This morning is the long-awaited grand opening of H Mart in Kearny Mesa; it’s the Asian superstore’s second location in San Diego. The chain has been operating since 2012 in Mira Mesa, but the 40,500-square-foot Balboa outpost (which used to be a Sports Authority) is part of its next generation of stores.
While H Mart’s stores have traditionally contained some kind of food court component, the new locations feature more of a food hall setup, with ample communal seating and a modern look and layout. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the 5,496-square-foot Balboa collective’s food vendors include a local eatery, two hugely-popular Korean brands, and two brand new concepts.
The first local flag for Korean super chain Myungrang Hot Dog has arrived, with more San Diego locations in the works. Its specialty is a trendy street food known as a rice corn dog, which are hot dogs coated in a rice flour batter and fried until crisp. Ranging in price from $1.99 to $4.99, Myungrang’s options include cheddar and sausage dogs and sticks of mozzarella cheese.
The market eatery also houses another well-known brand from Korea, Sinjeon Food Sys, Its main attraction is topokki, a dish featuring stir-fried rice cakes in a spicy gochujang sauce, but the stall will also offer fried dumplings, fish cakes, and variations on kimbap, a Korean snack akin to sushi rolls.
Making its debut is Katzya, which will cook up donkatsu, or breaded pork cutlets that come with cheese or curry as well as Korean-style fried chicken, including wings and tenders, with spicy or soy-garlic seasoning.
Also new is Kangnam Chef, which will highlight Korean-Chinese hybrid dishes ranging from jajajngmyun, noodles in a sweet-savory black bean sauce, to tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork) and champon (noodle soup).
Bann Cuisine has moved its Miramar operations to the market, where its menu includes kimchi fried rice, Korean ramyeon, spicy pork bowls, and a variety of jigae, a stew-like dish made with kimchi, tofu, and other ingredients.
Opposite the food hall in the H Mart entryway is Tous Les Jours Bakery, a franchise from South Korea that offers an “Asian-French” menu of pastries, breads, cakes, and coffee drinks. Meanwhile, the main marketplace stocks all sort of household items and Asian ingredients, from produce to seafood plus a wide range of meat for Korean barbecue and other prepared food.