There are a lot of convenience stores in Manila. That industry had a boom when the franchise fees/packages from the popular convenience store chains dropped. A lot of Filipinos with a few capital to spare also operated their own convenience stores because while it was hard work, it’s a very lucrative business and very scaleable too especially if you are in a great location.
But no matter how many convenience stores there are in my neighborhood, I don’t think going there was ever a staple part of my day. I do visit them very rarely, and only when I want a quick snack but I can’t think of anything I want to eat.
Yet when it comes to Korean convenience stores in South Korea, like GS25, CU (CVS for U), or Storyway, I feel like I need to go to each and every store I pass by! There are some cool stuff that I can find in some stores but can’t find in others, and I just love the display especially in the bigger stores.
Look at the photo above. I took it in one of the smaller GS25 stores in an underground shopping area in Busan, and I really love to go there just to take a look at those cute Minion drinks on display. And I did that for four freaking days straight, sometimes even twice a day!
I go to Korean convenience stores mostly for snacks. But I did buy some rice meals to go because I had to eat while in transit. So yeah, what I’ll be sharing with you in this post are food finds in convenience stores in Korea.
Binggrae’s Classic Banana Milk is my absolute favorite drink from Korea. It has become an icon and people use that cute bottle in different merchandise these days. From cosmetics, to plushies, and t-shirt prints, it’s how iconic the banana milk has become.
Dosirak (Doshirak or Dosheerak) is essentially a packed lunch that consists of rice, a viand, and side dishes. I got that dosirak from a convenience store in the airport, and I had that for lunch on my way to Busan. I was so excited to eat the dosirak because it was from Mr. Baek Jong Won. I tried a real dosirak from Dosirak Cafe in Seochon, and to be honest, it was just as good as the one from the convenience store. They’re both delicious, cheap, and very filling.
Kimbap (Gimbap) is bap (rice), meat, vegetables, and sometimes, egg, rolled in gim or dried seaweed, and that’s why it’s called “gimbap.” This is a really cheap meal and very handy too. I would buy this along with an ice cold soda when I needed to travel long distances. I’ve tried four flavors: tuna, crabmeat, bulgogi, and SPAM/ham, and of the four, I enjoyed the tuna and bulgogi more.
Samgak Kimbap is just like the regular kimbap but this one is shaped like a triangle. I tried it out of curiosity after watching Cheese In The Trap. I got the tuna mayo version and while it was ok, I still prefer to eat the regular rolled kimbap. Anyway, it looked like it was easy to open it when I was watching Cheese In The Trap, but I did actually struggle when I tried it for the first time!
There’s a 7-Eleven at the corner of that street going to Two Two Chicken in Myeongdong, and that’s where I always buy these instant microwaveable cooked rice. They come in different sizes and varieties. There’s brown rice, there’s plain white rice, and I believe there’s also a mixed black and white rice. I buy instant rice whenever I get a box of fried chicken, and it’s such a lovely combo along with the pickled radish and spicy sauce from Two Two Chicken.
Who doesn’t love Korean instant ramyeon? Personally, I love the mild version of Jin Ramen (yellow pack).
You don’t need to go to a jjimjilbang or ride the train to enjoy boiled eggs. You can easily find these gamdongran (boiled eggs) in convenience stores throughout Korea.
I have seen a lot of sausages in convenience stores from my previous trips to Korea but I thought they were more like chorizos that should be cooked along with pasta. So I never tried them until I watched Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo. And I was in for a real treat! Of the different types of sausages there, I really liked this spicy chicken sausage the most.
There are many coffee options in convenience stores. They have the usual instant coffee-creamer-sugar powder mix. They also have coffee and tea in bottles, and in cups like this one. Perfect caffeine fix to go!
Oh… my love affair with everything honey butter! I love, love, love Honey Butter potato chips, Honey Tong Tong, Honey Butter Almond, and this Honey Butter flavored cone chips that’s not in the photos. As for the almonds, there are many varieties like the wasabi almonds, yogurt almonds, and they sometimes have the seasonal autumn version of honey butter almond. I’ve tried all but the original honey butter flavor is the best for me. I don’t buy these almonds from convenience stores because they’re more expensive there. I get them from the market like Namdaemun because they’re cheaper and they give discounts if you buy in volume.
Melona ice cream bars are now available in the Philippines, but back when they weren’t mainstream yet, I always go to Korean convenience stores to buy them in bulk. My favorites are the honeydew melon and strawberry ice cream bars.
And finally, the newest “in” thing in Korea these days is calamansi / kalamansi, a citrus fruit from the Philippines that’s very rich in Vitamin C. Koreans are going crazy over it and we’ve been seeing calamansi in their drinks, flavored teas, cookies, and other baked products.
And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed my favorite convenience store food finds. I will be parking here, and I’ll catch you all in my next post!
BEFORE YOU GO...
Check out these amazing deals that will make your travel to Korea really convenient and hassle-free!
WIFI EGG/SIM CARD
- 4G Wifi from KT Olleh, for pick up at Incheon Airport
- 4G Wifi from WIDEMOBILE, for pick up at Incheon Airport
- 4G SIM Card for pick up at Incheon Airport
- SAFEX Airport Luggage Services. Drop off your luggage at the airport, and SAFEX will deliver it to your hotel. That means, you can start your tour upon arrival without having to worry about your luggage! On your way back, leave your luggage at your hotel, and SAFEX will pick it up and bring it back to the airport.
- LuggAgent Seoul Airport Luggage Services. Similar to SAFEX, LuggAgent will take care of your luggage for you so that your time is freed up for other things without you worrying about your luggage!
- KR (Korail) Pass. You’ll need this if you’re going to Busan or when you need to take Korail.
- AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket
- KAL Limousine Bus Ticket to City Hall, Namsan, Gangnam, COEX, Jamsil
- Private Airport Transfer for a Group of 7
- Discover Seoul Pass. This is an essential Seoul attraction and transport pass for foreign tourists. The pass functions as both an admission ticket and transportation top-up card (T-Money).