Looking for a Korean market or grocery in the Boston area?
Reliable Market, Union Square
45 Union Sq
Parking in the rear of the building
I am the most familiar with this market. There is a decent selection of whatever you are looking for, in addition there is a fresh meat section where you can get Korean style cuts of meat, a fresh seafood section with sushi grade fish and live lobster (and live crabs in season). There is also an assortment of banchans (same owner as Koreana restaurant in Cambridge) and preseasoned BBQ meats. At the counter are some prepared foods including kimbap and dduk (rice cakes). Their kimchi selection varies and recently it doesn’t seem to be as good as it used to be and unfortunately they stopped carrying my favorite brand. Reliable also carries Japanese ingredients.
The variety is good, they are more consistent in their stock than H-mart Burlington (read below), their prices are comparable, and it is the most convenient location and clean, so this is the market that I go to the most.
Hmart, Central Square
581 Massachusetts Ave
Located at the former Harvest Co-op, this second Hmart location in MA opened earlier this year. The food court has a bakery (Paris Baguette, yay!), Japanese curry (Go! Go! Curry), and Sapporo Ramen. There is a small fresh fish section in the back corner as well as a decent section dedicated for prepared food. They made the most use out of this smaller space.
Han A Rum, North Cambridge between Porter and Rt 2
2376 Massachusetts Ave
Metered street parking
The smallest among the Korean markets (two aisles), Hanarum has limited choice but carries most basics. It is the closest to me, but not comprehensive enough for my needs; however it can be convenient in a pinch. A real mom-and-pop shop, the owners are an old couple with the wife making kimchi on premises. I think they must make rice cake as well, but have never inquired.
Lotte Market, between Central Square and MIT – CLOSED
297 Massachusetts Ave
Limited parking in front of building
In an ideal location for Harvard and MIT students, this location has kimbap at the counter, (and boxes and boxes of instant ramen, of course), and a good selection of prepared banchans. There is also a meat section for Korean style cuts of meat. I’m not very familiar with this market, but from what I remember they have an adequate selection. Not necessarily the best for produce.
H Mart, near the Burlington Mall
3 Old Concord Rd
The big box Korean supermarket came to the region with the arrival of Hmart. This place gets crazy on the weekends. When you first enter a bakery (Tous Les Jour) and a food court – mostly Korean, but also Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese. One of the stalls even offers fresh handmade steamed buns.
This large market offers a large variety of fresh produce, prepared foods such as kimbap and banchans, selection of meats and fresh seafood section. There is a large selection of practically everything (dried, frozen), however; their stock can be inconsistent. There have been several occasions when they no longer had available something I had purchased earlier.
H Mart carries other Asian ingredients including Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese as well as general groceries. Housewares are available at one end of the store.
152 Harvard Ave
Metered street parking
It’s been years since I’ve been to this location because it’s on the other side of the river. From what I recall, they have a pretty decent selection and they make the most of the space by stacking products high. I can’t tell you much about it, but these Yelp reviewers can.
Although you can also find some Korean ingredients in the large Chinese based Asian markets, I prefer getting Korean ingredients from a Korean market.
Tip: Get tofu at any Asian market; it’s always SO MUCH cheaper. Ditto for fresh watercress and scallions.
Missing a market? Comment below!