Wedged between two restaurants in a plaza at the corner of Pelham Road and Batesville Road, the Korean Market looks like any other small store from the outside. However, visitors will quickly be charmed by the welcoming atmosphere and wide array of products.
The glass front door rests open, allowing a fresh breeze to blow gently into the store. Standing behind a counter to the right of the entrance, a cashier smiles and chats with two customers about their personal lives as she bags their groceries. Colorful paintings of vibrant flowers and landscapes decorate the walls, along with several plaques with Korean characters.
Much of the information on the store’s products is written in both Korean and English. When this is not the case, the store’s owners have added English labels explaining what the product is. These labels are far clearer than those found in supermarkets, allowing customers to discover exactly what part of the world their purchases come from and what ingredients they contain.
A variety of products are packed into the store’s five aisles. Shoppers can find everything from coffee mugs and paper towels to noodles and kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables and spices. A row of chest freezers along the side wall holds squid, pollock and other seafood. Some frozen dinners can also be found in this section.
For those looking for something sweet, another freezer contains several flavors of ice cream, including red bean mochi ice cream. Although mochi has been a popular sweet rice cake in several Asian countries for centuries, Frances Hashimoto, a Japanese American woman living in Hawaii, first combined mochi and ice cream in the early 1990s. Adzuki beans, key ingredients of red bean mochi, are small beans grown in Asia. Additionally, a large assortment of Asian cookies and candy can be found on the shelves.
Near the front of the store, a small refrigerator keeps some drinks cool. Boba, one of the drinks offered at the Korean Market, originated in Taiwan. Also known as bubble tea, this beverage consists of tea with milk or cream and chewy tapioca balls.
A small section near the back of the market is devoted to utensils, crockpots and other kitchen supplies. Next to the kitchen wares sit several stacks of ramen. Customers may also want to look at the store’s collection of tea, displayed across from the ramen.
The Korean Market is open from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays.