• Stockholm Stockholm
    5 year resident, to guide around the local wonders
  • French Polynesia French Polynesia
    6 islands in the South Seas
  • some image Tokyo Tour
    1-day walk around the best spots
  • Japanese Wedding Japanese Wedding
    The dark side of the rising sun
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    Skylines, bar streets, markets & islands
  • some image Fashion shopping in Tokyo
    The best souvenir of Japan is not omiyage
  • Sydney Opera Australia
    Sydney's NYE, Gold Coast & Great Barrier Reef
  • Gecko Hawaii
    Aloha nature wonders
  • Yakushima Yakushima
    Hiking the Princess Mononoke Forest
  • Ishigaki Lighthouse Ishigaki
    Okinawa's shades of blue
  • Yuki Matsuri Hokkaido
    Powder Snow Festival
  • Daikanyama Daikanyama
    Tokyo's SoHo
  • Cosplayer Comiket
    The Biggest Cosplay Event
  • Cherry Tree Blossom Hanami (花見)
    Sakura by the skyscrapers
  • Hiroshima bomb time Hiroshima
    The Bomb & Miyajima
  • top of mount fuji guide to climb Japan
    Top of Mt.Fuji
  • Kyoto & Nara Nara & Kyoto
    Ciervos nadando en lagos de roca
  • Formentera House Formentera
    Mediterranean Sun

3.8.17

Seoul - Gangnam Supermarket「럭키할인마트」

supermarket in gangnam
Maybe I should go for some Gochuang, the spicy chilli paste used in almost all Korean dish... 

As already mentioned in my Japanese supermarket post, I am truly fascinated by supermarkets away from my home country, as I feel they capture daily life in a very accurate manner. Typically, you won't see many tourists in them, specially when away from the sightseeing hotspots. The only people at the cashier are those who live or work nearby. When you move to a country where you can't read, the supermarket experience becomes increasingly interesting. Half of the time you can't figure the actual price, the other half you are wondering what exactly certain things are. Hope you find this post as cool as I do!!

Overall, supermarkets in Seoul are cheaper than in Tokyo. The neighborhood shop lacks variety, but if you go to Lotte Mart, the selection of Western products is huge, along with higher pricetags. Still sometimes it's worth the investment (e.g. we got some white truffle oil, 30% more than what we pay in Spain) as it is more expensive but not so crazy anyway.

Los supermercados me causan una tremenda fascinación, porque tienen la capacidad de capturar "la vida real" en un país o ciudad como pocas cosas. El súper es un sitio que visita la gente que vive o trabaja en las inmediaciones, donde la oferta y los precios apuntan a las opciones más normales en la dieta local. En su día os dejé una visita a nuestro tienda de confianza en Tokyo, hoy damos una vuelta por el de Seoul 「럭키할인마트」, que no es tan grande ni lujoso, pero al menos cae cerca de casa.

supermarket in gangnam
This is the view right after you get in. Not too big, not too small. Sometimes too tight with all the ladies carrying dogs in one hand and the groceries' basket on the other. Still it does the job, so we won't die out of hunger here!

Aquí la entrada del super, no es gigante pero tampoco minúsculo, tiene más o menos todo lo que solemos comprar así que no nos moriremos de hambre!
supermarket in gangnam
Those of you who follow me in IG know that I am sucker for watermelon. All my days start with a watermelon smoothie, regardless of season. Lucky me to visit Seoul in summer, when these are available at a relatively high pricetag - half  watermelon sells at something between 8-10€ depending on the day. Sometimes we see equally large halves the same day, one costing 7900KRW the other 12000KRW. We have not yet figured out why.

