I'm a Super H-Mart junkie. The Korea-based chain of mega grocery stores is the kind of place where every visit uncovers a new treasure. In the past, the problem with Super H-Marts was that most are located way OTP. However, the newest location (6035 Peachtree Road, Doraville, 770-986-2300, www.hmart.com) is right at the Perimeter and it has all the standard yummy wonderment (i.e., every single Asian ingredient you could ever need and many other delights) and, like all Super H-Marts, a food court that trumps the mall version.
The new Super H is a one-stop shop, where you can get your weekly Saturday grocery shopping excursions out of the way and grab a bite from one of the many stands. Since it's a new store, a couple of the options – Kokai Express and Snack World – have not yet opened. The existing establishments provide more than enough variety, however.
Daejanggum Korean Cuisine serves Korean specialties in the traditional vessels if you are eating in. Sizzling dolsot bibimbap arrives in a blazing hot cast-iron dish (dolsot) with a red squeeze bottle of spicy sauce to drizzle over the crisp rice, vegetables, and crumbled beef. Mix it with the accompanying spoon and dig in. A stainless steel bowl of mandu duk contains a cloudy broth filled with plump egg and pork dumplings, a tangle of deep green seaweed, and slices of glutinous rice cake. It is traditionally mild in flavor – as it should be – but big on texture. Bubbling soondubu jigae (a kimchee-laden spicy, silken tofu stew) comes with your choice of seafood, beef, oyster, mushroom or a combination of your choice. For an appetizer, tiny water dumplings are glistening and supple. A swipe through the accompanying sauce makes the pork and scallion mixture pop.
Sushi Yuki makes a mean – and inexpensive – chirashi don. The room temperature rice fills a large bowl and sandwiches a layer of spicy Japanese mayo with dried seaweed. The rice is crowned with fat slices of salmon, tuna, red snapper, and a swirl of pickled ginger. Avoid the rolls, as they can tend to be, as one person in our group joked, "yucky." Yuki also has pre-prepared sashimi and other dishes for the taking in the adjoining refrigerated case.
Skip the Americanized dishes at Beijing House and go for a huge helping of cha chiang mein. Fresh, fat noodles are covered in fermented black bean sauce as dark as midnight, dried bean curd, ground pork and julienned cucumber. It may look like an odd dish, but it's addictive once you've sufficiently integrated all of the ingredients and taken your first noisy slurp of sauce-laden noodles. Pair it with an order of crispy fried pork dumplings served with a tangy dipping sauce tinged with sesame oil and green onion.
After lunch (or dinner), feel free to peruse the quirky stores for some Hello Kitty slippers, a funky low-profile bed or that vibrating Japanese toilet you've been saving up for. There's even a mini-arcade to occupy the kiddies while you shop. But don't leave without a loaf of soft-as-clouds milk toast bread – and maybe a few other sweets – from the Korean-French Tous Les Jours Bakery.
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