16 ($3 or Less!) H Mart “Little Luxuries” to Pick Up This Summer
I love H Mart in the summer — honestly, mostly for the air conditioning. The big cooling blasts as I enter the sliding doors snap me out of the heat haze and encourage me to spend hours strolling the aisles. I’ve been going so much lately that I challenge myself to shop on a budget, looking for little cheap finds that will bring me the same joy at home that the big air-conditioned market does.
And what a great time for it too! Summer is peak fruit season at H Mart, where the produce aisles are brimming with juicy stone fruit and plump ears of fresh corn. I also like to pick up little snacks and drinks that pack flavor punches way above their price points. Plus, I’m always on the lookout for fun kitchen gadgets that will inspire my cooking, even when I don’t want to turn on the stove. Look for these sweet finds the next time you seek out air-conditioning refuge at your local H Mart.
1. Donut Peach, $1.99 per pound
Did you know that donut peaches have been around since the 1800s, but they just weren’t deemed very cool until some marketing geniuses decided to dub them “donut peaches”? My hat off to them, because this adorable stone fruit is equally a pleasure to behold and to eat.
2. Golden Kiwi, $1.79 per pound
This kiwi feels so special for summer because of its beautiful, sunny insides that are a bit sweeter and less tart than its standard green-fleshed counterpart. I love to use golden kiwis in bright summer smoothies or fruit salads, as well as part of a delicious LA galbi or bulgogi marinade — the acids in the kiwi help to tenderize the proteins in meat!
3. Yellow Corn, 4 for $1.99
4. Cherry Plum, $1.99 per pound
These tiny, perfectly round orbs are the most delicious stone fruit, in my opinion. They have a thin skin covering golden flesh that is bursting with sweetness, and finish with just the right amount of tartness.
5. Asian Best Tapioca Pearls, Small Green, $2.49 for 16 ounces
How gorgeous are these mini boba? While cooking these little pearls at home might be a bit tricky (make sure to follow the instructions exactly!), when done right they’re just the addition you need for your home cafe. Add them to your favorite milk tea or coffee drink and slurp away.
6. Sun Flower Dried Seaweed, $1.79 for 4.2 ounces
This variety of dried seaweed, also known as dasima in Korean or kombu in Japanese, is the base of many of the delicate but umami-rich broths you love. Soak a piece in cold water overnight or bring to a gentle simmer on the stove. The resulting soup stock, or dashi, can be used for restaurant-worthy udon, miso soup, or miyeok guk (more on that below).
7. ChoripDong Dried Seaweed, $1.99 for 20 grams
If you’re Korean and it’s your birthday, then this dried seaweed is the foundation of your birthday soup! Miyeok guk is traditionally fed to new mothers to help with recovering and breastfeeding, so Koreans honor that tradition and their mothers by eating seaweed soup on their birthdays. Just hydrate the seaweed in cold water for 30 minutes, sauté with a bit of sliced beef, and simmer in some dashi for an hour for an elegant bowl of soup any day of the year.
8. ChoripDong Mini Yakgwa, $1.99 for 3.52 ounces
I’ve loved yakgwa, a deep-fried honey cake flavored with sesame oil and ginger, since I was a kid stealing them off the Chuseok table. These mini yakgwa are a new go-to buy for me; the mini size makes it a true little luxury and it looks so cute when plated with my morning coffee!
9. Jeju Hallabong Sparkling, $0.99 for 355 mL
This was my husband’s absolute favorite drink when we last visited Korea — a sparkling drink made with hallabong, a sumo citrus that hails from Korea’s Jeju Island. The hallabong is a superior citrus, with a brighter, slightly oilier and more tart flavor than your traditional orange. It’s so refreshing in this canned version, and I’ll be stocking up on it for us to enjoy all summer long.
10. GW Shim’s Vegan Stir-Fried Kimchi, $2.49 for 5.64 ounces
Wow, even just the packaging oozes a quiet luxury, doesn’t it? Not only is this canned kimchi vegan (which makes it a stellar option for those who love kimchi, but want to avoid any salted seafood or fish sauce), but it’s also stir-fried! This removes excess moisture and helps concentrate that delicious kimchi flavor. Mix it into rice for a quick bokkeum bap, or top your morning eggs with a chopstick-full.
11. P/L Onigiri Maker & Container/Lunchbox, $2.99
For under $3, this adorable lunch box will also help you mold perfect onigiri, or Japanese rice balls! Just mold your rice and fillings into the box, transfer to a seaweed sheet, and fold the edges around. Tuck the sliced onigiri back into the box for an impressive and sweet lunchtime surprise.
12. Green Onion Cutter, $2.99
Do you need this green onion cutter? Sure, you could do all the knifework of creating thinly sliced scallions on your own. But once I tried this cutter, I couldn’t go back. Run the multi pronged knife along the length of a green onion to make perfect shreds that can be tossed into a scallion salad or used as a topping in Korean BBQ!
13. Chair Leg Cover, $2.19 for 4
Baby socks, but for your chairs! I have really soft wood floors in my kitchen which are constantly being scratched up by the scooting and sitting on of chairs. These chair socks would be perfect to help mitigate all that damage, and probably a little luxury for my downstairs neighbors as well.
14. Pulmuone Tempura Udon Kit, $2.99 for 17.1 ounces
Pulmuone makes excellent meal kits, and this tempura udon is no exception. For just $3 you can have a luxurious noodle soup for two, complete with crunchy tempura vegetables to round out the cozy, comforting vibes.
15. Pulmuone Sliced Pickled Radish with Perilla Leaves, $2.99 for 10.6 ounces
Perilla leaves make these pickled radish wraps luxurious, thanks to an herbaceous, slightly minty flavor to balance out the crunchy acidity of the pickle. Wrap these around Korean barbecued meats, or roll them around crudité for fancy hors d’oeuvres!
16. Lotte Yogurt Jelly, $2.99 for 1.75 ounces
Jellies are all the rage in Korea (and at H Mart!) these days, but I am only partial to this Yakult-flavored one. Pop it into the freezer for a surprising new taste and texture sensation that will get you through the dog days of summer.
What little luxuries are you buying at H Mart this summer? Tell us in the comments below.