La sandía, el ingrediente principal de mi comida favorita. Como tenemos esa nevera de la señorita pepis, sólo puedo comprar de mitad en mitad. Me fascina la manera en la que ponen los precios, que todavía no he conseguido descrifrar: Hay días en los que dos medias sandías tienen precios muy diferentes, pese a ser del mismo tamaño y estar juntas en display. Misterios de Korea.
supermarket in gangnam
Mushrooms in Asia are cheap and tasty. A common ingredient in hotpot and BBQ, sells at less than 1€ box. Another interesting observation is the employee, with tattoos on display. This represents a major difference from Japanese culture, where tatoo is a stigma for Yakuza, the japanese mafia - banned in public places e.g. gym, yoga salon, pool, onsen... - overall rejected by society, never shown while working. Still, Korea seems to be on the same page with the tattoo ban in television as well as the law that mandates doctors as the only people who can legally tattoo others - there may be parlors, but they remain as something underground, as tattoos are something for foreigners, artists, musicians and gangsters .

Las setas en Asia son siempre una buena opción. Ellos las ponen en su hotpot, nosotros nos hacemos un revuelto, pero a menos de 1€ el pack no hay mucho que cuestionar! Atentos al empleado del súper, una gran diferencia con Japón a la hora de aceptar y mostrar tatuajes en público. Aún así, Korea no es tan tolerante con los tatujes. La mayoría de la sociedad los considera algo asociado a la farándula o a los gangsters, además de estar prohibidos en televisión.
supermarket in gangnam
Koreans treat their green leaves almost as seriously as I do. Korean Barbaqueue, relies on 2 prime ingredients. Meat and leaves to wrap it, before eating it. The lettuce for this purpose is kept in this special fridge, where many different kinds of green leaves are clean and carefully lined up, waiting for someone to fill the bags with them. They are sold at 2900KRW / 100gr, which is about 3.3€ for the 150gr you would normally buy in Spain at 2. Bit more expensive but not crazy right?

Mi rincón favorito, el de las lechugas. En Korea se las toman tan en serio como yo por ser el envoltorio principal de su preciada  Barbacoa Koreana. Un poquito más caras que en España, pero limpias y listas para servir, las lecuhgas en esta nevera del futuro nos salvan la cena, día sí, día también.
supermarket in gangnam
Despite being a very common ingredient in Korean meals, high quality meat is not cheap. I don't really know how much it costs in Spain as I never buy myself, but below you can see that 3 sirloin steaks sell at 38220KRW or 30€. Not pictured, but 100gr of sushi grade salmon, which is about one portion, sell at similar price (8000-12000KRW). Main for 1 person at 9€ is not so cheap, I guess.

La carne en Korea es el plato preferido de casi todo el mundo. Al igual que en Japón, se la toman en serio y no sale nada barata - a unos 10€ el solomillo que veis en la parte inferior. Eso sí, empaquetada y veteada como ninguna.
supermarket in gangnam
supermarket in gangnam
With 1km river crossing the city, fish is certainly available. But what really got us thinking are these bags with live clams. Here in Korea, they have a big culture of keeping fish in pools which are common at the entrance of many restaurants and in Noryangjin Fish market.

El pescado también se distribuye a buenos precios en esta ciudad atravesada por un río de más de 1km de ancho. Aparte del salmón para sushi que compramos muchos días para cenar, me llaman muchísimo la atención estas almejas que vienen en bolsita de agua.
supermarket in gangnam
Judging by the amount of shelf space dedicated and the variety on display, dry fish seems to be a staple in Korean cuisine. We don't do much of that though, maybe some dry squid and that's about it.
supermarket in gangnam

Kimchi, the ultimate staple. The fermented cabbage in kimchi powder that seems to be the secret for Korean longevity is available on all kinds and sizes. Out of the more than 200 varieties, my favourite remains the baechu-kimchi 배추김치 which is made out of  napa cabbage. It's a bit of an acquired taste, but I encourage you to give a shot when you have the chance!

