A magnet, a postcard, or a mug that says “I love (country)”? Honestly, if you won’t want to receive these as souvenirs from your friends who have just returned from an overseas vacation, you’d know not to get these for them.
A better idea? Exclusive snacks from the country you’ve just been to. That’s because most people won’t say no to food, and it gives them a taste of what the country offers – quite literally!
If you’re travelling to South Korea, you’ll be happy to know that there are many snacks and local delights that make for a special souvenir for your friends back home. Here is a list of unique Korean snacks you can look out for when you’re in South Korea. Psst, some of them can only be found in specific cities, making them extra special!
Unique Korean snacks found in Seoul
1. Yakult gummies
These chewy and flavourful gummies are going to win the hearts of kids and adults alike. One of the most unique Korean snacks that can only be found exclusively in 7-11 stores in South Korea, this was a hit among locals when it was first released. After the initial launch of the original flavour, two more flavours – apple and strawberry – have also been made available, and are equally popular. The brand has also added Banana Milk jellies to the mix. You can find them in most 7-11 stores in Seoul.
There are other brands that also offer these gummies, but we’d still recommend Lotte as the go-to brand!
2. Strawberry Choco Pie
Did you know that the Strawberry Choco Pie was only available in the South Korean military camps at first? They became so popular people started asking their friends in the military to bring some home for them. This has since been made more “convenient” as many brands started producing the strawberry-flavoured Choco Pie. You’ll need to try it out for yourself to understand the hype!
If you know your friends aren’t fans of strawberry, you can also consider other unique Korean snacks such as green tea-flavoured and banana-flavoured Choco Pie.
3. Korean Court Cake
Heading down to the famous Myeongdong street to do some shopping? This peanut- or chocolate-filled sweet treat known as kkul-tarae is one of the most unique Korean snacks that you might want to consider bringing back to share with your friends and family! It is a variation of the famous Dragon Beard Candy that originated from China, and it is known to be one of the traditional snacks enjoyed only by royalty in the past.
4. Grilled Onion Rings
Regular onion rings have nothing on this local-endorsed snack. Those who have tried this snack love how its barbecued flavour envelopes your palate and has a rich flavour. No wonder the locals love it so much!
If you’re travelling soon, you definitely have to try this unique Korean snack!
5. Shrimp crackers with chocolate
Yes, you did not read this wrongly. While we indulge in the Yan Yan snack in Singapore (biscuit sticks with chocolate dip), the South Koreans love to dip shrimp crackers in chocolate. Weird? Yes, it may be, but there are a huge number of people who love the sweet-and-savoury combination. This is one of the most unique Korean snacks you can get as a souvenir, and we bet that it will be a great conversation-starter as you challenge your friends in Singapore to give this a whirl.
6. Bong Bong grape drink
Packaged in a small and cute can, this delicious drink is sweet and refreshing. Made with green grapes and filled with grapes bits, it is chewy and tasty at the same time. Pair this with your favourite instant noodles for supper and you’ll get perfection.
7. Sweet rice drink
Remember those scenes you see in K-Dramas where the characters head to saunas (jjimjilbang) and chill? Well, this is one of the drinks the locals typically get when they are there! It is a sweet rice drink that comes along with rice bits that gives an interestingly refreshing texture.
8. Orion Turtle Corn Chip
In case you’re wondering if there’s any turtle by-product in this snack – no, it’s just the name! These adorably packaged chips are corn chips that give regular potato chips a run for their money, with their thicker texture and richer taste. A few flavours are available and they’re all equally popular: corn soup, chocolate churros, sweet injeolmi, Himalayan salt, flamin’ lime, and cinnamon.
The flavours may seem a little weird at first, but this is one of the most unique Korean snacks worth trying. Who knows, you might just fall in love with its taste!
9. Binch Chocolate-dipped Cookies
These chocolate-dipped cookies are a classic and let’s admit it, who doesn’t like chocolate? If you prefer giving people fool-proof snacks that they will definitely love from your trip to South Korea, this unique Korean snack will do the trick.
10. Milk and strawberry flavoured cookies
These small snacks may be very thin, but they are very flavourful. They are incredibly popular among locals and we’re pretty sure this crowd-pleaser is going to be well-received by most people in Singapore too.
The sweetness from the cookies is just what you would need to pair with your daily cup of black coffee.
11. Yohi yogurt biscuit
Yogurt biscuits may sound odd to some but it is one of the most popular unique Korean snacks among Korean students! A sought-after treat during revision sessions for exams, this is a must-try if you visit the country.
