Not your average Korean supermarket

Beneath the streets of the Korean capital, within its efficient Metro system, you can now buy groceries while waiting for the train! This truly is food for the Seoul! But before we discuss the new technology for the future, what is it currently like to shop in a Korean supermarket? Well, just like you would observe in regular Korean society, the atmosphere in grocery stores here is very refined and orderly. There is usually no commotion going on, just people quietly getting on with your their weekly shop, and the staff members are always only too happy to help!

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You already know that Koreans love their noodles and rice dishes, and it will come as no surprise to see in regular supermarkets shelves of the stuff packed to the brim. I also saw pre-packaged dog meat in the chilled aisles. This was quite a shock to me, as I often forget how controversial eating dog really is. However, for Koreans, it’s just an age-old tradition, so they think nothing of it (although obviously not EVERYONE eats dog in South Korea)!

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My favourite snack during my time in Seoul
My favourite snack during my time in Seoul

If you only want to snack when around Seoul, supermarkets are always the first port of call. You can get a lot of tinned goods, like tuna and evaporated milk, and many DIY meals such as pot noodles and even packaged tteokbokki! These items will usually require you to take them home and either add boiling water to the pot, or to simply stick them in the microwave for a minute or two. I really lobed the chocolate and strawberry jam marshmallow cookies! I bought so many boxes you can imagine I gained quite a bit of weight…

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Fresh meats are very popular in Korea, especially beef. The national dish of Korea is sometimes considered to be bulgogi and the beef variation of this dish is enjoyed by families everywhere in the country – and it has also become a must-try dish for tourists! I have never seen dog meat for sale in a Korean supermarket, although we know Koreans (along with Chinese and Vietnamese, and some non-Muslim Indonesians) do love their dog in culinary terms, so I guess if you shop around a bit more you could find some seedier supermarkets that stock man’s best friend in their fresh food counters.

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The future of grocery shopping in Korea, and in Seoul in particular, is by scanning QV Codes with your mobile phone when using the Seoul Metro while waiting for the train, and then paying for the products through a pre-arranged account that you need to set up on the phone beforehand with the grocer. As soon as you scan the item you want, the money is deducted from your account, and the groceries will be on their way to your designated delivery address. If you order before 13.00hrs local time, then you can guarantee same-day delivery! I think this is ultra-cool and really is the future of shopping.

That said, I am kind of annoyed that Korea gets to see this technology first – doesn’t Korea always get the best technology before anyone else?!

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3 thoughts on “Not your average Korean supermarket

  1. Haha, I have yet to see those futuristic grocery store ‘shelves’ at any subway station! It’s certainly a neat idea. Is the photo of the man in the subway stations one that you’ve taken, or did you find it online?

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    1. I would love the concept of Subway Shopping to come across Asia, especially to Singapore. 😀 That pic is actually a famous photo with many sites hosting it so I don’t know who to credit. 🙂

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