El Kimchi es col fermentada, algo muy sano pero también un sabor relativamente adquirido que no le encaja a todo el mundo. Os animo a probar este plato tan central a la cultura Koreana como el hangeul. Tradicionalmente, las mujeres lo preparaban en casa y tenían hasta neveras dedicadas a este propósito. Hoy en día, creo que la mayoría lo compran en bolsas como las que veis.
supermarket in gangnam
Along with Kimchi, there are plenty of snacks like these quail eggs in soy sauce, Enrique's favourite.
Huevicos de codorniz en salsa de soja, el snack favorito de Enrique
supermarket in gangnam
Tofu skin is another very popular thing in Asia that I don't fully get...
supermarket in gangnam
As usual in Asia, there are things which are incredibly expensive even if you don't have any idea why. One good example is kitchen paper in Korea, which retails at 7€ / pack don't ask me why.

Como suele pasar en Asia, hay cosas que nunca lo hubieras imaginado, pero resultan o casi imposibles de encontrar (como los tampones en Japón) o extremadamente caras, como estos rollos de papel de cocina a 7€.
supermarket in gangnam
The corner of cup noodles, another staple food in the Korean life. When you spend so much time in public transportation, there isn't much left for cooking... The popularity of cup noodles strikes me and it will always do. I cannot think of anything less tasty or nutritious than some noodles surrounded by a powder-base soup.

Los noodles instantáneos y la fascinación que este lado del mundo tiene con ellos es algo que nunca entenderé. Pero si son cuatro polvos y pasta? Cómo podéis pensar que es comida?
supermarket in gangnam
I gotta love this detergent packaging. Un buen packaging para este detergente.
supermarket in gangnam
Same goes with the hair color. Using "squid ink" drawing for the black and tacky coloring for the million shades on the same model. The crazy part is the amount of people you see around the street wearing the orange one...

Este bote de tinte "color tinta" con su icono de calamar es chanante, pero más lo es la model con el tono cobrizo vivo del fondo. Como no les llegaba el presupuesto para más foto, aplicaron photoshop con un resultado aterrador.
supermarket in gangnam
Another huge block is dedicated to SPAM, which we introduced in our weekend food post, earlier this week.

No podía falta el SPAM, del que os hablábamos el martes, ocupando más estantería que las latas de atún.
supermarket in gangnam
Breaking myths for Spanish, yes you can find olive oil in Korea too.
Rompiendo mitos de muchos españolitos, el aceite de oliva es bastante fácil de encontrar y baratillo.
supermarket in gangnam
...but actually here we use sesame oil for the salad - common across many different Asian cuisines. I think next we'll try perilla oil, which is unique to Korean cuisine.

Aunque haya aceite de oliva español más allá de nuestras fronteras, que usamos para cocinar, en las ensaladas exploramos opciones locales como el de sésamo (a la izda) y quizás pronto el de perilla, que a diferencia del de sésamo, es característico de la cocina Koreana pero de ninguna más en Asia. 
supermarket in gangnam
As Spanish, we suffer a lot with bread. In Japan we made our own loaf, but here we don't even have an oven so we have to stick to this transgenic flour tasteless thing available at the lower left corner. At least in Japan we knew some places where to buy good (yet expensive) bread but here, we are extremely lost... Any tips are welcome! I think we're gonna get cancer from eating this s***t.

Lo más triste del supermercado es la zona del pan, especialmente ahora que vivimos en un apartamento sin horno y en una ciudad donde todavía no hemos encontrado una panadería que haga algo medio sano. 
supermarket in gangnam
The alcohol section is quite interesting, mostly occupied by soju - a rice wine I encourage you to NOT try - and makgeolli - the milky white thing - we opt out of the local alternatives and focus on some beer & wine from the konbini or the nearby wine shop. Koreans do drink a lot. I see drunk people every day when coming home from work or the supermarket, it is crazy, even before 9PM they can't even walk. I guess is the Asian gene, they get intoxicated with very little alcohol so the day after they aren't hangover, but here they don't get as red as Japanese usually do.
supermarket in gangnam

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