Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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Korean Food and Supermarkets

Good evening and happy Seollal, everyone!

Due to the Lunar New Year giving me a whopping (sarcasm totally intended) three days off and me having messed up my Dragon Age game by trying to patch it (ㅜ.ㅜ), I have some free time to post about something you asked about: Korean food and supermarkets!

I don’t really think about it a lot anymore nowadays, but I remember I was pretty surprised the first time I walked into a large Korean supermarket. Take a look!

Although superficially it’s very similar to any European supermarket, the whole people-standing-in-front-of-stuff-trying-to-make-you-buy-it thing really reminded me more of a traditional market, and the whole hey-stand-in-line-for-some-free-food thing seemed to come straight out of a movie. It’s kinda weird sometimes when I’m just trying to browse some stuff and some woman keeps pushing a certain brand on me because “it’s on sale this week!” and it kinda feels like walking into one of those clothing stores that have people constantly following you and looking over your shoulder trying to find an opening to ask you if you need anything so it makes me a bit uncomfortable. The free food is pretty neat though.

As you might’ve seen in the video, the general goods on sale are also quite different from what we’re used to back home. Can you imagine walking into a supermarket in your country and running into an entire aisle of dried seaweed, or a tank full of giant living crabs? Likewise Koreans would probably scoff at our 400 gram boxes of rice or 500ml bottles of soy sauce and wonder why we have so many different kinds of microwave meals.

When it comes to shopping, I try to shop as economically as possible. Since meat, vegetables and fruits are very expensive here, I usually wait until something is on sale before I buy it, and try to make due with what I can get my hands on. Once a month my 형 takes me to Costco, an American superstore, where I can buy cheap prepackaged meats, cheese (also insanely expensive (not to mention gross!) in Korea), snacks, bread (kinda shockingly I can buy half a bread here for the same price as two whole breads back in the Netherlands) and other necessities. It’s a real savior. Without Costco I’d probably be eating even worse because I wouldn’t be able to afford eating any meat.

[Here's a recent flyer from Lotte Mart I've managed to piece together so you can get an idea of what prices are like here. 1 euro is about 1200 won]

[Here’s a recent flyer from Lotte Mart I’ve managed to piece together so you can get an idea of what prices are like here. 1 euro is about 1200 won]

As I might’ve mentioned before, eating out is actually cheaper than properly cooking. If I were to buy all the ingredients for Kimchi Chigae for example, I’d probably spend about 10,000 won, but if I’d go to a restaurant and order it, I’d be out maybe 5,000. Still, the way I’m living now (eating rice with some Costco meat, eggs, soy sauce and sometimes an Otoggi package for extra flavor) I’m making due with about 200,000 (around €160) worth of groceries every month. Unfortunately, I have to live frugally like that because my monthly costs leave me with only 200,000 won disposable income a month, which isn’t exactly a mountain of cash. Regardless I never once regret moving out of the dormitory, because it’s simply great living here by my own rules in my own space. I do get a little jelly when I see all the pictures of the amazing foods my classmates are eating and the great trips they’re going on though.. But then I remember I’ve been up until 4 AM playing video games, drinking beer and walking around in my underwear and it all feels like a pretty fair trade.

Anyway, in the mornings, I always eat cereal. It’s fast, easy and nutritious so I’ve bought a few different varieties to mix up the flavors a bit and eat that every morning. In the afternoons, I generally eat either ramyun or toast with cheese and egg. Our lunch break is only an hour, so there’s no time to prepare a real Korean lunch with a bunch of side dishes (not that I’d be able to if I did have more time though). The red pepper cheese I bought from Costco tastes amazing, and toasting the bread in a frying pan is going reasonably well. The evening meals, as I said, usually consist of some manner of prepackaged meat (spam, chicken breast, sausages) mixed with onions, slices of potatoes, soy sauce, gochujang or oyster sauce and of course rice. One of the first things I bought when I started living on my own was a rice cooker, and I’m definitely glad that I did. With minimal effort it cooks perfect rice for you, and you can leave the rice in there for the next day (more expensive models are amazing at this, you can even keep rice in there for a whole week, but obviously I was too cheap to get one of those). Sometimes I add an Ottogi pack. Those are similar to our microwave meals, I guess, only they’re Korean style. So they’d be like curry, meat in spicy sauce, those sort of things. The taste isn’t amazing, but a lot of that can be fixed by adding the right amounts of gochujang, salt and pepper.

Food1 Food2 Food3 Food4

So far, I haven’t gotten into actual cooking much yet, mostly because I’m just too cheap to buy the ingredients and this month we’ve been having too much class to waste time on cooking when I could be playing video games instead. I did however learn how to make Kimchi Bokkum and it was so good with so little effort that I’m definitely planning to learn some more stuff. Korean food is absolutely delicious, so if I can find out how to properly make it, I’ll be set for life.

Oh, I also shot this video at a traditional market I visited last weekend in Seoul. These kinds of markets really invoke those scenes that you think of when you think of ‘Asia’, and eating the food for sale there you absolutely experience the real taste of Korea.

2 comments on “Korean Food and Supermarkets

  1. Gemma jwz
    21 February 2015

    Leuk!! Dank! :) En je kan dus beter drank kopen dan een watermeloen?

