Category: Food

Grocery Shopping in South Korea

The Korean Grocery Scene

Are you getting ready to embark on an ESL teaching journey in Korea? As you prepare for your exciting new chapter, let’s delve into one of the most essential aspects of daily life: grocery shopping. Korea offers a unique and vibrant grocery store scene that caters to both convenience and quality. In this blog, I will take you on a tour of the diverse shopping options, from common markets to online shopping.


Major Chains: Emart and No Brand

When you’re in the mood for a more extensive grocery haul, Korea’s food supermarkets offer an impressive variety of options. Emart and No Brand are two prominent names that stand out. No Brand, in particular, is a favorite among budget-conscious shoppers. It’s known for its affordability and convenience, offering a plethora of grocery products. However, keep in mind that they might only accept credit cards, as experienced by some shoppers. On the other hand, Emart is a paradise for those seeking fresh produce. Offering the flexibility of both credit card and cash payments, it’s a one-stop-shop for all your grocery needs. Other honorable mentions include Homeplus and Lotte Mart.   


Prices of Common Goods

My weekly market runs consist of eggs, bread, milk, chicken, fruits, and veggies. A pack of 15 eggs costs 6,000 KRW ($4.44), a loaf of bread goes for about 4,000 KRW ($2.96 USD). A 1,800 mL carton of milk can be purchased for 6,000 KRW ($4.44 USD) , and a 1 kg of chicken breasts costs about 9,000 KRW ($6.65 USD) ($1.00 USD = 1352 KRW). Fruits and veggies are a bit more expensive, as they are typically imported. Regardless, market prices are still very reasonable and affordable.


Delivery Services

In the age of digital convenience, Coupang emerged as a game-changer for grocery shopping in Korea. This online shopping platform boasts lightning-fast delivery right to your doorstep, with options like “rocket shipping” ensuring next-day delivery. While the convenience is undeniable, there’s a crucial detail to remember: to make purchases on Coupang, you need to register with your Alien Registration Card (ARC). As a foreign teacher, this means waiting until you have your ARC to fully embrace the convenience of Coupang. The platform’s easy exchange, return, and refund policies make it an attractive choice for many, earning its reputation as one of the best online shopping experiences in Korea.


As you prepare to teach ESL in Korea, rest assured that the country’s grocery store landscape offers a variety of options to suit your preferences and needs. From the freshness of supermarkets to the digital ease of online shopping, you’ll find everything you need to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable.

Amber Ochoa is from Los Angeles, USA, and just recently moved to South Korea in May. She studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate. After graduation, she began venturing out and embracing her love for adventure. She finds that “nothing holds greater power in our life than the unknown.” One night while applying to random jobs on Indeed, she came across an English teaching position in Seoul, Korea. Flash forward, she is now teaching at CDI, Mokdong branch. She claims that Creverse found her and ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. Amber says giving knowledge to students & inspiring them for higher achievements in life is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Korean Cafe Culture

Unveiling Korean Cafe Culture

Teaching English in Korea has been eye opening on so many levels! Stepping into South Korea’s cafe world, time slows, and each coffee promises new connections. My Sejong journey transformed me. Moreover, Korean cafe culture isn’t just about drinks; it’s life woven into existence. Let’s explore five captivating Sejong cafes.

1. Café Drop Top: A Sanctuary for Studious Minds and Friendships

Nestled in Sejong’s heart, Café Drop Top offers productivity and camaraderie. Its cozy setting is ideal for book immersion or engaging conversations. Furthermore, the fresh coffee aroma fosters concentration and connection.

Starbucks: Where Friendships Flourish Over a Cup of Joe

Starbucks, a global coffee icon, nurtures friendships. Friends gather for stories, laughter, and favorite drinks in a welcoming atmosphere with a diverse menu. Additionally, the familiar ambiance makes it a reliable choice for cultivating friendships.

A Twosome Place: Where Intimacy Meets Study Sessions

A Twosome Place blends study tranquility with intimate chats. The soothing design sets the stage for learning and tête-à-têtes. Moreover, coffee enhances connections on every visit.


