Sunday, October 6, 2013

Searching for the best kimchi in North Jersey

At H&Y Marketplace in Ridgefield, fresh fish are displayed on plenty of ice.

Women making kimchi in the store offer samples to customers.

By Victor E. Sasson

Several weeks ago, the Oh family closed their celebrated kimchi factory in Englewood, promising to reopen at a Korean supermarket in Ridgefield.

The family chose H&Y Marketplace, not the much larger Super H Mart down the road.

The Oh family's handmade kimchi is preservative- and MSG-free, and the best commercial product in North Jersey.

I've been eating their spicy, fermented cabbage, radish and cucumber kimchis for more than a decade, and always had a bottle in the refrigerator.

So, on Saturday, I drove to H&Y Marketplace, which I haven't visited since the store opened a couple of years ago, and discovered it's the perfect place for Arirang Kimchi.

The smaller market is far more manageable than H Mart, and on weekends, customers are offered free samples of Korean food made in the store -- including pork sausage, seaweed-wrapped brown rice and kimchi.

Other samples were raw conch, and homemade tofu, also available with black sesame seeds.

Fluke Tang ($9.99) is a container of fresh fish and other seafood, as well as vegetables, for making soup at home.

I saw kimchi being made in the store, but it wasn't Arirang kimchi.

At customer service, I was told the store had invited Arirang kimchi to set up shop, but it still hadn't happened.

I purchased a half-gallon of the Kimganae Kimchi being made in the store ($9.99), and jumped in the car to buy rice and spicy soup at the Super H Mart.

I had to park in the back of the large lot, and the store was a madhouse, compared to H&Y Marketplace.

I usually shop at H Marts in Englewood and Little Ferry, and it took awhile to find the rice and soup I wanted, fighting the crowd all the way.

At the Super H Mart, a 15-pound bag of Kokuho Yellow Label Rice from California was on sale for $10.99, a savings of $3, but other H Marts discount it more.

A 16-serving box of Shin Ramyun spicy instant noodle soup was $11.99, also a savings of $3. Previously, I wrote the box contained 20 servings.


Vicky Oh of Arirang Kimchi says construction in one of the stores at the H&Y mall in Ridgefield has just started.

She expects Arirang Kimchi to open in December or January.

H&Y Marketplace is at 1 Remsen Place, off Broad Avenue, in Ridgefield. Telephone: 201-943-7400.

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