    • Anon Of Holland
      22 February 2015

      Drank is sowieso altijd preferable over een watermeloen maar…yeah. Soju is like minder dan een euro per flesje, Koreaans bier kost ook bijna niks (and rightfully so), maar voor 20,000 won zou je een redelijke fles wijn kunnen kopen. En voor de prijs van 4 watermeloenen heb je een echte whiskey ;_;

      Fruit is hier sowieso een beetje een ‘statussymbool’. De kerk waarvoor ik werkte gaf ons altijd kilos appels en mandarijnen, en ook van ouders en leraren enzo krijg je vaak fruit.


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This entry was posted on 21 February 2015 by in Diary, Korea and tagged , , , , , , , .

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Forgotten Tomes


  • 26,488 Minds Expanded


Korean food comes in many shapes and sizes, but one of the most famous and well liked among tourists must be the humble #Bibimbap.
Usually not much more than a bowl of rice into which you mix (bibida in Korean) various vegetables, topped off with some spicy gochujang, bibimbap is a staple food that can be found almost anywhere and at very reasonable prices.

There's also quite a few traditionally styled restaurants such as the one in the picture that serve a bit more 'up-scale' versions that resemble the food royalty used to eat many centuries ago.
#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #SeoulKorea #Namsan #MongmyeokSanbang #Restaurant #KoreanRestaurant #Gochujang #Traditional #Food #Foodstagram #Koreanfood #Hanok
#서울 #남산 #목멱산방 #비빔밥 #고추장 #밥 #먹스타그램 #푸드그램 #전통 #한옥 #맛집 #남산맛집 You couldn't tell from this picture, but spring has suddenly been unleashed in Korea! We went from actual snow not much more than a week ago to 6° and now 22° today.

Originally, Koreans were always very proud of their '사계절' - 4 seasons. In the past few years though, fall and spring have been reduced to mere weeks as golden brown leaves freeze off the trees in 'fall' and cherry blossoms bloom in tropic temperatures in 'spring'.
#Korea #SouthKorea #Goyang #Spring #Seasons #4seasons #fall #landscape #traintracks #tracks
#4계절 #계절 #봄 #가을 #고양 #선로 대한민국 만세!
Today is a holiday in Korea; the remembrance of the March 1st movement, which marked the beginning of the Korean people standing up to their Japanese oppressors in the early 20th century.

Unfortunately, instead of celebrating this important day in Korea's history, some people use it as an excuse to push their pro-박근혜 agenda. Former president Park Geun-Hye has been incarcerated for months now while on trial on 18 charges, including bribery, coercion, abuse of power and the leakage of government secrets during her ill-fated presidency. In spite of the overwhelming evidence against her, there are still some (almost exclusively senior) citizens who believe she should be reinstated as the legal president of Korea.

In spite of the fact that I don't agree with their politics, seeing everyone singing and waving the 태극기 together did make me feel good, although being one of the only foreigners in a crowd of riled up Koreans also reminded me that I'll never truly be part of their society.
#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #March #Demonstration #Rally #Parade #Politics #Flag #Gwanghwamun #Taegukgi #Japan #Occupation #Independence #gyeongbokgung
#Optocht #ZuidKorea #Demonstratie
#서울 #삼일 #삼일절 #광화문 #태극기 #대한민국 #만세 #대한민국만세 #삼일운동 #3월1일 #경복궁 More pictures from the Line store in Itaewon. I love it when a brand sets up something as elaborate as this; I can't stop myself from wanting to take pictures. 
These are also the first post-LASEK pictures I'm in! It is extremely strange to see myself in pictures without glasses, and I still feel kind of 'naked' when I go out without them, but it's already something I know I'll never regret!
#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #Itaewon #Line #LineMessenger #LineStore #LineKorea #LineFriends #LineFriendsStore #LineFriendsItaewon #Store #Cute #Bear #Plush #Dollhouse #Emoticon #Emoji
#서울 #이태원 #라인 #라인프렌즈 #라인프렌즈스토어 #라인프렌즈샵 #라인프렌즈이태원 #외국인 #네덜란드 One of the many things I love about Korea is that it has way more 'themed stores' than my own country. For some reason, some companies or brands such as Ghibli, Gundam, Kakao or, as in these pictures, Line, decide to spend millions creating beautiful flagship locations that feel like a mix of an exhibition space and a regular store.

This was the first time I visited the Line store in Itaewon since I'm not very interested in either Line nor Itaewon, but it was definitely a really cute sight to behold.
#Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Line #Kakao #LineFriends #LineStore #Store #Shop #Shops #Stores #Brand #Messenger #LineMessenger #Itaewon #LineFriendsItaewon
#서울 #이태원 #라인 #라인프렌즈 #카카오 #가게 #스토어 #라인스토어 #브랜드 A Gangnam view from the offices of my eye clinic, which is incidentally the reason I haven't posted anything in a while; I've been "busy" recovering from LASEK!

If you're interested in the process of getting vision correction surgery in Korea, check out my latest blog post. There's a link in my bio, or you can Google 'Anonymous of Holland'.
#Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Gangnam #Sinnonhyeon #BGNEyeClinic #BGN #Eyeclinic #LASEK #LASIK #SMILE #Laservisioncorrection #Visioncorrection #Cityscape #City #Skyline #Simcity #visit_korea #ig_korea
#밝은눈안과 #강남 #신논현 #서울 #대한민국 #라섹 #라식 #스마일 #도시 #도시경관
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