15 Little Luxuries (for $10 or Less!) to Pick Up at H Mart This Spring
The days are getting warmer and all the pollen is flying around the air, which means it’s officially time to emerge from our winter hibernation cocoons and party! With longer evening hours, it’s the right time to gather with friends and family for cozy and comforting dinner parties. Late-afternoon aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres might turn into smoky backyard grill hangs, shared cauldrons of hot pot, or elegant plated affairs.
As always, I turn to the aisles of my local H Mart (hello to the months-old new location in Long Island City!) for inspiration. This spring, I’ll be surprising my guests with family favorites, trendy snacks, and themed dinners (dumpling party, anyone?) while also stocking up on the essential hosting tools. Follow along for my recommendations for your next get-together!
1. Fish Cake Roll, $6.49 for 9 ounces
Gimbap is my go-to party food — I’ll put them out as appetizers for my guests or pack them for an outdoor picnic! Each piece is like a dinner party in one bite: a layer of rice enveloping tons of crunchy veggies and savory fish cake.
2. HBAF Cheongyang Mayo Almond, $8.99 for 7.4 ounces
This almond brand is all the rage in Korea, best known for its wild but surprisingly delicious flavors, like Black Sugar Milk Tea or Garlic Bread. Pick up a few different flavors for your canapes table and you’ll have an instant conversation starter. My top pick is this spicy chili pepper mayo version, where the heat of the Korean cheongyang pepper is mellowed by a creamy mayo finisher.
3. Three Meals a Day Pork Dumplings with Chinese Spinach, $5.49 for 28 to 30 pieces
I think more parties should be dumpling parties, and H Mart is just the place to stock up on party dumplings! These Chinese-style dumplings are extremely poppable in size, and come with various meat and vegetable fillings so you can mix and match.
4. PF Mini Soupy Pork Buns, $7.99 for 20 ounces
Oh my gosh, these baby xiao long bao are too cute! I already know I’m going to burn my mouth trying to eat them all too quickly. Impress your dinner guests with these little soup dumplings as a starter; they’ll be clamoring to find out where you got them.
5. Haioreum Pancake Mix, $1.99 for 2 pounds
Jeon, also known as Korean pancakes, are extremely popular at gatherings like Chuseok or New Year’s Day, but they can be quite the labor of love. This Korean pancake mix makes it super easy — I love having it on hand for a quick and easy pajeon for any celebration! Just mix with water, spread onto a hot pan with oil, and scatter tons of green onions to make a deliciously crispy-crunchy party snack.
6. Bibigo Dotom Pork & Vegetable Mini Patty, $5.99 for 16 ounces
Mom tip alert! When I was home last, my mom busted out these dong-geu-rang-ddeng (aka “round patties”) for a family dinner party. I thought for sure they were homemade, until she showed the package. She just took these frozen, pre-formed meat and veggie patties and tossed them in flour and egg before pan-frying. They were so delicious that I immediately bought a pack as soon as I flew home.
7. Korean Noodles with Veggies, $8.49 for 16 ounces
8. Marinated Pork Single Belly, $5.99 per pound
One of my favorite features of the new H Mart in my neighborhood is that it has a buffet bar of Korean barbecue meats, like this marinated pork belly! Pack up as much or as little as you need for your party (or get an assortment!), and it’s another thing off your checklist.
9. Marutsune Somen, $8.99 for 3 pounds
This somen noodle package has a whopping 27 servings! I’d use these for a big batch of janchi guksu (banquet noodles) for a crowd, or add them into a big hot pot or stew. So simple, but so satisfying.
10. Komax Water Bottle, $3.99 for 1 (1.4-liter) bottle
These plastic pop tab water bottles remind me of the water bottles you commonly see at Korean barbecue restaurants. They also make for perfect party pitchers – fill them with cold water, barley tea, juice, or coffee for guests, or set up your drink mixers in a variety of bottles.
11. Komax Ice Cube Tray with Lid, $4.49 per tray
Ice is a highly underrated dinner-party need; you always forget about it until 10 minutes before guests arrive, and then you’re frantically texting for anyone to buy a bag at the store on their way. (Or is that just me?) Avoid the ice panic by stocking up on these ice cube trays, which come with an ingenious lid to make storing and stacking super chill.
12. Gyeongju Beopju Makgeolli, $3.99 for 750 milliliters
In Korean culture, makgeolli used to be easily brewed at home by rice farmers or families celebrating ancestral rites (until government taxation and rice shortages made it less common). Once ready, a few weeks later, this traditional rice wine is the perfect alcohol to share with your neighbors and friends. I first had this specific makgeolli in Gyeongju (where it’s brewed), a historically cultural city in South Korea. I can’t wait to share a few bottles of this with my guests at my next shindig, paired with that gimbap and crispy pajeon.
13. Koto Wooden Chopsticks, $2.99 for 80 pairs
When chopsticks are indispensable at your dinner party, it helps when they are, well, dispensable! These disposable chopsticks are cheap and plentiful, so you don’t have to worry about having enough for all your guests. You can also use them as skewers for grilling if you’re in a pinch.
14. SS Multipurpose Tongs, $2.99 per tong
I can’t live without these tongs. The streamlined shape makes them super easy to store, and they come in a variety of colors and sizes. I use these red ones for portioning kimchi or servings of noodles, while the slightly longer versions (pictured left for $3.99) are set aside for Korean barbecue grilling. Once you try these, you’ll never go back to those unwieldy pull-ring grill tongs.
15. Mfuji Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream, $3.99 for 8 ounces
After all that dinner party prep, who’s got time to make dessert? Mochi ice cream is my go-to sweet nightcap — a delectable little palate cleanser. Go classic with the green tea, or mix and match other flavors like chocolate or strawberry to cater to your guests.
What H Mart finds are you excited about this spring? Tell us about it in the comments below.