We were back in St. Paul on Saturday for a pandemic takeout run—this time from On’s Kitchen (review coming on Tuesday)—and combined it with some quick Korean grocery shopping from Kim’s on Snelling. Despite the fact that we’ve been shopping here since pretty much our first month in Minnesota back in 2007 I’ve somehow never done one of my grocery store reports on them. And so here now is a quick look at what you can expect to find at one of the Twin Cities’ Korean mainstays, which sits across Snelling Avenue from both Pho Pasteur and Sole Cafe and only a few blocks away from the Twin Cities’ true Eat Street, University Avenue.
I said above that we’ve been shopping at Kim’s since we arrived in Minnesota. That is in fact true but it’s also true that we stopped predominantly shopping there for Korean groceries a while ago. This first because Dong Yang up in north Minneapolis is larger and was in the same large strip mall as the massive Pooja Groceries and that allowed us to a do 2-for-1 (plus often a stop at Holy Land for feta and/or lamb and goat). As it happens I’ve never done a report on Dong Yang or Pooja Groceries (who I believe have moved, though not far away) either—that because we haven’t been to either in a while: our Indian grocery needs have been met by the places in the South Metro (TBS Mart, Mantra Bazar) and our Korean needs likewise are mostly met by Hana Market. And so in recent years our shopping at Kim has always involved being in the neighbourhood already for something else—whether visiting our friends who live close-by or, as on this case, picking up food from On’s or Fasika). And most days I stay in the car with the kids while the missus does a quick hit and run.
Yesterday, however, I went in with her and took the following set of pictures which should give you a good sense of what you can expect to find there. It is first, second and third a Korean grocery but you can also find some other pan-East Asian ingredients and products as well. And if you’re part of the new ramen boom, while their selection is not as vast as Shuang Hur‘s, it’s quite good (and they have a staggering selection of frozen dumplings, if you like that kind of thing).
The building it occupies part of the ground floor of has been beautified considerably by the addition on one large wall of another of the striking Midway Murals (see also the one outside Ghebre’s) and I think there *may* have been a change of ownership in recent years but inside things are pretty much as they’ve always been. It’s not the largest store but they maximize their space. And it’s a friendly place to shop.
Take a look and if you haven’t been (recently) go give them some business (bring your mask). Maybe get some food from Sole Cafe or Pho Pasteur on your way home.
As I said, the next pandemic meal report proper will be of the lunch we picked up from On’s Kitchen. On Tuesday as usual!
Thanks! I love Kim’s. Can you help me with a Korean ingredient question? I stumbled on the 1 lb. plastic bags of red pepper flakes in the Korean section of United Noodle and at Dong Yang and Kim’s. I bought some at United Noodle for like $4. They were delicious, free of seeds and had a mild-to-medium level of heat. When I finally ran out, I bought another bag at Dong Yang, a different brand. I’m completely ignorant of Korean language. I cannot figure out if there’s something on the package in Korean that act as a set of heat level descriptors like “medium”, “mild” “hot” “nuclear option”. Is there a secret beyond find one you like by random chance and save a photo of the package for next time?
I’d guess there’s some Korean text on the packages that marks heat level. If you can post a link to an image I could ask the missus to take a look.
I left out the detail that the 2nd package was much hotter and therefore less useful.
Kim’s fan here, too — though I haven’t visited Dong Yang or Hana (Hana is on my list, though, because it’s not far away and it’s by the recommended Gyros Grill). I think Kim’s has a surprising amount of Japanese food, too, though it has some competition now in that arena from the Woodbury United Noodles.
I appreciate these market reviews. I’ve already visited TBS Mart as a result of your post (and liked it very much). Looking forward to more reviews.
I haven’t been to United Noodles in so long; I didn’t even know they’d opened a Woodbury location. When did that open?
Maybe around a year now? The store is part of a pretty standard suburban commercial building visible from 94 eastbound past Radio Drive. The place is about the size of a Holiday Superstore inside though the shelves go up to the ceiling (who knows how you browse the stuff on the upper shelves?).
Small produce display, hot and cold convenience food bar, meat freezer (not sure there’s fresh meat, just frozen…), and a subset of the groceries sold in the big store minus the non-Japanese ingredients. I don’t know if they’re testing the waters or the plan is to take the space next door and expand; I don’t see how the store is viable with its current footprint.
Kim’s is the only grocery store that has the type of seaweed crumbles with sesame seeds, sesame oil and other ingredients, it’s my favorite and will accept no substitutions. It comes in a resealable bag and you can used it mixed into any food. It’s delicious and I absolutely cannot find it at any other Asian market.