Trader Joe’s seems to have a major hit on its hands with its popular new kimbap product, but that immense popularity has turned the food item into quite a rare commodity. Luckily, another beloved grocery chain has been selling the food item long before it ever reached Trader Joe’s shelves—and some say it’s even tastier than the Trader Joe’s version.
The Trader Joe’s kimbap craze began a couple of weeks ago when shoppers first spotted it in the retailer’s freezer section. Soon after it launched, customers began reporting that their local stores were selling out of the product so fast that they couldn’t find a single package. Several self-identified Trader Joe’s employees have since claimed on Reddit that the kimbap will be out of stock until October due to production delays. (Trader Joe’s did not immediately respond to our queries to confirm these claims.)
To be clear, Trader Joe’s isn’t the originator of kimbap. Kimbap is a Korean dish of cooked rice and assorted fillings wrapped in dried seaweed sheets and typically served in bite-sized slices. But the extreme demand for Trader Joe’s kimbap—which features sauteed greens, crunchy root vegetables, crisp pickles, and braised tofu—may be due to the fact that this is the first time that the retailer has ever sold the food item.
If the thought of potentially waiting weeks before you can get a taste of this in-demand Trader Joe’s product seems unbearable, you might want to consider stopping by the nearest H Mart to cure your cravings. For the uninitiated, H Mart is an American chain of supermarkets that stock a wide range of Asian groceries and foods. The chain currently operates more than 97 stores across the United States, according to its website.
After some Trader Joe’s shoppers complained on Reddit about the sold-out kimbap, others were quick to point out that H Mart has sold kimbap for quite some time. Better yet, Redditors said that the H Mart kimbap is fresh and ready to eat, unlike Trader Joe’s frozen kimbap.
“H Mart has this every day and it’s way better,” a customer commented on a Reddit post about the Trader Joe’s kimbap.
“H Mart has a much better version in my opinion,” another shopper wrote.
Of course, supply and availability could vary depending on the store, so shoppers should check directly with their nearest H Mart location to find out what’s in stock.
For Trader Joe’s shoppers who are lucky enough to find kimbap in stock at their local stores before the current inventory is depleted, the retailer has been selling nine-piece packages for $3.99.