There’s a lot of excited shoppers in Austin, over the last couple of weeks. H Mart, the giant U.S. based Korean chain opened a mega Asian Supermarket in North Austin. There are several of these in Texas, but this the first for Austin. I was surprised to discover that there are over 60 H Marts in the U.S.
It may sound like just another supermarket opening but it’s more than that. There are foods sold there that were previously unavailable in Austin. I’m especially excited by the high quality ultra thin-sliced beef used in shabu-shabu, a Japanese dish that I love. With shabu-shabu, you wave thin sliced beef in boiling water for a few seconds, which is enough to cook it. You then flavor it by dipping it into a sauce.
They have a huge seafood department, high quality meats and more vegetables than any standard market. With low prices, a large selection and good quality, I think it might challenge even the established supermarket players in Austin, like HEB. Plus, they have an upscale food court with Korean, Chinese and Japanese restaurants.
Austin is growing quickly, as I’ve mentioned before. However, I heard that the Asian community is growing at twice the speed. A place like H Mart makes sense, but it’s the kind of store I never expected in Austin — I felt like I was somewhere in California.
By the way, the Home Depot Sunset I featured a few days ago was shot on my family excursion to H Mart. Both stores are located in the same anonymous suburban strip shopping center, but the two couldn’t be any more different.
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