Hmart Arrives in Tigard

Kimchee Selection

Hmart has come to Tigard. What, never heard of it? Don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either. Hmart is a huge Asian/Korean grocery store. Think Uwajimaya on steroids. The store opened last weekend in the old Haggen location on SW Pacific Hwy in Tigard (99W). It is easy to get there by going up I-5 to exit and heading west, just over 217. From Washington County, you’ll want to jump off 217 at 99@ and head west. It is on the south side of the street, next to Sherwin Williams Paint & Firestone Tires.

First impressions: as I said, it is a very large store, bigger by a third or more than Uwajimaya. You can tell immediately that it used to be Haggen, as the interior setup is exactly the same. Only the lettering on the signs has changed. Even the food court is in the same area.

The food court on the right side of the store has a bakery, a sushi counter, Korean food, and Chinese food/noodle counter. The whole thing can be confusing, and there is a bit of a language barrier. Once you order (a procedure in itself), stay and wait. They will EVENTUALLY call a number which you’ll find on your receipt.

Anyway, the food was okay; a bit better than you might expect. I tried several things, but my favorite was the Bi Bim Pap, though the kimchee on the side was lousy. Still,  I’d probably eat there every time I shop. Moving on… the bakery department in the front of the store was interesting. A wide selection of sweet breads including many I haven’t seen before, but a small quantity of each type. They were out of quite a few of them, but I imagine they are still recovering from the weekend rush. A large display case was full of fancy cakes and pastries.

Geoduck Clams

The produce section was large, but I actually like the quality of things better at Uwajimaya. It also seems like Uw has a better selection of the more exotic items. There is a small wine section and a small beer selection. I’m surprised they don’t have more. In the back corner is an area for pre-made foods to take home, but it wasn’t functional yet. Along more of the back wall is a very large seafood department. One thing turned me off right away: it reeked of fish. Not as in , “this smells like the sea!”, more, “you need to clean your boat”. Great selection, though, and I’d definitely check it out again once they settle in.

The opposite back corner is taken up by the meat counter. Lots of good stuff. There must have been at least five different types of short rib cuts alone. Quality looked very good. The rest of the store is pretty much what you’d expect, except for the incongruous addition of American foods sprinkled about, for example, lots of noodles, and suddenly a display of ragu spaghetti sauce. This was pretty common throughout the store, though overall there was a very large selection of Asian items with no English on them whatsoever. I always have a good time in places like this trying to figure out what things are, but then I’m easily entertained.

Cafe Foods

I was there with two Asian friends and one Caucasian friend. I went through first, got yelled at by the checker because I didn’t wait for her to finish ringing all my groceries before swiping my card. She then asked if I had a store card. When I said no, she rang me up and sent me on my way. I waited while my friends went through. The next, a Korean was asked if he had a store card, and when he said no, was immediately offered one with an application. As he was leaving, the bagger came rushing up with a free sample of tea for him – a large box.

Next came a Caucasian without a card, who wasn’t offered one, and was sent on his way, followed by a Chinese friend who was immediately offered a card, and even though he said no, was given a big box of tea.

Now I’m not saying they are prejudiced against Caucasians, but the whole thing was just kind of weird. I wanted free tea, damn it!

Anyway, the store was good, will probably be great once they get the bugs worked out, and when you leave you can buy a huge pillar of salt with a light inside that looks pretty and, they claim, will stop your allergies.

Guilty Carnivore was there over the weekend when it was quite the madhouse. He took the pictures in this post, and you can see many more in his photo album here: http://photos.guiltycarnivore.com/index.php?album=hmart. Thank you Mr. Carnivore!

  • Phone: 503-620-6120
  • Address: 13600 Sw Pacific Hwy, Portland, OR. Map

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Felix says

    Thanks for the write-up. One suggestion: toughen up Caucasian man (I feel that I can say this because I’m one too). Next time take some time to learn about the food and take in all the experience from some new perspectives. A little chaos is makes for uneasy (often unflexible) Westerners, but it never hurts and always makes for a little extra fun in one’s life. Again, I did appreciate the write-up!

  2. Taylor says

    I went to HMART for lunch today and had a similiar experience. I went to the Noodle counter and ordered the spicy chicken and spice noodle soup. I had to wait for over 45 minutes to get my food and I only had 5 people in front of me. I usually would not have waited that long but I wanted to give it a try. Both dishes were okay but definitely not worth the wait for my busy lunch hour. Produce looked good, I need to explore more around the store.

  3. Robert says

    I have been to Hmart almost every day since I heard it opened! It is SMALLER than Uwajimaya. Just picture the U store in your mind: It’s way bigger. A technicality. I ate from the sushi/noodle bar twice with no extreme waits–5 minutes. And once each from the Korean and Chinese kind of areas. The Chinese took about 10 minutes, Korean about 5. If you watch, they create EVERYTHING at time of service. That’s why it may take awhile. the sushi is priced nicely and tasty, too. At the C hinese bar I recommend the spicy noodle soup with seafood. Be careful about ordering ‘spicy’!the language barrier can get extreme! Act like you know what yo are doing and things go more smoothly. :)I was offered a Hmart card 2 of 4 times through checkout. It was odd. I got a free set of rice bowls last time! I like it because it’s really close to home, too!

  4. Mia says

    I disagree with some of your comments. I frequently go to Hmart and Uw. First of all I like to say that I think they are the same size. Uw actually seems bigger in my mind than Hmart. As for comparing the two places, I don’t think thats a fair thing to do as Uw is a Hawaiian/Japanese market and Hmart is primarily Korean.

    As you mentioned about the service, the people sounded like they treated you pretty rudely. I don’t know if it is because I am Korean as well, but the customer service has always been pretty good. (Except for one time I ordered from the Frozen Yougert store and I could swear that the spoon they gave me was dirty). The cashiers are friendly and they tell you about the buy one get one free sales so you don’t miss out on an extra free item.

    The food to me, is cheap and delicious. I mostly go to the Korean food stand, because I love their cold noodles (Nyung Mien). Its not much money for a great quantity of food. I usually wait for 10-20 minutes. Now as for the cleaniness of the place, you clean up your own food. Its kind of like Burger King or other fastfood places. You have to empty your own tray and leave. Those are the social customs. I am guessing when you went, the store just opened up and people didn’t know to do that.

  5. James says

    You’re so right about the fish counter smelling awful. It’s worse than at the cannery on a hot day in August. So fresh is not what is being sold here. Look at the eyes of some of the whole fish and you’ll know what I mean. In contrast the fish at UW is outstanding. No smelly fish counter there.

    On sale items: Beware. Even though it says 5 for a $1 with no minimum quantity, they will charge you the regular price which is considerably higher than the sale price. If you mention that this is actually against the law in Oregon, which it is, you’re told you’re in a Korean store which doesn’t have to follow American store laws. I’m serious. Without going into further detail of what transpired, it turned out to be a good object lesson in how minorities feel when discriminated against by the majority, except in this case I, a Caucasian male, was the minority.

    On the plus side, some of their vegetables are priced very competitively and appear to be of good quality. Meat looks good, but frankly the prepared meats at UW are better. Overall, the quality at UW is better, taking into consideration the fact that they do cater to a somewhat different clientele. Overall the reviewer has this store pegged. I agree with him/her almost completely.

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