Paik's Coffee: Fueling Ambitions, One Cup at a Time

In Sejong’s fast-paced world, Paik’s Coffee symbolizes convenience. A quick stop refuels with rich coffee, integrating into the city’s hustle. This is a testament to how coffee has seamlessly integrated itself into the city’s hustle and bustle.

Café Florence: Aesthetic Bliss Amidst Friends

Tucked in Sejong’s corners, Café Florence marries aesthetics with companionship. This charming cafe offers an idyllic setting for friends to relish company while savoring treats. Furthermore, every visit is a visual feast that ignites the senses and fosters connections.

Reflecting on my journey from skeptic to enthusiast, Sejong’s cafe culture reshaped my perspective. Coffee extends beyond flavors; it’s a catalyst for forging bonds, igniting creativity, and creating memories. Moreover, cafes have become the backdrop for heartwarming encounters.

Sejong’s cafe culture weaves camaraderie, productivity, and creativity. For me, it painted warmth, intimacy, and vibrant connections. Each cafe provides a canvas for friendships to flourish, ambitions to be fueled, and experiences to be cherished. As a result, memories linger like the aroma of coffee, a testament to Sejong’s profound cafe culture impact.


Bella Maselana hails from South Africa where she earned a Bachelor’s of Psychology and has served as an English teacher and Lecturer at the University of SA. Bella currently teaches at April English in Sejong, South Korea. 

American Food in Korea

Eating kbbq, kimchi, bulgogi, and samgyeopsal never gets old while living in Korea. Although, from time to time I do miss the occasional cheeseburger, pizza, and street tacos. I can’t help it! I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Missing food from home is not unusual while living abroad. Thankfully, I’ve run into my fare share of restaurants that serve American food in Korea.

The Cheeseburgers Finds

If you are ever in the mood for a cheeseburger, you’ll be sure to find a McDonald’s or Burger King nearby. Are you worried about not being able to order because of your lack of Korean speaking skills? Not to worry! They have kiosks that you order from with English language settings. The prices are impeccable, as inflation is not a huge issue here in Korea (yet). For instance, you could purchase a whopper meal and spend about 10,000 KRW or $7.50 USD.

More “sophisticated” American food in Korea, Five Guys is also located in Gangam. Lines are usually out the door, so be sure to plan accordingly. The menu is a bit overpriced, but if you’re looking for a quality burger, this is the way to go. Now, if you’re looking for a burger that is absolutely chef’s kiss, Brooklyn burger joint takes the trophy. I go to the Mokdong location at least once a week. The patty is juicy, and the buns are soft, yet sturdy. The meat/bun/accompaniment ratio is even from the first to last bite. Not to mention, the milkshakes are thick, creamy, and smooth. The quality of the meal makes up for the price. You can expect to pay about 20,000 krw or $15.50 USD for a cheeseburger, milkshake, and fries. Be sure to check out this link for additional information on Brooklyn locations and menu.

"American" Pizza

The great news about American food in Korea: pizza parlors can be found on almost every corner. I was surprised to find Papa Johns my first week arriving here in Seoul. The menu is a bit different out here, as all places accommodate their audience. Garlic pepper steak, grilled bulgogi, and shrimp alfredo pizza are common in most Korean parlors. But, you can definitely still order your plain pepperoni and cheese pizza as well. Prices range depending on the size. The smallest size starts at 20,000 KRW. Be sure to click the link to see the official menu. Also, feel free to check out Foursquare’s top 15 best pizza places in Seoul

American-style Mexican Food

According to google, Mexican food is Americans’ second favorite food. So, it’s only right that I include a section of this blog dedicated to the best kind of food on the planet (I am mexican, call me biased). Crazy enough, Koreans can cook up a decent burrito, taco, and quesadilla. Mexican restaurants are not the easiest finds. But, I have found that Itaewon has a handful of good spots. Some meals (other than the usual burrito/tacos/quesadillas) you’ll be able to order include enchiladas, super nachos, tamales, chilaquiles, and mole. Check the link below to see 10Magazine’s top 10 Mexican restaurants in Seoul for Mexican American Food in Korea.

Additional American Food Spots In Korea

Some other noteworthy American food spots in Korea include Subway, KFC, Starbucks, On The Border, Auntie Anne’s, Pancake House, and TGI Friday’s just to name a few!  Mom’s touch actually originated here in South Korea. They’ve been branching out over the years, and actually have some locations in Los Angeles. If you are looking for a delicious chicken sandwich, be sure to check them out!

