17 H Mart Groceries to Buy for Chuseok
Chuseok, or “Korean Thanksgiving” as I sometimes simply refer to it, is a magical time at H Mart. The stockers are always so in tune with the day to come, piling the aisles high with ripe fruit, plentiful vegetables, and pallets of traditional cookies and crackers (the holiday is on Friday this year, but celebration spans the days before and after).
While Chuseok, and its accompanying “charye” table traditionally honors past ancestors, it’s also a time to gather with family and celebrate the fall harvest, like other mid-autumn festivals. Koreans will travel cross-country to help their parents and grandparents cook mountains of jeon (vegetable and meat fritters or pancakes) alongside the family’s favorite foods.
Here in Brooklyn, every Chuseok I like to gather the family members that live close by as well as all my friends (my chosen family!) to partake in the classic Chuseok foods and share my Korean heritage. Whether you too are hosting your own Chuseok or mid-autumn festivities, or just looking to make a fun weekend meal in honor, follow along with everything I’m buying for Chuseok at H Mart this week.
1. Korean Melon, $2.49 per pound
These bright yellow orbs are known as “chamoe” — sweet and crunchy Korean melons that will pop on the Chuseok table and also on your guests’ tastebuds. Traditionally, they’re used stacked on a charye plate in a pyramid with the top fruit peeled just a bit to show the inner flesh, better for presenting to your ancestors. I like to do the same as a decor element even though I’m not hosting the traditional memorial services, and then transition seamlessly into serving the cut fruit for dessert.
2. Small White Potato, $2.49 per pound
The main star of my Chuseok party is my galbi jjim, or braised short ribs. These little white potatoes are closest to the types of potatoes I find in Korea, and their smooth, stone-like shapes turn into burnished nuggets as they soak up the savory sauce.
3. Shiitake Mushroom, $5.99 per pound
These tender but umami-packed mushrooms are the workhorses of many Chuseok foods because they’re so plentiful (and cheap!) in the fall. I’ll plop them whole into the above galbi jjim, and also slice and stir-fry them for japchae.
4. Lily (Lotus) Roots, $1.79 per pound
When cut open, lotus roots have a gorgeous, lattice-like cross-section, making it a vegetable I love to reach for during Chuseok. Slice thick and braise to make yeongun jorim, or mandoline thinly and fry to make crispy lotus root chips!
5. Sesame Leaves with Stem, $2.99 per pound
It brings me joy this time of year to see kkaenip, also known as sesame leaves or perilla leaves, sold in these massive bouquets because the harvest is so plentiful. Preserve them for long-term eating by making a soy sauce or gochugaru-based kkaenip banchan, or use them all up for your Chuseok table by wrapping around small seasoned meat patties, battering with flour and egg, and pan-frying to make a delicious kkaenip jeon.
6. Korean Radish, $0.79 per pound
I’m grabbing one of these big radish babies (or “mu” in Korean) for my mu guk, a simple beef and radish soup that’s often served on the ancestral worship table for Chuseok. But also, maybe I’ll grab a few more to have on hand to make kimchi later!
7. Korean Noodles with Veggies (Japchae), $8.49 for 16 ounces
Japchae is one of the more time-consuming dishes featured on the Chuseok table because it requires each vegetable ingredient to be cooked separately before being combined with the seasoned noodles. Give yourself a break and pick up these delicious pre-made noodles so you can get back to the business of hosting and eating with your friends and family.
8. Veggie Bean Pancakes, $7.99 for 14 ounces
Also known as nokdu bindaetteok, these hefty pancakes are famously found in Seoul’s Gwangjang Market. Mung beans are ground and mixed into a batter, then fried in a shimmering pool of hot oil. You can reheat these at home in your air fryer or with a small splash of oil in a hot pan!
9. Gyeongju Beopju Makgeolli, $3.99 for 35.36 fluid ounces
In Korean culture, jeon is always served with makgeolli, an unfiltered rice wine. This brand is a favorite of mine: its mild sweetness and creamy texture is perfect for pairing with the oil-fried fritters.
10. NHP Laver Crackers, $4.99 for 8.8 ounces
These “old-school” crackers are the yesteryear sweets of my grandparents’ generations, and I’ve adopted some of the nostalgia for them as well. They come in a variety of puffed rice or wheat snacks, but these slightly sweet, slight savory triangles are like fortune cookies dusted with a sprinkling of seaweed!
11. Kyong Gi Rice, $16.99 for 15 pounds
A plentiful fall harvest means a plentiful rice harvest, of course! Run, don’t walk to grab this deal on one of my top rice brands. Kyong Gi Rice is a Calrose rice, a type of medium grain rice grown in California that’s highly prized in Korea because of its soft, flavorful grains. Best of all? It’s currently the price of a bag a third its size.
12. Cheongnyeontteokjip Unforgettable Tteok, $9.99 for 21.16 ounces
Whoa, ice cream dduk! It looks like this Korean brand is looking to rival the ice cream mochis out on the market, filling them with the classic Korean flavors of red bean and coating in injeolmi (roasted soybean powder). I can’t wait to try these with my guests!
13. Horong Horong Coffee Yakgwa, $1.99 for 4.5 ounces
I am very impressed with the sheer number of options for yakgwa at H Mart this year. Yakgwa, a traditional Korean honey cookie, is often seen on the Chuseok table. In years past, I usually only saw one or two in-house products. These mini, coffee-flavored ones will be a cute sweet treat to have with my morning tea.
14. Muziktiger Sweet Rice Yakgwa, $7.99 for 15.8 ounces
Handcrafted, individually wrapped, and stamped with the cutest flying tiger cartoon? These are my pick for classic yakgwa this year, perfect for serving or for gifting.
15. Spam, 2 for $7 (12 ounces each)
If you know me, you know I always stock up on Spam –– it often goes in my instant ramyun to make budae jjigae. Chuseok is the time I get to make my true favorite Spam dish: Spam jeon! Simply slice and dip in flour, then egg, and you got yourself the most popular dish on the table. Seriously, it’s always the first thing to go.
16. Bibigo Dotom Pork & Vegetable Mini Patty, $10.99 for 16 ounces
When I was last home visiting my parents, my mom showed me this super simple trick for making “donguerang ddeng” (round thing), aka wanja jeon or Korean beef patty fritters. Just use this bag of preformed, frozen pork patties, and toss them in flour and egg (you know the drill now). They are so tasty you won’t even know they’re semi-homemade.
17. Imperial Mixed Flavor Mooncake Gift Box, $29.99 for 16.93 ounces
H Mart was positively brimming with mooncake gift box options. I was especially drawn to this one due to its beautiful drawer design and illustrations. A good mid-autumn gift should be like this, gorgeous from presentation to tasting! Happy fall, y’all.
What groceries are you buying for Chuseok this year? Tell us in the comments below.