Sunday, December 28, 2014

Flooding at Little Ferry H Mart, Korean soft tofu in Palisades Park

On Saturday, customers trying to enter the parking lot of H Mart in Little Ferry wished they were piloting a boat.


H Mart customers love the bargains they find at the Korean supermarket chain's Little Ferry store, but can't shake the feeling the space is sorely in need of a makeover.

Flooding continues to occur in the parking lot. 

The actual store entrance is one of the shabbiest I have ever seen, and takes customers past a liquor concession.

Customers can easily see the interior begs for the same kind of renovation the Englewood store received more than a year ago.

I once peeked into the Little Ferry H Mart's worn public lunchroom and fled, never to return.

The Little Ferry H Mart appears to occupy half of a much larger building that once operated as Valley Fair and then Value Fair, a collection of small merchants. But they are long gone. 

On Saturday, I stopped in Little Ferry for a 15-pound bag of white rice, and also took home mangoes and scallions.

H Mart has sold 15-pound bags of Kokuho Yellow Label, a white rice grown in California, for as little as $7.99.

But the sale price shot up after a drought hit that state. On Saturday in Little Ferry, a 15-pound bag was $12.88.

I also picked up two other sale items, a box of 15 mangoes for $7.99, and five bunches of scallions for 99 cents with a store card.

H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike, Little Ferry; 201-814-0400. Open 7 days. 

Mangoes from Ecuador were a good buy, but I passed on the 5-pound box of Spanish Clementines, below.

Soft-tofu dinner in Pal Park

After the excesses of our Christmas Day dinner, we wanted a simple meal on Saturday, the one night we eat out, and headed for our favorite Korean soft-tofu restaurant in Palisades Park.

I am still in love with the bold flavors and value of this complete meal at So Gong Dong Tofu & B.B.Q. for only $10, including tax -- soft-tofu stew, a fresh egg, white rice, side dishes and tea.

Perilla Seeds and Oyster Soft Tofu was boiling furiously when it was set down in front of me, allowing me to poach a fresh egg in the steaming broth, below.

True comfort food: Eating a yolk broken over white rice.

We were served five complimentary side dishes, instead of the usual four, including cucumber and cabbage kimchis, above, and bean sprouts, sliced radish and seaweed with a spicy gochujang or vinegared red-pepper paste, below. One of the dishes holds a dipping sauce for the pajun or seafood and vegetable pancake we ordered.

Simple decor, with plenty of room for extended families.

A new superfood

I chose a relatively new item on the place-mat menu, Perilla Seeds and Oyster Soft Tofu, which is $10.99, a dollar more than the 13 soft-tofu stews without the seeds of the Asian Shiso plant.

I ordered the stew "more spicy," one of four levels on the menu, including "no spicy."

Perilla Seeds are said to have twice the heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids as chia seeds.

I couldn't see the seeds in the stew, which tasted a lot like the regular Oyster Soft Tofu I order, but I still enjoyed it.

My wife had her usual, Pork Soft Tofu "more spicy" ($9.99), and we also ordered Pajun, a seafood and vegetable pancake made from rice flour to share ($11.99).

So Gong Dong Tofu & B.B.Q., 118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, Palisades Park; 201-313-5550. Open 7 days.

Valet parking and street parking. Meters in effect until 9 p.m. Side-street parking is free. 

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