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.