Austin got its own H-Mart in February and it was so crowded and crazy in there that I waited until this week to go see what all the fuss was about.
It’s pretty cool, y’all.
Not only is it an H-Mart grocery store, but there is a food hall attached, the Market Eatery, featuring some cool new restaurants, live music (of course, hello, Austin), and a bar. Plus, a French-Asian bakery, Tous Les Jours. But first things first: H-Mart. Let’s explore, shall we?
They have most of what you’d find in a regular grocery store’s produce section, along with a lot of cool stuff you won’t see at your local HEB. These are Indian and Thai eggplants. They’re about 1/4 the size of a regular eggplant, and completely adorable. I don’t know what you’d do with them, but they were really cute.
After a short jaunt through the “housewares” area, we arrive at the
aquarium Seafood section. Most of what you’ll see in that department is still swimming, y’all. That’s pretty fresh!
Those are sea squirts there in the bottom tank. I haven’t personally had a lot of occasion to make sea squirts, but now I know where to get them if it comes up. I don’t know what those things are in the top tank– abalone, maybe? Any ideas, guys?
Now, I am a foodie and I’ve had quite a few kinds of fish from all around. I have never seen some of these guys before. Very cool. This bears further research on my part.
There is a whole case devoted to Korean rice cakes of various shapes, sizes and colors. I didn’t know where to start with these. Next time. Aren’t they pretty, though?
I totally DID know where to start with these fabulous Korean pancakes, though. Yesssss.
No prep instructions on the package? Ha! I accept your challenge, sir. As it turned out, pan-fried in very hot olive oil for about 1 min on each side was pretty much PERFECT for these little beauties. The scallion ones were especially crispy and delicious. I’ll definitely be back to try the other varieties.
Tiny, speckled quail eggs in another case. These are so pretty, I’d feel bad eating them.
A few aisles down, we come to the comic relief section of the store. I LOVE it when you find products from other countries with English wording on the package that makes NO SENSE.
Crunch Crunch? But it’s juice. I’m intrigued. I want to try some crunchy juice. But it’s expensive! I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing that, since Asian pears are crunchy, that’s why they named it this way? I don’t know. I might have to investigate this further.
FINALLY, a source for canned cuttle fish.
My favorite is the green can in the center of the picture of the Fortune luncheon meat with Ham and Pork in it.
It’s Fluffy, y’all. FLUFFY. How can you argue with that?? You can’t. You just can’t. And no preservatives or artificial colors? It’s practically a health food. I might have gone for these, had it not been for the gorgeousness at Tous Les Jours bakery just a few steps away. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Just hold on to your Choco Pies for a moment.
On to the Wall of Pocky.
My daughter loves strawberry Pocky cookies, which I usually have to get from World Market. Look at all of these different kinds! It’s a virtual Pocky Paradise! I bought the cookies-and-cream ones for my kiddo to try this time.
Alright, alright. Now, on to the bakery.
Tous Les Jours is a French-Asian bakery, with its South Korean influence evident in the kimchee buns and bean-filled pastries sharing pastry-case space with almond croissants and macarons.
Look at those little Baby Choux! So cute.
It’s so hard to choose, isn’t it?
Nah. If you’re me, you always choose the almond croissant when you come across one. Here’s my friend now.
It was quite good, I can tell you.
I also took home a raspberry macaron and an Earl Grey tea macaron, which was mind-blowingly good.
That Earl Grey macaron deserves a picture of its own.
I am almost embarrassed to admit I went back the next day to get two more of these. Almost.
(Oh, please. Y’all know I have NO SHAME when it comes to macarons. None. In my own defense, they were not for me.)
Venturing further into the Market Eatery, you find Momo Sushi, and many other enticing options.
There were many choices, but I will almost never say no to sushi, so that’s what I had. It was very good. I recommend the Godzilla roll. It was gigantic, as you might expect. It could’ve crushed a small city.
And that was my first trip to H-Mart and the Market Eatery. Definitely go check it out, if you are in the area. My advice to you is this: keep an open mind and try whatever looks good, even if you aren’t 100% sure what you’re doing.
Sidebar: I have liked Duran Duran for a long time, and most of their songs make absolutely no sense. I don’t even know what the lyrics are in same cases. But I like it. The same applies here. (Come on, follow me for a sec.) You may not know exactly what’s in that Korean pancake, but you will like it. So just dive in and do it, y’all. It’s good for ya.
I’m not sure about those sea squirts, though.
NOTE: This is not a sponsored post. Links are provided purely to be helpful. No sea squirts were harmed in the creation of this blog post.
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