Amber Ochoa is from Los Angeles, USA, and just recently moved to South Korea in May. She studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate. After graduation, she began venturing out and began to embrace her love for adventure. She finds that “nothing holds greater power in our life than the unknown.” One night while applying to random jobs on Indeed, she came across an English teaching position in Seoul, Korea. Flash forward, she is now teaching at CDI, Mokdong branch. She claims that Creverse found her and ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. Amber says giving knowledge to students & inspiring them for higher achievements in life is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Top 5 Korean Dishes

“We” Culture

Korean food has become popular all over the world in recent years. The growing trend of K-pop has led to even more interest in Korean culture. 

Food has an important role in Korean history as a result of social and political changes throughout the centuries. Every province has its own dishes and ingredients that are unique to their own region. If you travel around Korea, you will be become accustomed to the various meals you should indulge in. For example, Jeonju is famous for Bibimbap and Jeju is famous for Black Pork. 

Korean meals predominantly include rice, vegetables and meat. Each meal includes side dishes known as banchan and toppings such as gotchujang, sesame oil, kimchi, doenjang and gotchukaru

Korean food is an important part of Korean culture and is usually consumed in large groups to promote ‘we’ culture. It’s common to share food from various dishes and order meals for the table to share. Koreans enjoy eating together, and it is popular to see restaurants buzzing every night with plenty of customers.

Korean pork samgyeopsal grilled tableside


Samgyeopsal barbecue is probably one of the first dishes you will try when attending your first school Hweshik (company dinner). It is a very popular dish in Korea, and there is an abundance of restaurants selling it across the country. 

You usually grill unmarinated, raw slices of pork belly (essentially uncured bacon) is grilled tableside, until all the fat drips off the pan. It is typically wrapped with lettuce or perilla leaf, spicy soybean sauce, grilled garlic, and fried kimchi. 

Be prepared to drink soju while eating Samgyeopsal! Soju is a clear alcohol is made from rice, wheat and barley. It is customary to drink shots of soju while eating out samgyeopsal as it’s considered a way to cut the fatty taste and have a good time! 


a bowl of traditional Korean bibimbap served on a yellow table with kimchi on the side


Bibimbap is a really popular dish among foreigners, and is usually a meal a Korean would recommend you to try when first getting accustomed to Korean food. Most Korean food is spicy, so when eating bibimbap you can add as much, or as little, gotchujang (red pepper sauce) as you like. 

You can order it in a dolsot (a hot stone bowl) or a regular bowl. The traditional dolsot bowl is fired up hot, and sizzles food as you mix the ingredients together. It creates crusty rice at the bottom of the bowl while you indulge, creating a nice crispy treat at the end!

Ingredients in bibimbap include rice, beef, assorted marinated vegetables, gotchujang and a fried egg on top. There are numerous local variations of bibimbap throughout Korea, be found in Jeonju, Tongyeong and Jinju to name a few.


close up of a piece of Korean scallion pancake held in chopsticks

Savory Pancakes

Jeon is a flat-like pancake made from kimchi, potatoes, onions, seaweed, meat and seafood. There are plenty of kinds of Jeon, such as Pacheon (scallion), Kimchi Jeon, and Gamja-jeon (potato)

It’s customary to eat it after hiking a mountain trail, and is offered at many mountainside restaurants. Jeon is usually paired with Magkeolli (Korean rice liquor), and is highly recommend to enjoy on a hot summers day. Magkeolli is served in a chilled kettle and is sipped out of a small drinking bowl. 


closeup of Korean bulgogi dish with chopsticks holding a piece


Bulgogi is simply delicious, and my personal favorite Korean dish. It is a a dish of thinly sliced sirloin marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and black pepper. Bulgogi is usually cooked tableside on the grill or sauteed and served.    

Bulgogi is usually prepared with thinly sliced onions, carrots, mushrooms and scallions. It is popular to wrap it up lettuce and top it off with some ssamjang (a thick red spicy paste), and served with rice and grilled garlic.  

