About two months ago, Mom and I received a $2 off coupon for the little restaurant inside H-Mart on one of our receipts. I guess there is something to be said about not using a coupon until just before it expires. Just like homework, I procrastinate with discount coupons! I guess I just never got a chance within two months to try it out, even though the food looks quite tempting. It is not exactly fast food, as each dish is made-to-order and takes quite a while. The wait was actually pretty long, but we did not mind as the bread was just going on sale and so we picked up a few of those for the next day.
The spicy red of the hot pot looked extremely tempting and someone before us ordered it so we went with the Seafood Soft Tofu Hot Pot + Bibimbap. It came with three side dishes of kimchi, pickled radish, and macaroni in a slightly sweetened and pink creamy sauce. I think it was perhaps a little chili sauce mixed with mayonnaise. The hot pot was still boiling when it came out, with a freshly cracked egg on top. Sadly, the yolk was runny but cold, so I had to mix it into the soup. The soup was extremely delicious though! It was very spicy but not too oily. There was plenty of soft tofu inside, which was very slippery and good. I liked the shredded cabbage and some other vegetables inside. For a seafood hot pot, however, there was only one shrimp, which was quite tender, with two squid tentacles. In addition, there were two mini pieces of beef. That was quite disappointing. The flavour made up for it though.
The bibimbap was quite disappointing. It was not even that warm. There was some cabbage, sauteed onions, carrots, and other vegetables, along with seaweed and the sweet and spicy kochujang. The kochujang was good, but there did not seem to be enough to cover all of the white rice, which was sprinkled with some sesame seeds. You also cannot really screw up something like kochujang. It was not that the ingredients were horrible, just that is was somewhat carelessly assembled and not special in any way. Finally, the side dishes were okay. I liked the pickled radish the most. It was quite sweet and crunchy. The kimchi was alright. The macaroni was very bland and cold. It was clearly taken out of the fridge, which means the pasta was hard.
The best part was definitely the soup base in the hot pot, along with the tofu. For $7.65, it is quite pricey for a meal inside a supermarket. With $2 off, it was definitely more worth it. Would I go back without a coupon? Probably not. But for the average person, one combo is certainly enough for one satisfyingly spicy meal. The dining area was quite clean and quiet, without too many people, even around dinner time. That reflects the priciness, I think, but makes for a quiet ambiance with a lot of lighting from the huge glass walls.