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I think the highlight of a trip to Korea should be buying souvenirs.
Many of you might wonder what and where to buy gifts that best resemble Korea.
So, I am about to share you 9 souvenir items you should not dismiss in Korea!
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 1. Korean Packaged Food
The first Korean must-buy souvenir is the easy-fix food packages. It may sound too general, but there are plenty of easy-fix meals in Korea and they usually come with nice packages. You can buy Ttokbokki (spicy fried rice cake), Samgaetang filings (chicken soup ingredients), Naengmyeon (cold noodles), cake and so on.
Recently, the fast food industry has been emerging with the increasing number of "one-person" families in Korea. This kind of easy cooking products only requires hot water or a microwave. These pre-packaged foods are super popular among Korean families too. You can easily bring your favorite South Korean food back home.
The concept of these easy-fix fast food packages is similar to instant noodles. However, these packages are more special than regular instant noodles. When you give these packages as a gift, you are giving the Korean culture to your friends and loved ones. Not only you can share your experience with the Korean culture, but also can invite your friends to appreciate Korean food with you. These packages are usually heavy. Make sure you can carry these packages before you start stocking up on them!
You can easily find the pre-packaged food from all small, medium and large supermarkets. They are extremely cheap, and they make a perfect gift for you and your friends. If you are not sure what to buy for your friends from Korea, consider buying seasoned dry seaweed. Seasoned seaweeds are light and compact.
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 2. Korean Instant Noodles
The second must-buy souvenir item is Korean instant noodles. Koreans are very creative with instant noodles. There a lot of creative ramens with exotic flavors and surprisingly, most of them are delicious. Before you stock up on the items, make sure you do your research first. Many instant noodles are extremely spicy or salty. Make sure you get the list of the ones that you like before you go on shopping.
When you are purchasing instant noodles as souvenirs, I would recommend you to buy the special ones. Consider the Carbo Buldak Bokkeummyeun or Shin Ramen black. These instant noodles are rare and go easily out of stock even in Korean supermarkets.
Although I am sure you can buy the basic Korean instant noodles from your home country as well. For instance, Nongshim Shin Ramen is one of the most popular instant noodles in the world. Although Shin Ramen is popular worldwide, I would recommend you to try "Jin Ramen" and "Beef Soup Instant Noodles." These are Korean locals' favorite instant noodles. Plus, these two instant noodles are milder than Shin Ramen.
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 3. Korean Snacks
South Korean snacks can be simple, convenient, and delicious souvenirs. Before you purchase South Korean snacks, make sure you go to the local supermarket first. The local supermarkets usually have promotions and you can get multiple snacks for less.
These two items above are my favorite Korean snacks. My Taiwanese friend went to E-mart No Brand store just to buy 20 cans of purple potato chips. He said this snack was a huge hit back in his hometown in Taiwan.
When we are talking about South Korean gifts, we must not dismiss the famous Korean chocolate pie. This chocolate coated marshmallow cake is one of the best-selling Korean snacks of all time. Recently, Lotte released a series of new flavors (such as Cheese and Banana). Check these flavors out!
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 4. Korean Cosmetics and Skin Care Products
The fourth Korean must-buy souvenir would be Korean beauty products!
The Korean beauty products are really cheap. Korean brands make quality makeup products too. Consider buying a skin lotion and emulsion from a road shop brand. You will be surprised by the quality and texture.
＃South Korea Must-buy Souvenirs｜Beauty Products
- lip balms
Hand cream/ Body Lotion
Beauty tools (Makeup brush and etc.)
The four recommended items above are cheap in Korea. The quality of these items are great, and these items often come with cute packaging. You won't be able to find better gifts for girls than Korean beauty items.
I am a fan of Korean facial masks, and I always give facial masks as gifts whenever I visit my friends' countries. Many Korean facial masks provide rich hydration and are in unique designs. You can buy cheap facial masks from Daiso, Artbox, and many road shop stores. You can also buy lip balms, hand cream, and brushes from a beauty store like Olive Young and Lalavla. You can buy many cute, inexpensive gifts in Korea.
Korean beauty items are indeed must-buy gifts in Korea. The packaging of many Korean beauty products has cute and girlish designs. These beauty items will make the best gift for girls!
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 5. Korean Beverages
＃Those who are below 20 years old are banned from consuming and purchasing alcohol in Korea.
＃South Korea Must-buy Souvenirs｜Alcohol (Soju)
Soju is a representative alcoholic beverage in Korea. Soju is inexpensive. Once you get back home, you will be missing this bottle of soju soon. Once you start tasting different types of fruit soju, you will end up loving it! Jamong-ae Iseul (Grapefruit flavored Soju) is super popular among Korean girls. Soju is indeed has become one of the must-buy gifts in Korea.
