an excuse to go to Upper Darby. 

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11 hours ago, gfweb said:

great piece!

 

Ive never made it to H Mart. They are at least 90 min away. 

 

We we have a couple big Asian markets near enough. But sanitation is questionable (eg chicken in wrapped foam trays sitting in fetid chicken juices that have been there for who knows how long and ooze over towards the pork belly) and I'll only buy packaged stuff there. 

 

 

There's nothing questionable about sanitation at the big Asian market near me.  It's terrible.  They have a very big and varied fish section, but I wouldn't touch any of the seafood there without wearing disposable gloves - food safe gloves of course.

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An H Mart opened in Chicago recently -- and in the West Loop, not the far burbs! It's become part of my regular shopping circuit when I'm in town.

 

BTW, the author of the New Yorker article, Michelle Zauner, is not only a talented writer, but a talented musician.

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I know this is an old thread, but I ran across it perusing the  board and it just about stopped me in my tracks. 

 

*sigh* I lost my mom when I was 30 (she was born in Seoul - came to the US in the mid 60's,  leaving her family there) ... I grew up in a half Korean half westernized house - I ate Korean food with my mom every day - almost every meal - cooked with her  - learned from and so on. My sister took the opposite rroad and ate mostly American food. 

 

I am lucky enough to have to an H-Mart about 20-25 minutes away in Plano and I go about every couple of weeks. I have a love / hate thing going on with going in there LOL - reminds me so much of my mom ~ and even though it's been 20yrs - it still guts me every time.  And how many times I've walked through there and thought, "Oh mom would love this! I've got to call her!"

 

But the wonderful memories the smells throughout HMart also evoke - those ... *sigh* I  love going there ... 

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Posted (edited)

@CatIsHungry Have you read chef Edward Lee's Smoke and Pickles?  Or Buttermilk Graffiti?  I think you might enjoy them both as he writes as a Korean growing up in NYC and eating Korean food then moving to the south and discovering southern and soul food.  

The nearest H Mart for us is in Paramus...a little too far for this country girl.


Edited by suzilightning (log)
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Thanks for the recommends, Suzi! I     will definitely put them on my reading list ~ sounds very much up my alley ... growing up eating aand cooking with my mom - then going to meet my husband's family one day (they lived in a small town in TX) and my big surprise at the spread they laid out for my visit LOL -- the huge amounts of food and variety were not that different from what I grew up with - but oh boy! - was not used to all the butter and cream gravy and battered and fried etc etc - but they were and are such wonderful people :o) - still - little bit of a shock ! 

 

I've never tried tried it, but I think you can shop online with H-Mart ;o) (I'm saying this like you don't already know that) 

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We had HMart come into a closed OSH space (like Home Depot). I like the wide aisles. At first they had the produce packaged which annoys me but they have improved. The selections are pretty good. I still prefer the other closest Korean as it is more personal, has better banchan selections and has tons of tasting on the weekend! Also a better seafood selection. Options are good. The HMart does have a food court area.

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@CatIsHungry, yes, Texas is a WHOLE 'nother country.   Spent our first year of marriage there and had a blast exploring new foods... not just Texas ones(smoked brisket, Frito pie), but the engineers and their spouses in my husband's class were very eclectic - French, Indian, Midwest, New England.

Was watching CBS Saturday morning and The Dish segment was from Minneapolis about Ann Kim.  She came to the US from Korea, went to NYC then back to Minneapolis and has created this interesting fusion cuisine.  She and her husband's latest restaurant looks really interesting … called Young Joni.

 

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@suzilightning wow - your potlucks must have been fantastic! (that may sound sarcastic, but in no way is it sarcastic). 

 

It's a shame I missed The Dish this morning ~ I will have to look up Ann Kim / Young Joni - sounds really interesting as you said - kind of a little hard to picture ~ MN / Korean - so I'm really interested to see.

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Our family loves H mart in Doraville, GA.  It is about the only place we can reliably find fish heads for Sinigang.  So good.

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Funny observation/ Here in Los Anglees where you can feel like you are IN an Asian local market in many places - HMart is not as loved and is perceived as a bit anitseptic.  I go several miles furter to feel the energy. The madrush i produce dept. Feom my 2011 blog. ntry.JPG

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