Our exchange students have completed their first two weeks in America and their first full week of school. And, if I was in a foreign country, this would certainly be worth a reward! So, enter “H-Mart”…..
After our cross country meet nearby (the meet ended after 7:30 and we were HUNGRY!), we pull into H-mart. I saw pictures on-line, but I really didn’t know what to expect. Upon walking in, we were besieged my Asians from many different countries and the rattling from my exchange students of “I know that.” It was a little overwhelming! Vegetables I see in American stores and many I have not seen before ever! Despite all of the visual attractions, the “food court” drew us all to its offerings.
Once we settled whose noodles were better or who was serving real Korean food (H-Mart appears to focus on Korean food choices, but it also carries Chinese, Japanese and others as well), we all made our different decisions. Despite strong evidence of collusion among the various food court vendors, there seem to be enough variety to get a combination of Chinese dumplings, noodle soup (extra hot), a seafood soup with thick noodles, the #1 favorite listing from the nice Korean guy (he fried my egg for me even though it is normally raw), and Jenny’s cold noodles. The dishes were quickly shared and much latitude was given to strictness in enforcing the “chopstick-only” rule. (The soups demanded spoons, but they sure can get you much bigger mouthfuls then only chopsticks.)
After eating our fill, collecting a couple of take home boxes for the remainders and placing our food trays and dishes on the rack, we attempted to complete our shopping quest. With Jenny preparing to cook her meal Sunday night, (two days hence) many of the items that entered the cart were for her anticipated menu. Dawn, knowing her turn would come again before another trip to the Asian store, also acquired a couple of items to facilitate her next journey into the “head chef” zone. After grabbing a couple of purple sweet potatoes to prove they existed, we went through the checkout. Jenny carried on an extended conversation w/ our cashier. She felt good about all of her items except her lack of “thinly cut” beef which she needed for her meal. I tried to convince her we would be okay, but she was very insistent. Judy took the other two out to the car while Jenny and I went on the “thin beef” quest.
After negotiating the aisles and again finding the correct beef, she was perplexed by whether the frozen or fresh beef was the better decision. After she waved down a fellow customer and convincing her she needed to help her, she was advised to get the frozen. After finding the proper amount of beef and heading to the front, our fellow customer “assaulted” us and assured us our BEST decision was to get the fresh beef. After going back and exchanging our meat packages, we again went to the front where the cashier we previously used was available. She looked at Jenny’s choice, and immediately told her she wanted to have the frozen. So, we scamper back quickly to the meat case (we had walked this path a few times) and made the appropriate exchanges. We had to use a different cashier to make our final purchase (the other cashier was ringing up a big order for someone making their own kimchi–lots of napa cabbage, salt and Korean radishes.). The transaction was quickly completed before we heading home after our nearly 1.5 hour adventure in the store.
Ultimately, I don’t yet know what tomorrow’s meal will taste like, but I do like our chances. If I didn’t have daughters in cross country and exchange students, how else would I spend my Friday nights? High school football games?