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.
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.
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