One good news! Soju used to be sold in glass bottles, but now many manufacturers use light plastic bottles. Soju in plastic bottles makes a perfect souvenir plastic bottle because you don't have to worry about leakage. The glass bottle was prone to breakage (small series is an alcoholic section) and was quite heavy to carry. Now you no longer have to worry about the weight and leakage!
＃South Korea Must-buy Souvenirs｜Makgoli
In addition to Soju, another traditional alcohol called Makgoli (similar to Taiwan's sweet rice wine) is also a great gift that can only be bought from Korea. This drink is rare in elsewhere but Korea. The taste of Makgoli is very soft and women's especially love to drink it. Recently, new flavors were fused with the traditional Makgoli and you can find them in various packagings.
＃South Korea Must-buy Souvenirs｜Coffee
Koreans simply love coffee. KANNU is known for selling more than 10 billion coffee mix sticks every year. This artificial coffee is famous for having a rich coffee aroma and taste.
Gong Yu, who starred in the famous Korean drama, "the Lonely and Splendid God: Goblin", has been a model for KANNU for years. KANNU is known for its sugar-free latte. FRENCH CAFE's three-in-one coffee is also famous too. The rising Korean drama star Park Bogum advertise NESCAFE Crema.
These artificial coffee mix bags are easy to brew. They do not occupy too much space and the weight is not too heavy. If you are looking for a gift where you can share with your co-workers, I will recommend you to buy a box of these coffee mix bags.
＃South Korea Must-buy Souvenirs | Korean Citron Tea
The Korean citron tea is made with honey and Korean citrons. This tea is delicious!! Even if you buy a small and medium-sized bottle, you can make tea for a long time. I usually buy a big bottle of citron tea at the beginning of the winter. This would be a perfect gift for those who love honey and lemon tea. This would be the perfect gift especially for the elderly.
The original citron tea is a great gift for the elderly, but it weighs a lot. If you want to reduce your luggage, I'd recommend you to buy tea bags. You can buy tea in different flavors, such as wheat, Schisandra and so on.
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 6. Korean Socks
Another candidate for perfect souvenir would be socks! Wherever you buy socks from Korea, you will be surprised by the variety and cheap price! Korean socks are so cute and made with high-quality cotton. You can use them for many years. Many tourists buy colorful socks with cute characters.
The price of socks in Korea is super cheap (you can get one with less than 30 Taiwan dollars), and you can find them in unique designs. These socks usually cost between 1,000 Won to 3,000 Won.
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 7. Korean Traditional Souvenirs
There are many tourists who would still prefer traditional souvenirs. Bookmarks, postcards, and stickers with Korean traditional patterns and designs can make great souvenirs.
There are many symbols for the Korean traditional culture. Korean traditional cuisine, clothing, and patterns can be occasionally found in many souvenirs. Some of them are in cute designs.
There are many places where you can buy traditional souvenirs. You can get them from museums, souvenir shops, and shopping malls (Daiso and ArtBox are great for buying souvenirs). You will be surprised by the variety of different souvenirs.
The Korean traditional markets (Guangjang Market, Namdaemun Market, and Insadong) are great shopping venues where you can get these traditional souvenirs. When you shop at these markets, I would recommend you to compare prices before making the purchase. The stores usually have overlapping items and sell them at different prices.
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 8. Korean KPOP Goods
If you have friends and family members who crazy about K-pop and idols, there is no other gift better than K-Pop goods. Nowadays, K-POP is gaining worldwide recognition, and it is easy to buy official CDs and goods items in Korea.
Many entertainment companies have their own souvenir shops. Some of the stores hold flash sales. If you are lucky, you might be able to see your favorite artist during your visit to these entertainment companies.
Also, check if your favorite Korean idol stars are collaborating with any fashion brand. For instance, GD has designed apparel through his partnership with 8Seconds. These collaboration items are hard to acquire unless you are in Korea.
Must-buy Souvenirs from South Korea 9. Korean Postcards
Last, I recommend Korean postcards! This souvenir contains beautiful scenery or image about Korea. You can write a handwritten postcard to your friend. Buy local stamps, and send them with a lot of love. This postcard could be a personal gift for your loved ones.
Seoul Metropolitan Library, one of the best South Korea's sightseeing spots, sells many exquisite Korean souvenirs. In addition to buying handmade cards and postcards, you can also find pretty bookmarks. You can make unforgettable gifts by leaving your personal messages to your friend. Send a gift with class!
I recommend this "Hanbok Postcard" series. These postcards are thin, light and full of Korean atmosphere. Reminder: if you want to send out postcards in Korea, you must go to the post office and buy stamps during the office hours. Usually, post offices close at 5 pm.
Today, I gave you the list of 9 must-buy souvenirs in Korea. Of course, these nine souvenirs will make perfect gifts for your loved ones, but don't forget! What makes a great gift is showing your care for the person. Make sure you send a gift with sincerity.
My Creatrip fellas, I will see you again in my next post.