10 Little Luxuries (for $5 or Less!) to Pick Up at H Mart This Summer

published Jul 26, 2022
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H Mart, Asian food, Korean Grocery Store in Portland
Credit: Shutterstock/ARTYOORAN

I’ve always loved meandering through grocery stores — perusing all the different colors of produce and the rows of energetic packaging (pick me! Pick me!). Even as a kid who didn’t have any say in what we were buying or cooking, I would imagine all the snacking possibilities or potential dinner options

Visiting our local H Mart was even more of a treat. It was a chance to stock up on favorites we could only find at the local Asian grocery store and also to discover new things. I’d implore my mom to let us buy a cold drink or a new snack so we could indulge immediately upon exit. Ever frugal, she’d only relent if said item was cheap (or, better yet, on sale).  

As an adult, I make the trip out to H Mart every couple of weeks to stock up on essentials. I have a standing grocery list of staples, but I still find myself looking for the little goodies that will encourage me to go off-list — the little indulgences that make grocery shopping fun. Here are my top 10.

Credit: Irene Yoo

1. Shin Noodle Soup Big Bowl, $2.99 for 4.02 ounces

The instant ramen aisles at H Mart are nothing short of  impressive; your head spins with the sheer number of flavor choices. Do you go broth-based or sauce-based? Spicy or not? My top recommendation is the classic, the king: Shin Ramyun, especially in this cup noodle big-boy size. My family has been known to sneak several of these into our suitcases when traveling — they’re the perfect homey treat when you’re on the road.

Credit: Irene Yoo

2. S&B Crunchy Garlic with Chili Oil, $4.99 for 3.88 ounces

In my opinion, this is the chili crisp to rule all chili crisps. It includes thin, crunchy garlic chips that provide wonderful texture and flavor to whatever you put it on.

Credit: Irene Yoo

3. Pocari Sweat, $2.99 for 16.9 ounces

Pocari Sweat is a game-changer for easing hangovers, hydrating in the height of summer, and/or as a salve when you have a cold. It’s got the minerals and electrolytes you’ll find in other brands, but it’s less sweet and isn’t neon.

Credit: Irene Yoo

4. Haio Korean-Style Fresh Arrowroot Cold Noodles, $4.99 for 2.21 pounds

As the summer days continue to top 90 degrees, these Korean cold noodles, also known as naengmyeon, are just the respite you need. Just pop the broth into the freezer while you boil the noodles, and you’ll have a quick, super-refreshing lunch.

Credit: Irene Yoo

5. Yakult, $3.99 for 13.5 ounces

If you know, you know. These iconic little red-foil topped bottles are the ultimate little luxury and, best of all, they’re just under $4 for a pack of five! If you want to treat yourself just like they do in your favorite K-drama, don’t even bother unwrapping the bunch — just stick a straw in the first one and make your way through all five, hitting each one like the keys of a xylophone.

Credit: Irene Yoo

6. Brown Sugar Latte Coffee, $3.99 for 8.45 ounces

This brown sugar latte coffee is the one I pop open as soon as I get to my car. It gives me just the pick-me-up I need to haul all the groceries back home. Plus, it’s extremely Instagrammable.

Credit: Irene Yoo

7. Haio Fresh Somen, $4.99 for 2. 21 pounds

H Mart is a surprise gold mine for fresh noodles on the cheap. There are a ton of options you can choose from, including hand-cut knife noodles, thick udon noodles, and thin somen noodles like these ones. I love using them in lieu of dried spaghetti; the improved texture and shortened cook times are both plusses in my book.

Credit: Irene Yoo

8. NH Round Shape Rice Cakes, $3.49 for 17.63 ounces

These tiny dumbbell-shaped rice cakes are THE most fun take on rice cakes — they are so darn cute! Of course you can use them in ddukbokki or stews, but I like to pan-fry mine and toss them with pesto as a deliciously chewy pasta alternative.

Credit: Irene Yoo

9. Orion Choco Pie, $3.99 for 16.5 ounces

I’ve never had a moonpie better than the original Choco-Pie; the ratio of fluffy cake to creamy marshmallow filling is just perfect. It’s my favorite snack when lounging around the house drinking coffee.

Credit: Irene Yoo

10. Jinga Beef Bone Flavored Soup, $5 for 2 (16.9-ounce) packs

I’ve recently become a fan of these shelf-stable beef bone stocks, which are a huge upgrade from the standard packaged beef stock. The bones are simmered for so long that the marrow is extracted, which turns the broth milky and super flavorful. Use them as starters for impressive soups and stews, or as the broth base to punch up your favorite instant ramen.

What little luxuries are you stocking up on at H Mart this summer? Tell us in the comments!