Stores in Korea – Where To Find What
When coming to Korea you have to figure out which stores you have to go for what. Following is a list of stores you can fin in the United states and their equivalent in South Korea. Let’s get ready to shop!
Fast food! Who are we kidding? McDonald’s is still McDonald’s… They even come with a selection of Korean-ified burgers such as the Bulgogi Burger. However, Koreans have their own fast food brands too. Mom’s Touch is a franchise that has been around since the ’90s and is well-loved by the locals.
Pizza! While South Korea has Domino’s and Pizza Hut, you should also try some Korean chains. Pizza School is a notoriously cheap pizza franchise. Their cheapest is the cheese pizza which is 5.000 KRW while their pepperoni is 6.000 KRW. For 2.000 KRW extra you can get your pizza with a cheese-filled crust. YUM! Do try the Homeplus/E-Mart pizza too! They’re gigantic pizza and the most expensive is about 15.000 KRW.
Delis! You’ll have a hard time finding a deli (other than Subway which is everywhere along with its close equivalent Joe’s Sandwich). However, why not expand you palate and try the beloved and omnipresent Kimbap Paradise, in Korean Gimbap Cheonguk. They gave a lot of kimbap rolls as well as noodles such as ramen and udon. The food is not only super delicious but also dirt cheap. Moreover, some locations are open 24 hours.
Bakeries! While back at home bakeries are usually privately-owned stores, in Korea they are franchised. The most popular brands are Tous Les Jours and Paris Baguette. You can find these everywhere! Paris Baguette has a fancier brother called Paris Croissant which is usually found in fancier neighborhoods.
Walmart and Target are duped by E-mart and Homeplus. In these two you will find a considerable range of Western foods, Tesco-brand food and Western toiletries. These stores are huge and cheap for everything but vegetables. We advice that you buy your fruit and veg from the farmer’s market. Every neighborhood has one. Costco is still Costco and better yet, your membership from back home will be valid here as well.
Stores like Sears and Barney’s have Lotte/Hyundai Department Store and Shinsegae Mall as an equivalent. A little on the pricey side like their Western dupes, they have designer stores and fancy restaurants. If they’re in your budget or if you’re looking for a treat, or simply want to window shop you should give them a try.
Dollar Tree is Daiso in Korea. Daiso is a Japanese franchise which as big in Korea as it is in Japan. They even have an online website called Daiso Mall which you can find here.
If you’re into thrift stores you must be looking for a Goodwill and not finding one. The equivalent of that is Beautiful Store, a franchise with dozens of locations all over the country. The clothes are dirt-cheap yet most are new. Find them online here. Moreover, Korea has a number of Salvation army Stores. You can also donate stuff by dropping them off at one of their many locations. This will help you especially if you’re looking to de-clutter or don’t want to throw away stuff that’s still in good condition upon leaving the country,
Stationery stores such as Office Depot and Staples have the equivalent of Alpha. Alpha has everything you can ever imagine or need. You can also find an Office Depot in Gangam if you need a product specific to the company.
Stores such as Watson’s that sell pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical cosmetics can be found in South Korea under the very name of Watson’s in many locations. Similar to CVS is Olive Young but you can also find the same products in local pharmacies. These places are open Monday to Saturday until approximately 10PM.
You will find buffets such as Bennigan’s in South Korea under the name of VIPS. VIPS has everything from Korean food to Western foods. However, they are kind of pricey and you are better off visiting Korean franchised buffets.
Electronics shops such as Radio Shack and Future Shop have as an equivalent the Samsung Store, Hi-Mart and of course, the Yongsan Electronics Market. In Yongsan you will find a plethora of stores selling electronics from very cheap to very expensive.
Let’s talk coffee shops! While South Korea has a large number of Starbucks locations, you should also dabble in coffee shops such as Tom N Tom’s, Holly’s Coffee, Caffe Bene, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leah and Ediya Coffee. These places also sell sandwiches and pastries. Tom N Tom’s is a locals’ favorite.
Barnes & Nobles and any other bookshop is Aladin, located in Gangnam you can also find it online here. You can also find e-books on Kyobo, who make their own e-book reader Crema. Bandi and Luni’s is a chain of huge bookstores which you can find in many locations, the biggest of which is in Sadang.
Abercrombie and Fitch translates into Crocodile, The GAP into Uniqlo. You can also find clothing brand stores such as Forever 21 and H&M as well as Zara and Bershka. They do not have the Stradivarius part of the ZARA group which you usually find in Europe.
Find cinemas in South Korea under CGV. You might think that since South Korea produces so many movies you will have a hard time finding Western productions. It’s not so at all. Moreover, in Yongsan and Hyehwa you can find CGVs that play Western cult movies.