Sadly, this shop has moved or closed. Please contact us if you find out where it’s gone.
Hana Mart is a little Korean supermarket in Colpetty (located next to the Juliana Hotel) selling a range of Korean food products – soups, pastes, drinks, mixes and so on. Colombo used to have a more obvious cluster of Korean shops – there was Ilme on Park Road and that great big store at the bottom of the Royal Park apartments – but there seem to be less actual stores now; in fact, it’s only Hana that we know of. Korean wares, otherwise, appear to be procured from restaurants or an insider network of secret little shops that the average Colombar knows nothing about.
But Korean supermarkets can be a lot of fun – a few of our childhood highlights involved big Nongshim shin cup noodles and Lotte choco pies at a friend’s house. The brightly coloured packaging of Korean sweets and chocolates always held greater allure than navy blue Ritzburys or the dull energy promises of a Milo. Hello Panda was one of Korea’s greatest exports to Sri Lanka – little panda printed biscuits containing a thick globs of chocolate? So much more fun than a Maliban lemon puff. And because of Colombo’s large Korean community, these foreign treats always had a happy way of trickling into our playground snacks and lunches.
Hana Mart, while small, sells a good selection of fun Korean food. Shrimp crackers, ramen, kimchi, biscuits and so on. Two of our favourite items are the Coco Palm drink and shin cup noodles. The coco palm is a sweet fruit drink containing small cubes of coconut jelly – both delicious and fun to drink – and the shin cup is one of the more seminal packaged noodles. Thicker and spicier than your average Maggi, the noodle broth turns into a deep and dangerous shade of red when little powder packet is added. Be warned, it’s spicy, but it packs so much more flavour and satisfaction than any Maggi or Kottu Mee.
If you’re familiar with Korean cuisine and are dying for some kimchi or black bean paste, Hana Mart will likely solve most problems. If you’re not, however, it’s still well worth a visit. Korean crisps and chocolates are super popular with kids and they have plenty of yummy adult friendly treats as well – silkworm pupa anyone?