H Mart: Not Your Average Grocery Store

By Avery Souders

Picture it, you’re coming home from a long day at work and just want something quick to make, like ramen. However, you’ve run out of it and know that the grocery store near you only sells the three same flavors. You want to try some new ramen and maybe even grab a few snacks because you already finished off what was in your monthly SnackFever box. Look no further than the worldly grocer, H Mart. If you don’t live in Korea, it can be hard to find groceries that are made by Korean brands. For something different or even just more reachable for meals, H Mart fills all your Asian food needs and more.

H Mart isn’t your regular grocery store. Their primary products are from South Korea, while interspersed are items from Japan, China, Thailand, and more. Of course, there are American brands available as well, but the main focus is on Korean food. Every day, there is hand-made meals, side dishes, and the best part, free samples.

Before the many H Mart stores scattered throughout the nation, the original beginnings of this market was in Woodside, Queens, New York, in 1982. The grocery chain’s name H Mart came around from the original name Han Ah Reum meaning “one arm full of groceries.” This location still goes by its original name and is the only one to be known as Han Ah Reum. The subway is close to the market, so it is easily accessible through different transportation.

Just on the island of Manhattan, there are three store locations. A popular stop in New York City would be the H Mart located in Manhattan on 32nd street between Broadway and 5th avenue, also known as Koreatown. Locals can be found shopping for items on their grocery lists, while others can grab pre-made sangak-bap, rice in the shape of a triangle with a filling and wrapped in seaweed and a drink for a quick lunch.

Since their humble beginnings, H Mart has expanded across America and even has a few stores in Canada and London. The Canadian locations are in Toronto and in London, it’s situated in Kingston Upon Thames. For those in Toronto, a new BBQ Chicken is being added, so after you’re done shopping, grab some popular Korean fried chicken.

H Mart isn’t just for food, you can buy pots, plates, utensils, and other various items for the kitchen or bathroom. So, while you’re at H Mart and remember you needed to buy a new rice cooker, look no further than down one of the many aisles at the store. At least you don’t have to travel to a separate place to buy kitchen supplies.

The company also works closely with the communities they are in. Supporting non-profit from art museums to police departments to Korean-American associations located throughout the U.S. You can also send in a letter to either receive donations or sponsorship from H Mart for your non-profit if it’s not already supportive.

What makes H Mart special as a market is that it creates an environment for people to be able to access the food they might not have originally been able to get easily, as well as introduce products that others may have never seen before. They’re still expanding to other parts of the US, so don’t worry if they haven’t reached your area yet, they could be there soon!

If you have been to H Mart, what are some aspects that you like about the store? Do you have any favorite foods you like to buy? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Avery Souders

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