What are Korean Supermarkets Like?

Korea just keeps surprising us. After saying last week that one of the things I really miss from the UK are our supermarkets, Jod and I happened to stumble on an amazing one today right in our neighborhood. I’m not sure how we had never noticed it before, but it’s awesome! So far we’ve been taking the bus to a huge Lotte Mart about twice a month to do a big shop where the prices are okay and the selection is good, topping up on fresh stuff from a smaller and more expensive but closer grocery store a couple of times a week. The BK Mart that we found today is a perfect in-between with a great selection of items and good prices within walking distance – yay!

I snapped a few photos just to show what the inside of a Korean grocery store is like and the kind of things you can expect to find inside.

Right when you walk in the door there’s usually any special offers and in-season fruit. Anything in season tends to be cheaper but as watermelons have only just become available they’re still pretty pricy. Like Β£12-15 for one. Crazy.

This supermarket has a seperate temperature controlled room for the fresh vegetables and salad bar – fancy! Next to that you can find lots of DIY-meal kits that are perfect for cooking on a table top grill like the one we just bought. There’s kits to make spaghetti carbonara, budae jjigae, jjajangmyeon, ddeokbokki and more. We’ve tried a couple of these before and they’re delicious but pretty pricey for what tends to be just some noodles/rice cakes and a packet of sauce. It’s much cheaper to make your own.

Next are two huge sections we definitely don’t have in the UK – a whole wall of different types of dried fish and a huge display of seaweed. Korea is definitely a paradise for seafood lovers so it’s a shame we’re not that keen on it!

I was so pleased to find these little jars of nuts and dried fuit for about Β£2 per jar. These will be so handy for making flapjacks and adding to homemade granola. We also found both sweetened and unsweetned almond milk which I haven’t seen ANYWHERE else including in fancy department store food halls. They have 1.5litre bottles and little mini cartons so you can enjoy them on the go, too.

We found a really decent imported food section which included such delights as Waitrose baked beans, marmalade, tinned peas and lime juice. Opposite this is the typical aisle of ramen which you’ll find in every Korean grocery store, no matter how small. Instant noodles are so cheap and there are literally hundreds of different flavors, I just wish they weren’t so unhealthy!

As well as aisles of cleaning stuff and household essentials there’s also the chilled and frozen sections. There was lots of beautiful fresh fish and big chest freezers full of dumplings, ice cream and even chocolate covered banana slices (OMG).

I didn’t snap any pictures of the butcher’s counter or the lobster tanks but rest assured everything looked yummy. There’s also a bakery that smelled like cinnamon rolls and nearly had us drooling.

20180522_155233Before we knew it we had wandered round the whole store and it was time to pay. Jod picked up some beer and chocolate milk and that was it! I’m sure we’ll be back soon to stock up on yummy food. I hope you enjoyed this tour around a Korean supermarket!

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