Food Showdown: H Mart Showdown

H mart 

The perfect place to grab a snack after a lengthy day of school, H Mart is known for their assortment of Korean styled food vendors. Some of their most popular vendors include Awoolim Premium Hand Roll 4.5/5, Rice & Noodles 4/5, Gook Hwa House 3/5, and Deli Manjoo 4/5. 

Awoolim Premium Hand Roll 4.5/5

One of the most visited vendors in H mart, located in Diamond Bar, Awoolim serves a variety of Korean dishes such as Korean hand rolls, “kimbap,” spicy rice cakes “tteokbokki” and much more. I purchased a beef kimbap ($9) and a bowl of tteokbokki ($6 for a small), and found all items had their own flavor profiles. The kimbap was filled with a variety of vegetables wrapped in rice and a thin layer of seaweed. With each bite of the rice cake, the texture took me by surprise with the perfect amount of spiciness. All in all, Awoolim’s light snacks are the perfect way to transition into the spring season. 

Rice & Noodles 4/5

This particular eatery is known for their aromatic Korean style rice and noodle dishes. Rice & Noodle offered an assortment of Korean-style noodles and rice dishes. I ordered both the black bean noodles “jajangmyeon” ($11.99) and mixed fried rice “bibimbap” ($13.99). I waited alongside the other customers, standing near the tile wall full of drawings for about 20-25 minutes. As many people ate their lunch (1 pm) in the H Mart food court, I was lucky enough to grab a seat as I listened to the upbeat music and the savory aroma of food filled the air. The proportion of black bean sauce to noodle was perfect, complimenting the soft and chewy texture of the noodles. As for the bibimbap, a variety of Korean-style side dishes were layered onto a bed of rice, allowing for a burst of flavor in each spoonful. Overall, I was impressed by both the dishes and quick service. 

Gook Hwa House 3/5

A very popular dish amongst shoppers, Gook Hwa House sells a variation of steamed buns. I ordered each type of bun: sweet red bean, vegetable and pork ($12.87 for two of each flavor bun). Since they were quite busy, the wait was about 20 minutes, allowing me to go pick up a few items from the store. Even with the long wait, the buns were filled with disappointment. The dough-to-filling ratio was despairing, as the excessive amount of dough overpowered the flavor of the stuffing inside. The sweet red-bean bun was mushy and undercooked, and the vegetable and pork buns were rather bland. Given the popularity of this vendor, I was rather disappointed in the quality of the food. 

Deli Manjoo 4/5

Eyed by every child who walks into the store, Deli Manjoo sells an array of baked fish-shaped treats known as “bungeo-ppang.” I ordered a total of four different flavors of fish desserts: matcha, chocolate, red bean and their most popular custard-filled fish ($3.50 a piece, $12 for four). The fishes themselves were delightful, as the worker had just made a new batch for display. Moreover, with each bite, you could taste the distinct flavor of each bungeo-ppang. My favorite was the custard due to the subtle sweetness of each filling paired with the crispy, yet fluffy, soft dough.