Story originally appeared on FoodCary.
Cary, NC – Since opening, or even before it opened, HMart has attracted a lot of attention in Cary and in the Triangle. One of HMart’s unique features for a grocery store is its many places to eat and here is a handy guide to these restaurants.
Where To Eat
In HMart, there are eight places to buy ready-to-eat food, made right in front of you. How to order from these places is a separate issue, but for now, here are your options.
Kang Nam Town is a popular chain in South Korea with some locations in the United States in places like Los Angeles and, now, Cary. Here you can order traditional Korean foods such as kimchi, which is spiced and fermented vegetables, usually cabbage. They also have beef and seafood to mix in with these other Korean staples.
BBQ Chicken is one of the more popular options at HMart for American palettes. Here, chicken is barbecued or fried, with boneless and non-boneless options. The approach to seasoning is a little different than most American chicken places, with tastes such as lemon, garlic and more.
Thai Pantry shows the diversity in the options at HMart, with Thai soups and lots of rice to go along with them. You can get sweet coconut tastes or more savory dishes, with options for vegetarians as well.
Tofu House is another stop for soups, though these are made in the Korean tradition instead of Thai. If you are not used to eating tofu, you will be surprised by the richness in tastes these soups can offer. And if you have not tried tofu skin before, this is a place to start.
Don-Don is a Japanese restaurant with two options: udon noodle soups or donburi bowls. Udon are thick noodles and the options have some meat, fish or vegetable mixed in with the noodles and broth. A donburi, by comparison, is much thicker and is stuffed with ingredients.
Deli Manjoo is a snack center with all kinds of stuffed pastries with fruity tastes. You can see the desserts being made right in front of you as pastry and other confections are molded into fun shapes such as fish.
Tsuki is HMart’s sushi bar with trained chefs ready to take your orders and craft fish, seaweed, rice and more together into familiar rolls or sculpted nigiri pieces.
Tous Les Jours is HMart’s full service bakery with traditional Korean breads such as gyeran-ppang or “egg bread” and sweet options as well such as gyeongju.
How to Order
For customers who are not used to way food courts work in South Korea, Thailand or other parts of Southeast Asia, the system at HMart may be unfamiliar. Most of the restaurants at Hmart work through a central kiosk called KTown. If you are entering HMart through the right door, it will one of the first things you see so it is easy to find.
Instead of going up to the individual restaurant you want to order from, place your order at KTown and then you will get a number. Either hang out right by the restaurant you ordered from or wait around KTown but be on the lookout for that number. Computer screens near each restaurant will put out the number when your food is ready. And keep in mind, if you order dishes from different restaurants, they will come out at different places as well as different times.
You can order your food to go but there are also lots of places to sit. HMart gets busy so you may have to share a table but that’s okay. It’s a nice way to meet new people in the community. There are places to buy drinks but there are also water dispensers by each entrance to the restaurant section of the store.
When you finish, take your dishes back to the restaurant you got your food from, not KTown.
Now, this system does not apply to Tsuki or Tous Les Jours. Both operate on their own and at least for now, Tsuki only takes cash, not credit cards.
And that is how you order at HMart’s restaurants. Hopefully this will simplify things so you can spend less time ordering and more time eating.
Story and photos by Michael Papich. Food content on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Thai Spices & Sushi.