The Best Cooking Wine At H Mart, According To Chef Deuki Hong

If cooking is an act of service, then cooking dishes that carry important meaning to you is an act of love. Few grocery shoppers probably understand this sentiment as much as those in the aisles of H Mart. In her best-selling 2021 book "Crying in H Mart," Japanese Breakfast vocalist Michelle Zauner says the supermarket's namesake "H" stands for the Korean phrase "han ah reum," which translates to "one arm full of groceries."

In 2017, chef Deuki Hong partnered with H Mart as Chief Vendor Curator at the age of 28 — according to The Culinary Institute of America, of which Hong is an alumnus. Already, the young chef has earned an impressive reputation. At the age of 15 (per the CIA), Hong was invited by world-renowned chef Aaron Sanchez to work alongside him at Centrico in New York City. Hong was listed on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list for his work as executive chef of Manhattan's Kang Ho Dong, which, under Hong's direction, saw such esteemed guests as Anthony Bourdain and David Chang. Hong was also the executive chef and owner of fried chicken restaurant Sunday Bird in San Francisco.

Now, Hong lets home cooks in on a saucy insider tip from within the aisles of the beloved supermarket chain itself: this, he says, is the best cooking wine at H Mart.

Grab a bottle of Mihyang

The best cooking wine at H Mart, according to Deuki Hong, is Mihyang. "This is similar to mirin or Japanese vinegar, but it's a little bit sweeter," the chef says via Food & Wine. "Look out for popular Korean brand Ottogi." Mihyang Cooking Wine is self-described as being adept at tenderizing meat, concentrating sugar levels, and eliminating pungent aromas from more fragrant dishes, such as maeuntang (a spicy Korean fish stew featuring gochujang, red snapper, and anchovies, per Taste Atlas.) Miyhang includes simple ingredients like lemon vinegar and grapeseed extract, and Ottogi Mirin Mihyang specifically boasts a mild, sweet flavor that adds slight acidity to any dish.

The first H Mart opened in 1982 and started as a standalone store on a street corner in Woodside, Queens. Since, the Asian supermarket has grown to nearly 100 locations across the U.S., boasting food courts that offer traditional Pan-Asian dishes. Considering the meticulously curated selection H Mart offers, it's high praise to be the best of any product in the aisles.

H Mart is a cultural icon

In a 2018 piece for The New Yorker (which would later serve as a draft for the first chapter of her book), Michelle Zauner explains the emotional ties she and many other shoppers have to H Mart and its unique offerings: "H Mart is where parachute kids go to get the exact brand of instant noodles that reminds them of home. It's where Korean families buy rice cakes to make "tteokguk," a beef soup that brings in the new year. It's the only place where you can find a giant vat of peeled garlic, because it's the only place that truly understands how much garlic you'll need for the kind of food your people eat. H Mart is freedom from the single-aisle 'ethnic' section in regular grocery stores."

Deuki Hong explained that his personal mission when partnering with H Mart was "creating a home away from home" for shoppers (Food & Wine). The chef reported that working with H Mart would impress his mom, with whom he spent much of his childhood shopping at H Mart and eating black bean noodles in the food court. "I grew up going to H Mart on weekends," Hong says via CIA. "I'm so happy to be partnering with a brand whose values truly align with my own."