Over the years, bulgogi has been the star in some more variations such as bulgogi burgers and even bulgogi cheesesteaks. 


a black bowl of spicy Korean sundubu jjigae

Sundubu Jiggae

Sundubu Jiggae is one of the most flavorful Korean soups you could eat. It has the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, and the silken tofu melts in your mouth. It is customary to choose the type of Sundubu Jiggae you want, ranging from seafood, beef, pork, dumpling, soy bean, or even mixed variations! 

The stew is also commonly topped off with a raw egg, that you crack tableside. Once mixed into the soup, the hot pot cooks and scrambles it, almost like an egg drop soup. This adds flavor to the dish, however you can do it however you like!

HUNGRY YET?! There are so many other amazing dishes to sample in Korea- this is just the top 5 dishes! Check out some of the seafood Giselle ate on her weekend trip to Taean!


Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people.  After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email tijanahuysamen1[email protected] to request more information on teaching in Korea!

ATV Adventure in Taean

The summers in Korea can be rather hot and humid. While I was born and raised in sunny California, the difference is the humidity. Korea is hot and humid while California is hot and dry. As the humidity is finally coming in at full strength, I quickly planned a weekend trip to the coast. Follow me on my ATV adventure in Taean!


Once you arrive to the Express Bus Terminal, there are two bus options for going to Anmyeon Bus Terminal. Both bus options, but one is more expensive than the other. The more expensive bus is 20,000won, while the more economical option is 11,000won. The difference between the two buses is the spaciousness of the seats. Obviously, the pricier option has more spacious seats, reclinable chairs and additional leg space. I took a 20,000 won bus for my trip to Taean and an 11,000won bus for the trip back. In my humble opinion, it is well worth the extra charge for the comfort! 


Korea has great mudflats! Once the tide is low, the waters recede very far back. This is the perfect time to grab a bucket, shovel, and SALT! Many people dig in the mudflats to collect clams and other shellfish. Why the salt? Many sea creatures leave little holes on the surface of the mud. If you pour salt into the holes, they pop out on their own! You can simply pluck them out and throw them into your bucket. There are so many crabs, too! My friend had to fight two of them that were trying to fight him off. It was hilarious! You can steam, grill, or sautee your harvest for dinner. It’s all a part of the mudflat experience. 


ATV Adventures

The region of Taean has many gorgeous forests and beaches. One of the major activities in the area is to take an A.T.V tour. I bought a 50-minute tour that cost 25,000 won. There were different experiences to pick from that ranged in time. I picked the shortest option, but I was not disappointed! I got to go through some rough forest terrain and across the beach. There was a portion where I got to go over several small sand dunes. For me, the forest terrain was muddy and there were many puddles, since it had rained during the night. I loved it! At first, I was worried about my shoes, but by the end of it, I was purposely riding through puddles to maximize splash! 



One can never go to the coast and not enjoy the fresh seafood! After arriving to Anmyeon, the first thing to cross off my ‘to do’ list was eat some marinated crabs! They are called ganjang-gejang and they are raw crabs marinated in soy sauce. There is also a style where it is marinated in a semi-sweet red sauce – both are equally delicious in my opinion. In Seoul, this dish is expensive. However, whenever one visits the coast, there are huge set menus that get one so much seafood, side dishes and always a fish stew. The set I purchased was 70,000won for two people at a restaurant called 딴뚝통나무집. I’ll add the address below. 

Restaurant Details

There are two more dishes that I really enjoy eating when visiting the coast. The first is like a seafood bibimbap called hwe-deopbap (회덮밥). The other dish is like a seafood cold noodle dish called mul-hwe (물회). These are individual dishes. They both only cost 10,000won each. I found it to be an even better deal where I had it, because I had a great beachfront view. The restaurant is called 밧개횟집. I’ll add the address below. 


딴뚝통나무집 (crab restaurant) 

60-42 Seungeon-ri, Anmyeon-eup, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do 


밧개횟집 (beachfront restaurant) 

765-81 Jungjang-ri, Anmyeon-eup, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do


안면도수산시장 (fish market)

1249-1 Seungeon-ri, Anmyeon-eup, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do 

Apply now to start your teach abroad journey in South Korea today! 


Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul.