Hana Mart is back! For those of you who weren’t aware it’s been down Deanston Place near Mahanama Vidyalaya for some time now and is currently perhaps the only established Korean mart in Colombo. As far as East Asian cuisine goes, Sri Lanka has never fully adopted Korean cuisine the way it has adopted Chinese and Japanese alternatives. There are only a handful of places to get your Kimchi fix. So, if you can’t meet the dealer get it at the source.
Hana Mart must be extremely popular with expats and Asian restaurants because by the time I got there (about forty-five minutes after opening) nearly half the shelves were empty. If you’ve long fancied Korean biscuits and sweets, this place is loaded- or was loaded. The shelves that weren’t empty featured an assortment of colourful boxes and packets displaying beef pastes, hot pepper pastes, biscuits, prawn crisps and mackerel.
If you’ve been watching too much of Bear Grylls’ Man Vs Wild you may fancy the more exotic options like the tinned silkworm pupae. This may not look the most appetizing, but it’s a Korean favourite called 'Beondegi' which is meant to prepared in what is called "Gangnam Style"- joking. It's mean to be boiled and had as a snack.
If you’re more like me however, you might prefer the variety of tinned drinks they have available. They’ve got can upon can of Lotte orange, grape and coconut drinks that are ideal to repel a warm Colombo day. I couldn’t find Kimchi there and while examining other exotic looking goods forgot to ask!
Since all of the goods available are imported, taxes seem to have taken their toll on the price. A can of mackerel let’s say might be too steep compared to local tinned options. Even their biscuits can be compared to more familiar options like Oreos price-wise.
Hana Mart is located about a hundred metres down Deanston Place (On the landside section off Duplication Road) . It’s a charming place in its own way, and is part of the bottom floor of a house. Don’t mistake it for the Chinese mart nearer to the top. It’s actually pretty clean and is an air-conditioned space.
Hana Mart is a good stop if you love Asian flavours. Just call and make sure they have what you want because the shelves were half empty when I got there.
Hana Mart is still live and kicking! it's moved down Deanston place for those of you who don't know.
Hana Mart, while small, sells a good selection of fun Korean food. Shrimp crackers, ramen, kimchi, biscuits and so on.