I love Korean grocery stores like H-mart but I do get overwhelmed by all of the goodies that I can get. To make things simple for you, I narrowed down my must get items at korean grocery stores split things by category. Most of these are Korean items (some Chinese ◡̈ ) , so keep in mind they are for Korean cuisine. For Chinese and Japanese grocery store items, I will do a new blog post for them!
Now, you can take this list of my favorite items to your next Korean grocery store run! Check back often because I will keep updating new favorites. 😉 (Date Updated: September 21, 2022) In the newest update, I added recipes you can make with the grocery items for inspo!
If you don’t have a korean grocery store near you, I added amazon links to purchase as well. Happy eating!
Not your average Shin ramen faves…I love an instant ramen packed with flavor!
- Mama Tom Yum – I love the texture of these noodles. The broth is not tom yum flavor exactly but it does have great spice and lime flavor. I can see why its a favorite instant noodle in Thailand.
- Omori Kimchi Stew Ramyun – soft delicious noodles (not as chewy) with super flavorful broth. The kimchi is not too sour but you can still taste some acidity and umami!
Soup & Noodles
- Fresh Knife Cut Noodles – these fresh noodles are so springy and soft. They taste great in chicken soups.
- Anchovy Packets – you need these anchovy packets whenever you are cooking Korean stews and soups! With this anchovy packet as your base, you can make restaurant quality soondubu (korean tofu soup).
- Wang Korea – red pepper powder – this korean red pepper powder is more mild (to my liking and for those that can’t eat too spicy) than others. Gives fantastic flavor too!
- Furikake (nori seasoning) – seaweed seasoning (sweet, a little salty, and umami from seaweed) is great for those that are making a salmon bowl or need some flavor for their eggs or rice!
- Kikkoman preimum soy sauce – this light soy sauce its packed with flavor and goes great with sushi and meat.
- Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce – the best oyster sauce for cooking. Its savory and has tons of seafood flavor (sweet and salty!) without being fishy.
- CJ Foods Gochujang – this is a flavorful red pepper paste that s not too spicy. The sauce has a lovely bitter and fermented flavor. This will bring lots of depth to your korean dishes!
- CJ Foods Soybean paste – this korean soybean paste is similar to Japanese miso paste. Its earthy, salty, little bitter and great for stews!
I don’t drink soft drinks or soda often. But if I want to treat myself, you know I’ll be choosing these:
- milkis (carbonated milk and yogurt) – tastes like a mild sprite! so delicious!
I believe a side dish is worth it to buy when you can’t make it at home (or it takes too much work). Here are a few of my favorite side dishes that go so well with white rice:
- seasoned radish
- mixed seasoned squid
- stir-fried anchovy
- Jongga kimchi – pickled cabbage and radish as known as kimchi! I like this brand because its not too spicy, flavorful and has the right amount of acidity. I’ve noticed that a lot of kimchis can be very sour, but this one is perfect for me!
Frozen items are always a hit or miss for me. Sometimes the quality of the food is not the same or not even close to the real deal (for example: korean corn dogs). However, the frozen aisle is great to get delicious fish cakes and imitation crab! Here are a few frozen items that I’ve tried and loved:
- K-fish fish cakes – flat fish cakes are used for tteubokki (korean spicy rice cakes), budae-jjigae (army stew)
- Osaki brand imitation crab – this imitation crab is the most delicious in crab rangoons, sushi, kimbap, and more! Its sweet and shreds really nicely.
The meat at korean grocery stores like h-mart are great for Korean BBQ (duh!). They also have great selection for shabu shabu/hot pot. I recommend the beef and pork belly here because the meats have a good ratio of fat and meat (great marbling). As for the seafood, I recommend skipping because its not that fresh in my opinion. One time I bought shrimp there, I ended up throwing all the shrimp away after opening the bag immediately 🙁
Here is a list of my favorite meats for your next korean bbq:
- beef short ribs
- pork belly
- jowl meat – pork neck is so tender and fatty! Its great for korean bbq with some salt and pepper. Or marinate it in a sweet sauce and you’re in for a treat!
- bone-in short ribs
You know you’re at a good korean store when they have walls of different seaweeds. This is one that I always go with because I love the flavor of the roasted seaweed:
- Haio Seaweed – individually packed and tastes super fresh with a hint of sesame oil! I love this seaweed when I want to eat with rice and side dishes.
Happy shopping and come back to see my newest food additions to the blog post ◡̈
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I gotta get the oyster sauce!
Hi Samantha, thank you so much for listing brands and showing the labels! The Korean grocery store is one of my happy places, but it can be overwhelming with all of the options.
Thank you!!! The pictures are so helpful as well ☺️😊