First Lady Yuma Hogan shops at H Mart in Maryland. State photo via Wikimedia Creative Commons
H Mart, the largest Korean American grocery store chain in the United States, had its first grand opening in San Francisco this week..
The H stands for Han Ah Reum (한아름), which translates in English as, “one arm”. The phrase is short for, “one arm full of groceries”.
The first H Mart opened in Woodside, New York in 1982, according to the H Mart website. H Mart’s current headquarters is located in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. In the years since H Mart’s opening, the franchise has grown to have over 97 stores throughout the United States. Its locations have also expanded to Canada and England.
H mart offers a food stall, snacks, noodles, banchan (Korean side dishes), meat, frozen foods and beauty products, according to a report by SF Gate. Chef Chris Oh from the Korean restaurant Um.ma made note that when he was growing up, there were no Korean supermarkets in San Francisco and he and his family would travel to Oakland in order to purchase groceries.
“There were no specific Korean supermarkets, so we had to go to Ranch 99, you know?” Chef Oh told Eater. “We were going to Oakland for sure.”
This comes as an exciting move for Korean chefs and foodies alike.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story or making a contribution.