12. Dried sweet potato
Kind of like how Singaporeans are crazy about anything salted egg-related, the South Koreans are obsessed with sweet potato. This is why it’s common to find food items like sweet potato latte, sweet potato pizza and sweet potato cake in South Korea! Needless to say, one of the most unique Korean snacks you can get is these chewy dried sweet potato strips! You can find them easily in any convenience store.
13. No Brand sweet potato chips
Another sweet potato snack that you can bring home? Sweet potato chips. Its unique purple colour is intriguing (and Instagram-worthy, for sure!) but more importantly, it tastes better than it looks! You can find them easily in any Emart store in Seoul.
14. Nongshim sweet potato sticks
More sweet potato snacks? Uh huh. Didn’t we warn you about the South Koreans’ love for them? Try this unique Korean snack, which is ultra crispy and has a strong, savoury taste. Plus, it is produced by one of our favourite Korean instant noodle brands, so you can rest assured that the taste will be top-notch!
15. Korean Traditional Macaroni Pumpkin Snack
If you like something chewy, this is another snack you might one to consider. Known to be a traditional Korean snack, it is usually consumed when you’re feeling peckish and just want something to chew on. While there are several flavours available, we recommend the pumpkin one if you want something more unique!
In Singapore, we have drinks like Milo and Horlicks, in South Korea, they have Nesquik! Like Milo and Horlicks, this is able to give you energy and keep you satisfied, and it also has a unique taste. It’s something that you certainly have to try when you visit South Korea.
If you like the taste, be sure to bring home a few packets of it!
17. Roasted dried squid
Want to chew on something that’s savoury? This pressed dried squid snack is a great option. Many South Koreans enjoy eating this while drinking chilled beer with their friends!
Contrary to popular belief, this unique Korean snack is also considered to be quite healthy as it contains high-quality protein, fatty acids, and amino acids. So the next time you’re having some beer, swap out the unhealthy chips with this healthier option.
18. Melona drink
Prior to the release of this drink, Melona was a well-known ice-cream among South Koreans. The taste of honey dew was incredibly tasteful, and the ice cream offered a relief to your taste buds especially after having a spicy meal. Due to its popularity, the company also came up with a beverage in the same flavour so that Melona fans can choose to drink it instead. If you’re wondering how it tastes like, many describe its taste as being similar to honey dew milk!
19. Spicy potato noodles
You may already be familiar with some instant noodle varieties from South Korea, such as the cheese instant noodles and spicy Korean ramyun. But if you were to ask the locals to recommend you something unique, chances are, they are going to suggest this. Made from potato starch, the noodles are more chewy than regular instant noodles. It is slightly spicy and makes for great comfort food on a cold, rainy day.
20. Cookies and cream spread
Do you spread butter or jam on bread? Passe.
Share with your friends in Singapore the Korean way of doing it with this Cookie & Milk spread instead. This is one of the most unique Korean snacks worth trying, and we can already foresee it becoming a hit amongst the kids.
21. Rice cake pie
Here is another chewy snack that you can get for your friends and family in Singapore. Some might call it the thin ‘Choco Pie’ but it is slightly different. Sandwiched with a thin layer of chewy rice cake in place of marshmallow, this is certainly one of the most unique Korean snacks you can get.
22. Omija tea
Omija tea may sound foreign to us in Singapore, but it is as common in South Korea as fruit tea. Omija is a type of berry that is packed with antioxidants and nutrients, making it a healthy option to have. There are several options that you can choose from to bring home, and you can find them either in tea bag or dried leaves variants.
23. Flavoured seaweed
Kimchi may be most representative of Korean cuisine, but seaweed definitely comes as a close second. Bring back this important snack to share with your friends and family. Apart from the original flavour, we recommend trying the barbecued or spicy flavour for a change. You can find these seaweed packets easily in department stores.
Wrap some meat in this or have this with rice and you’ll see how much of a game-changer it is.
24. Crunky chocolate
You can’t go wrong with chocolates as a gift, especially this crowd-pleasing option. Made with chocolates that taste rich, there are also crunchy bits inside that make it addictive to chew on.
25. Buldak noodle snack
Remember the Mamee noodle snack that you can find easily in local provision stores? This is somewhat similar to it, but it is in the flavour of the Korean fire noodles that is famous around the world.
Kickstart a brand new challenge with your friends to see who can finish this unique Korean snack first without breaking a sweat!
26. Kakao Friends Jellyppo
Featuring characters from South Korea’s number one messaging application, these snacks make a cute gift for your friends and family in Singapore. Each packet comes with jelly of four different flavours: strawberry, mango, apple and orange.
