Grocery Shopping In South Korea

One of the first places I went to when I finished my quarantine was the local supermarket. I’m lucky to be close to a Homeplus which is a multi storied store. There are clothes on 1 level, food on the next and then a floor for homeware and appliances.

Grocery shopping in another country is one of my favourite activities. Just browsing the local fruit and veges, drinks and snacks! I’m not use to having to carry all my groceries by hand and walking home though so I have to keep reminding myself that my eyes do deceive me and that I cannot carry everything I want to buy back in one trip!

At the moment, it’s summer fruit season so Korean melons, watermelons, cherries, pineapple and grapes are out.

In terms of price, I would say groceries are just as expensive as it is in Australia. Of course, cooking Korean food will be cheaper but my fridge and freezer isn’t big so I cannot store much at a time. I’m hoping to start to make more Korean food too as the ingredients are plentiful and delicious. The only hurdle is that I will need to research exactly what items to buy, what the Korean word looks like and maybe even what the packaging looks like for a more speedy shopping adventure.

I need to figure out what all these sauces are for

As I had already heard, beef is expensive (spotted some Australian beef) but there is plenty of pork, chicken and seafood as alternatives. I’m a huge fan of seafood and was not surprised that I could easily find fresh fish, squid, clams, octopus and prawns at the supermarket. Now to only find recipes to use them in (maybe a seafood pancake)!

You may already know that Korean meals come with a lot of side dishes (known as banchan in Korean). There was a whole aisle dedicated to banchan with plentiful options. I haven’t bought any yet as when I order take-out, banchan are also included (free of charge!) and it takes me usually 2 or 3 meals to finish it all.

Something that surprised me is how popular coffee is here. In particular, iced americanos which you can find in every cafe on every street for 2,000won ($2 aud!). There is a whole aisle dedicated to dry coffee products and only half an aisle dedicated to tea. Go into the chilled drinks section and you will find even more coffee drinks! I’m not sure why I thought that tea would be bigger here than it actually is. Probably due to my generalisation that asian countries like to drink teas due to the humidity and heat to sweat.

Another aisle that I wanted to visit was the ramyeon aisle. Ramyeon- the dried instant noodle- is a popular export from South Korea with plenty of options including super super hot firy ones. I was hoping to be able to buy individual packs but there was not much at this supermarket. I’ll keep looking (or will just find a ramyeon convenience store).

As with many places in the world now, you’ll need to bring your own shopping bags or pay for one!

Do you have favourite grocery items you always buy and try when you travel?

7 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping In South Korea

  1. You sound just like my husband
    He loves a good grocery shop especially in Asia
    Don’t you find that they use much more packaging in the supermarkets than on the food stalls?

  2. I love going to supermarkets in foreign countries, it is always such fun! I remember when I was in Japan me and my sister spent so much time to try to understand what exaclty was inside some of the packaging, and we had some not-so-great surprises! I hope you’ll manage to find individual ramyeon packs!

  3. A wonderful experience, but it sounds like you need a good translator app. After my son went to South Korea, he became enamoured with Korean kimchi. For him there’s no substitute!

  4. Pingback: Welcome to Suwon, South Korea – Lingo in Transit

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