Must-Try Korean Snacks and Drinks at Korean Convenience Stores: A Guide for Beginners

Must-Try Korean Snacks and Drinks at Korean Convenience Stores: A Guide for Beginners

KOREAN CONVENIENCE STORES

Introduction to Korean Convenience Stores

The convenience store culture in Korea is on another level. If you stroll in without an idea of what you’re looking for, you might end up leaving with well... everything! The most popular stores are CU, GS25, E-mart and they can be found at almost every corner or on the ground floor of many apartment buildings. Convenience stores in South Korea have rows of food and drinks, home essentials, and rainy day essentials.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Most convenience stores have a microwave section to heat up your pre-cooked meals or make as much ramen as your heart desires! All these options can be overwhelming so here’s our guide to help you experience the best snacks and drinks Korean convenience stores have to offer!

Why Convenience Stores are so Famous?

As the world around us becomes busier, the need for convenience stores increases. Convenience stores offer the luxury of saving time. They’re open 24/7 and stock everything that you would need to really survive. No need to go to the grocery store some kilometers away when you have everything you need 5 minutes walking distance from your home. Who wouldn’t choose this convenience!

Previously, convenience stores were known for their unhealthy options and suspicious food, but that era has thankfully passed behind us! These days, convenience stores have more healthier options, hot foods, and a greater variety of options to choose from.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

In Korea, the bbali bbali (빨리 빨리) culture has definitely accelerated the development of convenience stores as more busy professionals and students relied on them for their daily needs. They have become a hybrid version with delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner options, ATMs and even some with grocery sections. Convenience stores have become a part of the Korean culture and are showing up more prominently in Korean dramas and Korean entertainment shows.

Convenience Stores in your Favorite K-dramas

We’re sure you’ve watched a few dramas with scenes in convenient stores, and many more scenes of your favorite actors eating convenience store snacks. If you can’t remember, let’s jog your memory with convenience store scenes from K-dramas that we’re all too familiar with.

Backstreet Rookie

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

A drama starring Kim Yoo-Jung and Ji Chang-Wook, filmed at a convenience store!

Squid Game

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

As distressing as this drama was for all of us.. they still managed to fit in a convenience store scene in-between all the traumatic scenes. Just shows how essential convenience store culture is in Korea.

Love Alarm

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

A scene from Love Alarm starring Song Kang, Kim So-Hyun, Jung Ga-Ram and Go Min-Si. This was a branch of CU, one of the convenience store chains.

My First Love

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

A drama with your daily dose of romance, starring Kang Tae-Oh, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon and Jung Jon-Young.

Your Favorite Idols and their Favorite Convenience Store Snacks!

K-pop idols don’t shy away from the delicious convenience store snacks and many of our favorite idols are seen eating snacks that look really tasty!

Here are 10 of the most loved snacks that you can get at the convenience store.

Ramyeon

This was an obvious one. Ramen is everywhere, loved by everyone, and for good reason. It’s a comfort food, a snack or an on-the-go meal. There are so many recipes and ways to eat ramen that you could never get bored. It’s so easy to make and they’re soft on the palate, a little chewy and so flavorful! Ramen types are more like personality types and once you find the perfect spice, soup consistency and ingredients, you’ll have unlocked your personal, ultimate go-to comfort food!

Bangchan from Stray Kids

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Get a Seoulbox and experience the Korean Convenience Stores snacks!

 

Pepero

Pepero is another common snack eaten by many k-pop idols, including Jungkook from BTS! There’s a specific day in Korea known as Pepero day, which is on the 11th of September every year. It’s celebrated similarly to Valentine’s Day and on the day, you give a box of Pepero to someone that you like. Apart from the actual holiday, Pepero is eaten often just because it tastes so great. The combination of chocolate to pretzel hits the mark, making it the perfect sweet, but savory snack.

Jungkook from BTS

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Swing Chip (스윙칩)

Taemin from SHINEE enjoys Swing Chip, a classic Korean snack. This convenience store snack has sentimental meaning for many Koreans who enjoyed it since they were young. It’s the satisfying crunch and spicy taste that’s so addictive. Definitely a snack to get!

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Coco Ball Bar (코코볼바)

Coco Ball Bar is another snack well known to Korean idols, including April’s Naeun. Coco Ball Bar originates from Coco Ball cereal. It has a savoury-sweet taste with a bit of a crunch! Really tasty and believe it or not, healthy… aside from the chocolate part! As a cereal bar, it has a few vitamins and minerals which make it the perfect snack to choose as a guilty pleasure! This is probably the reason why idols enjoy it so much.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Lotte MongShell (몽쉘)

Another classic snack that is becoming even more popular these days because of its incredible balance of chocolate with whipped cream. Could a more perfect combination exist? Here’s IU enjoying it as a snack!

Must-try Korean Snacks and Drinks at Korean Convenience Stores

We’ve seen how convenience stores are everywhere inside and outside the K-drama and K-pop world. Let’s take it a step further by listing all famous snacks and drinks loved by many!

Here’s your chance to explore your curiosity!

Seoulbox has curated boxes with each of these snacks so that you can experience the same comfort, excitement and satisfaction that these convenience store snacks bring!

Most Famous Snack from K-pop Idols: Pepero

Number one on the list is Pepero! There’s a reason why a whole day is dedicated to giving each other Peperos. We picked this one specifically for you! Definitely a must-try.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Most Famous Snack from K-dramas: Ramyeon

Ramyeon needs no introduction. A hot bowl of ramen on a cold day offers more comfort than you can imagine. We made sure to add this into our Seoulbox curated boxes so that you can experience it for yourself!

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

For the curious mind: Kimchi Energy

If this is your first time trying Kimchi Energy, you will be pleasantly surprised! Although this drink tastes more like strawberry champagne, it’s got the cooling aspect of Kimchi and energizing taste!

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

For the health-conscious: GamTaeKim (감태김)

There’s a health wave going across Korea where more people are demanding healthier alternatives. Korean convenience stores offer an array of those options and the must-try among those is GamTae. It’s a seaweed snack that has the refreshing scent of the sea, a soft texture once you taste it. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

For the chocolate lover: MongShell (몽쉘)

A classic must-try snack. It’s sweet on the outside and has a fresh cream center which gives an amazing balance. So amazing that you don’t realize you’re on your 7th packet before it’s too late. It’s delicious and you must try it!

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

For the spicy side of life: Swing Chips (스윙칩)

This snack is perfect as a late-night snack. It’s a childhood favorite for many Koreans and we included it in our curated box so that you can feel that same comfort and enjoy a more personal side to the Korean culture.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

For more energy: BTS x Hot Brew

Coffee culture in Korea is everywhere and an essential to daily living! We want you to experience the 빨리 빨리 (bbali bbali) lifestyle of Korea with this BTS x Hot Brew coffee! It has a sweet and creamy taste, and it fits perfectly into your busy morning or evening routine.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Here’s an opportunity to taste each of the snacks yourself with our Seoulboxes, and find your perfect convenience store snacks! Satisfy your K-drama cravings, eat the same snacks as your favourite idols and enjoy a more personal part of the Korean culture!

We can’t wait for you to try them!

 

 

Author: SUJI SOHN

About the author: Suji was studying in London in the year 2019 and, although being separated from her family, her passion for Korea was growing. She noticed that a lot of her close friends loved Korean culture, food, music, and dramas and gradually started to fall in love with Korea, but there weren't many opportunities to actually "experience" this wonderful nation!

Suji was aware of what she needed to do to introduce Korea to her friends' lives and, conceivably, to those of everyone else who was curious about a piece of Daehan Min-guk.

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