27. Almond candies
We often find almond snacks in Singapore that are either baked or salted. In South Korea, you can get hold of these almond candies, which have a sweet-and-savoury flavour. This is certainly one of the most unique Korean snacks that will be appreciated by those who enjoy eating nuts!
28. Cold brew milk caramel
You might have already heard of milk caramel, red bean caramel and so on, but have you heard of cold brew milk caramel? We can say for sure that coffee lovers are going to love this unique Korean snack!
29. Binggrae Smoky Bacon Chips
You can always trust the South Koreans to come up with something unique. If you love having bacon, you’re in for a treat. This is one of the most unique Korean snacks out there. These corn chips are made to look just like bacon strips, and they are savoury with a hint of barbecue flavour. Beware, they’re pretty addictive, so we’d recommend bringing home a few packets because they’ll be gone before you know it.
30. Crab crackers
We’ve always heard of shrimp crackers, but have you heard of crab crackers? Well, if you’re in South Korea, be sure to look out for one of the most unique Korean snacks out there: crab chips. These chips are slightly sweeter than the usual shrimp snacks that we snack on, but they are still just as salty and savoury – perfect to enjoy with a glass of ice cold beer.
Unique Korean snacks found in Busan
31. Myeongga Ddeok
Busan has many delicious street food but it is a pity that you cannot take them home. However, if you happen to be there, you might want to try out their famous rice cake in the region called ‘myeongga ddeok’. They can be found easily along the streets, and you can try to bring them home for friends and family if Busan is on the last day of your South Korea itinerary!
Unique Korean snacks found in Jeju
32. Hallabong chocolate
Jeju Island is famous for their tangerine or in Korean, hallabong. So you definitely have to get your hands on one of the most unique Korean snacks the island has, a box of tangerine chocolates, before you leave this wonderful island.
33. Hallabong citrus tea
Jeju Island’s hallabong citrus tea is also famous among tourists and locals alike. As most South Koreans are very supportive of their country’s agriculture, some would even make their way down to Jeju, just to get the best tea from the island.
So when you’re in the area, don’t miss out on this unique Korean snack!
34. Osulloc green tea spread
Jeju is where famous green tea brand ‘Osulloc’ comes from. Besides their tea, when you’re in Jeju, don’t forget to bring home their famous green tea spread. Not available anywhere else, the Osulloc green tea spread is one of the most unique Korean snacks you can get for your loved ones. You can spread it over bread or dip biscuit in it – both ways taste amazing.
This will definitely be a hit amongst those who enjoy green tea.
35. Traditional tangerine rice snack
Here is another traditional snack that you can find on Jeju Island. The combination of tangerine and traditional rice cracker gives rise to one of the most unique Korean snacks that we’re sure most people will be intrigued by.
Unique Korean snacks found in Daegu
36. Honey rice cake
Daegu is a city that is rich in historical and cultural sights. If you’re visiting Daegu, remember to look out for their honey rice cake, a regional specialty that is very unique. While convenience stores all over South Korea have started making Daegu rice cakes and you may be able to find them outside the city, getting them from traditional stores in Daegu is definitely more gratifying!
Unique Korean snacks found in Gwangju
37. Dragon egg sandwich
Gwangju is the sixth largest city in South Korea and while it’s not a very frequently visited tourist destination yet, it is slowly gaining popularity, especially for its unique cuisine. If you are planning to go off the beaten track and visit Gwangju, look out for this one of its most unique Korean snacks – we bet you’ve never seen anything like this before!
Known as the dragon egg sandwich, this is found in a bakery called “Kungjeon Bakery” (93-6, Chungjang-ro, Dong-gu) located in Gwangju, which is very satisfying. The bakery also has other unique creations that you should check out.
38. Vegetable and seaweed chips
If you’re visiting Gwangju, don’t miss stopping by a small village called ‘Bukak Maeul’. This village specialises in vegetable and seaweed chips that you probably can’t find anywhere else. At Bukak Maeul, you’ll also be able to find freshly made chips that taste different from packaged ones.
Unique Korean snacks found in Jeonju
39. Choco Pie
This is a totally different kind of Choco Pie that you should try. While most Choco Pies have marshmallow as filling, the ones in Jeonju are famous for being replaced with cream! Those who prefer this version like it because it’s not as sweet as the original.
So instead of bringing home the usual Choco Pies that can already be found in Singapore, bring home these unique Korean snacks for a change!
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