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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  • 25,833 Minds Expanded


#스타크래프트 is love #Starcraft is life.

Being a Starcraft fan in Korea feels a lot like what I'd imagine being a rich acquaintance of Ronaldo would feel like for a football fan - you get front row seats to all the major games, get to meet legends like Messi, Robben or Buffon (in our case, Byun, SoO or Stats) and get to ask for their signature pretty much whenever you want - all without paying a single penny.

The professional scene has been taking hit after hit since I started getting interested in it, and I'm afraid it'll never be the same as it once was, but I'm glad that in 2018, as well, I'll be able to enjoy some of the best e-Sports the world has to offer.

#WingsOfLiberty down, #HeartOfTheSwarm and #LegacyOfTheVoid to go.


#스타2 #스타크래프트2 #Starcraft2 #Byun #TY #Maru #INnoVation #esports #gaming #progamer #Korean #Korea #e스포츠 #진에어 #진에어그린윙스 #SKT1 #Dark #collection #collector #PC #RTS #변현우 #이신형 #전태양 #조성주 처음 한국에서 @kim.minji.ki204 가 그린 책을 발견할 때부터 (그 #책 읽을 수 없어도, ㅎㅎ) 한 순간엔 큰 #팬 되었고 작년 #서울일러스트레이션페어 에서 직접 만날 수 있어서 너무 즐거웠다.

이제 인스타로 새 책을 받을 수 있는 이벤트가 있어서 당연히 참여해야지~

#kimminji #thejunglebook #정글북 #정글북리그램이벤트 #indigo 한국에서 역사랑 현대 항상 어떤 이상한 발렌스로 공존한다.

In Korea, the past and the present are always living together in some sort of awkward balance.
Traditional norms, values and traditions clash with the influence of a rapidly modernizing and developing society; pride in one's roots compete with a constant need to move forward, and historical buildings vie for room to breathe in the middle of a metropolis.
I hope Korea manages to move forward without forgetting the things that make it unique.


#대한민국 #한국 #절 #불교 #봉은사 #역사 #현대 #발렌스 #서울 #Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Shrine #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #Buddhist #history #present #balance #City #koreantemple #development #Metropolis #tranquility #modernization This is such an #unoriginal picture but..doesn't it look just like a #postcard?

#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Namsan #NamsanTower #City #Road #Traffic #Korean #mountain #trees #green #NSeoulTower #Tower #서울 #도시 #남산 #남산탑 #산 #탑 #도로 #엽서 #그림엽서 #남산타워 On some nights, when I'm feeling all beat down by stress and worries about whether or not I'll be able to support myself over here or where my life is heading, and when I'm just drunk enough, when I see the second snow of the year coming down outside my window, I just can't help but go outside, play some music and dance in the snow like an idiot because for some reason it just reminds me of how much I love being in this country.
Fuck you, Korea. I love you.
#secondsnow #firstsnow #둘째눈 #첫눈 #Seoul #서울 #snow #눈 #Korea #SouthKorea #Korean #Life #Street #KyungHeeUniversity #KyungHee #경희 #경희대 #dongdaemoon #동대문구 #이문동 #winter #겨울 #atmosphere #분위기 #reallylongsentence 어제는 드디어 지난달 #SBS 하고 #재지 랑 촬영한 #내방안내서 #방송 되었다!
내 역할을 크지 않았지만 궁금하신 분들이 내 #블로그 에서 내 이야기를 읽을 수 있다 ^^
The episodes I worked on together with SBS Korea for a show called #GuideToMyRoom finally started airing since last week and even though my role wasn't very big, it's still really enjoyable to see the places I visited and the people I met on TV. I wrote a long piece on my #blog about my experiences in Haemin Sunim's temple, so give it a read if you feel like it.
#멈추면비로소보이는것들 #미황사
#Korea #tv #Koreantv #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #temple #Koreantemple #haeminsunim #절 #불교 #촬영 #버라이어티 #Zazi #혜민스님 #네덜란드 #외국인 #네덜란드어 #Nederlands #Tolk #Interpreter @zazimusic @haemin_sunim
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