Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Little Ferry H Mart cuts back on free samples, stays mum on new store

These part-time employees at the H Mart in Little Ferry dispensed free seafood samples on the weekends for about a year, but last Sunday, they were gone for good, a store employee said. 
This empty space was where free samples of seafood were available, not far from the main fresh-fish counter, including seafood pancakes, crab meat, boiled octopus, smoked farmed salmon, broiled eel and broiled mussels topped with fish eggs. A few free samples, including meat, were available elsewhere in the store on Sunday.
The Korean supermarket occupies about half of the former Valley Fair building, which dates to the 1960s. A cyclone fence now surrounds most of the structure as workers clean the steel supports under the building, though it's not known whether the work is related to the company's plan to build a new store in the vacant half.


The shabbiest H Mart in Bergen County is long overdue for a complete makeover.

The store takes up the back half of an enormous 1-story building on Bergen Turnpike in Little Ferry that began life as a Valley Fair discount store.

The parking lot floods regularly, the dingy lunchroom closed years ago and the entrance to the Korean supermarket looks awful.

Still, the store attracts customers by offering fresh seafood, an unmatched variety of Asian greens, fresh produce and prepared Korean food -- much of it at low prices.

On Sunday, for example, a box of 16 small, yellow Ataulfo Mangoes was on sale for $8.99 with an instant coupon, reduced from $14.99.

Jackfruit was only 99 cents a pound.

I called H Mart headquarters in Lyndhurst on Monday, but couldn't find anyone who could tell me whether plans for a new store in the vacant half of the Valley Fair building are going forward.

A package of Stir-Fried Vermicelli, left, a yam-flour noodle Koreans call japchae, was $5.99 at the Little Ferry H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike.

Baby Bok Choy were cut to 68 cents a pound at H Marts in Englewood and Little Ferry.

A spicy preparation called Stewed Tofu was $4.99 at the Little Ferry H Mart. Prepared food is made in-store or supplied by such outside Korean caterers as Jinga.

A snack I enjoy at home is a small plate of reheated japchae with spinach and other vegetables topped with crunchy kimchi from my refrigerator.

Stewed Alaskan Pollack sections with skin and bones ($7.99 at H Mart) and Stewed Tofu served with leftover  Kabocha squash mashed with olive oil, and sauteed cabbage and sweet peppers.
The seafood counter at the H Mart in Englewood, where whole wild-caught whiting usually are $3.99 a pound.

A large tray of Kimbap -- a Korean roll filled with rice, vegetables, egg and imitation crab made from pollack, right front -- was $6.79 at the Englewood H Mart, 25 Lafayette Ave. Trays of sweet dessert Rice Cakes, rear, are 50% off after 4 p.m.

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