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13 Awesome Finds at the East Village’s New Asian Supermarket

The ramen aisle. (Photos: Daniel Maurer)

The East Village lost a sprawling Asian grocery when M2M closed two years ago, but now, just a block away at 39 Third Avenue, the NYU area has gained H Mart, a Korean-American supermarket overflowing with imported Asian delicacies. The first H Mart opened in Woodside, Queens in 1982, and the chain now has dozens of locations across the country. Like its Koreatown outpost, this one boasts an entire aisle of instant ramen and entire freezers packed with frozen dumplings. There’s a kimchi corner, shelves upon shelves of obscure candies and crackers, and, for the connoisseur, multiple brands of preserved duck egg. Here are some of the delightful finds we encountered as we browsed the aisles to the soothing sounds of K-pop.

1. Cellulite roller

It’s not quite as Insta-trendy as a jade roller, but the package makes a convincing argument: “Let’s care for your body in the everyday bath room!” 

2. Itty, bitty soft-serve cones

Unlike Mister Softee cones, which fill you with calories and regret, these lil guys are about the size of your thumb.

3. Silkworm pupae

The last time I encountered these critters was at Jumong Pocha in Fort Lee, New Jersey. I had to eat a family-size portion because my dinner companion was unwilling to help. Her loss! They snap and crackle in your mouth, kind of like giant, dirt-flavored Rice Krispies.

4. Corn ice cream on the cob

This has been called a “Korean corn ice cream novelty fail,” but I couldn’t disagree more. Where sweet-corn ice cream covered in chocolate smut is concerned, a faux-cob wafer beats a cone every time.

5. Durian pops

A wise man (Anthony Bourdain) once said that durian tastes “as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother,” and the popsicle version is no exception. Refreshing though it may be, it’ll still stink up an office (apologies to my coworkers, if they’re reading this) and it still tastes like an onion that’s been sitting in a dumpster—albeit a dumpster on a snowy day.

6. DIY tapioca balls

Add these tapioca pearls—made from tapioca starch, water, corn starch, guar gum, and a chemistry lab’s worth of additives— to boiling water and, after they’ve floated to the surface, cook them for two or three minutes. After 20 seconds in cold water, they’re ready to be plopped into your drink of choice. Conveniently, H Mart has an entire tea section stocked with boba powder and Thai iced tea bags.

7. Dubiously named wafers

Yes, the name of these matcha and chocolate cookies translates (in Flengrish) to “ass cookies.” But they’re actually quite delicious, making them the perfect conversation piece at your next dinner party. 

8. Canned tuna endorsed by a hot guy

Too much tuna? Not for this stud who is totally feeling his tuna in canola oil. Clearly, the spokesman for this Dong Won product is a Dong Won don juan.

9. Bean-curd jerky on a stick

This rubbery faux beef jerky is made from soybean curd that’s slathered in a spicy Sichuan sauce. Curd this be love?

10. $3.60 caviar

H Mart’s sushi fridge includes several varieties of fish eggs. Squirt a little bit of Kewpie mayo on this combination of flying fish and herring roe and you’ve got some seriously low-rent caviar service.

11. Single-serving pour-over pouches

Sorry, coffee dweebs, I’m not about to waste precious minutes grinding beans and waiting for the “bloom” atop a Chemex. Pop one of these pouches full of ground coffee onto your mug, pour hot water in, and boom, you’ve got your morning cuppa.

12. Milk shake nipple

(Photo via Villa Market)

Squeezing a pouch and sucking ice cream out of a plastic nipple is seriously addictive, and that’s why I had to use a stock photo of Snow Ice instead of buying it and photographing it myself. I cannot be trusted around this stuff. The manufacturer, Lotte, promises “countless moments of heart fluttering,” and that is not overstating it, particularly when it comes to the Milk Shake and Cookies & Cream varieties. The pouches come in bags of five that you tear open like a desperate animal.

13. The world’s spiciest instant ramen

Described by the world’s best-worst competitive eater, LA Beast, as the “spiciest ramen noodles in existence” (be warned: the above video does not end well), these noodz are no joke. Slurp them down and the snot will be flowing within seconds; your lips will feel like they’ve been rubbed down with sandpaper slathered in Mala sauce. Seriously, the last time I ate something this punishingly hot was when I made the mistake of ordering a “Thai spicy”-level papaya salad at Thai Rock, in Rockaway Beach, and was told there would be no refund if I couldn’t finish. If you attempt this, keep a few of those miniature soft-serve cones handy. 

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Brooklyn’s Secret Party Boat Says ‘Save Our Ship’

(Photo via POP Yachts)

The Schamonchi, aka the Bushwick Boat, might be one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets: a former 650-passenger ferry docked in Newtown Creek, tucked behind a lumber yard, that’s used for Burning Man-style parties and other word-of-mouth events. Now the creatives who consider the 6,000-square-foot, 130-foot-long boat their community space are trying to raise money to fix up the ailing, 41-year-old vessel. More →

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BAM Is Latest Arts Institution to Face Union Push

(Photo: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons)

As has happened in media, white collar employees in arts institutions are rediscovering the power of organized labor, as efforts to unionize the Tenement Museum and the New Museum show. The latest cultural institution in the city to see employees organize is the Brooklyn Academy of Music; its administrative workers are seeking to join up with the UAW, in a move they say will ensure stable careers with the arts academy. More →

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Rockaway’s Wave of Activity: Fresh Sand, Concerts at Rippers, New Food at Riis

The Rocakaway concessions were already gearing up this past weekend, with Caracas and the 97th Street fam (Low Tide Bar, La Cevicheria, Edible Island, and High 97, etc.) all open on the boardwalk. In addition, the folks at displaced DIY venue Shea Stadium just announced that they’re programming a summer concert series, featuring Bethlehem Steel and other bands and DJs, at everyone’s favorite burger stand, Rippers. Now, the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, over on the Fort Tilden side of the peninsula, has announced its lineup of vendors and programming. More →

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How a ‘White Guy From Long Island’ Became a Gonzo Action-Movie Star in Uganda

Before Bad Black screened at Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn last night, there was a promo clip showing commandos dropping out of a fake, obviously green-screened helicopter and machine-gunning Katz’s Delicatessen into a ridiculously large fireball. The clip’s Lower East Side setting was bizarre given that it was a promo for the movies of gonzo director Isaac Nabwana, who has shot over 40 films in his village outside of Kampala, Uganda. Last night the film’s producer and star, Alan Hofmanis, revealed the fun story behind the Katz’s fireball. More →

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Rooftop Films Unveils Its Summer Series Lineup

(Photo: Courtesy of Josh Davy, via Rooftop Films)

Now that SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn!, and Industry City’s Summer Series have announced their lineups, your summer plans are all but set. Today the missing piece of the puzzle falls into place, as Rooftop Films Summer Series has announced its slate of features. More →

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100 Celebrities Name-Dropped in Moby’s New Memoir

By now you’ve heard about Moby rubbing his dick on Donald Trump. But Trump is far from the only celebrity name-checked in the musician’s new memoir, Then It Fell Apart. The follow-up to Porcelain— in which Moby documented his younger years as a sober, Christian vegan– recounts the rise and fall of Moby’s superstardom, starting with the unexpected worldwide success of Play in 1999 and ending with his realization, nearly a decade later, that maybe pounding an estimated 100 drinks per week (all while regularly doing cocaine, ecstasy, and all the rest) wasn’t such a hot idea. After all, when you’re falling asleep on threesomes and you don’t know whose feces you woke up covered in, it’s probably time to reexamine things. More →