As a small kid, going to a local supermarket holding my grandma’s hands was always an exciting journey. I would always hover around the Korean snack corner to grab a treat and secretly add it in my grandma’s cart. Discovering this big old-fashioned grocery store in Koreatown, LA just reminded me of those childhood years.
Hannam Chain in Koreatown LA has not only served as the closest and the most convenient grocery store in town to the locals, but also as the most authentic Korean store that impresses many non-Korean customers as well.
Hannam Chain is a Korean supermarket based in the United States. The first Hannam Chain store in Koreatown, LA opened in 1988. Currently there are seven locations including six in California and one in New Jersey. Hannam Chain also has a subsidiary called S-Mart in Torrance, CA, and a warehouse named Hannam Traders in Fullerton, CA
Hannam Chain has been at the forefront of Korean grocery stores in the US. Its large business sign spells ‘Hannam Chain’ in Korean, giving a visual familiarity to a lot of Koreans living in America. Hannam Chain in Koreatown LA offers fresh farm produce that are usually fresher than any other supermarkets in Koreatown, LA.
Evening is the busiest time of the day at Hannam Chain. It is packed with people who are shopping for groceries to prepare their dinner. The moment you step inside, you’ll see long lines of people waiting for their turns to check out items. Many different kinds of alcohol and kids’ beverages on the stands are also some things that are noteworthy to see. The supermarket is huge with cold storages filled up with miso, radish wraps, marinated beef, meat, side dishes, tofu, noodles, etc.- boasting great sections of well-stocked products to cater to different people’s needs.
Taking an in-depth view of the store is more of a journey. Aisles of jangs (Korean fermented paste), rich collection of Korean condiments like sesame oil and red chili paste (Gochujang), Kimchi and dried food are scenes that we normally don’t see at Ralphs or Vons.
In some aisles there are stands with small fridges where ladies offer samples. Hannam Chain is a supermarket that introduces some to a new culture while letting others maintain their own cultural ties. It offers a great collection of home-made style banchans(side dishes), including rare ones like seasoned pollack or seasoned rape flower.
Also, the store has tanks filled with live fish and crabs, and a broad seafood section along the back wall. The seafood section includes mussels, cod collar, clams, sea scallops, and so much more. You could enjoy a feast of seafood for dinner for less than $20. Also, there are ready-to-eat packages of freshly steamed rice cake that you can easily grab and swallow.
Overall, Hannam Chain has a solid selection of groceries and products with competitive prices. Local shoppers often recommend getting the marinated beef rib eye, fresh vegetables and Korean spices/condiments here at Hannam Chain Koreatown LA.
Hannam Chain opens at 8am, which is earlier than any other Korean grocery stores, and closes at 10pm.
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