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 came back 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 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 are a list of food items you can look out for when you’re in Korea. Psst, some of them can only be found in specific cities, making them extra special!
1. Yakult gummies
These chewy and flavourful gummies are going to win the hearts of kids and adults alike. A snack that can only be found exclusively in 7-11 stores in 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. You can find them in most 7-11 stores in Seoul.
2. Strawberry choco pie
Did you know that the strawberry choco pie was only available in the Korean military camps at first? They are so popular people started asking friends with the military to bring them back for them. This has since been made more “convenient” as many brands started producing the strawberry flavored choco pie. You’ll need to try it for yourself to understand the hype!
If you know your friends aren’t fans of strawberry, you can also consider other hit choices such as green tea and banana.
3. Myeongdong dragon mustache candy
Heading down to the famous Myeongdong street to do some shopping? This is a peanut chocolate filled sweet treat you want to consider bringing back to share with your friends and family! It is known to be one of the traditional snacks that is 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 envelope your palate and has a rich flavour. No wonder the locals love it so much!
5. Shrimp 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 Koreans love to dip shrimp crackers in chocolate. Weird? Yeah, it may be, but there are a huge number of people who love the sweet-and-savoury combination. This souvenir will definitely be a 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.
7. Sweet rice drink
Remember those scenes you see in the K-Dramas when 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. Two flavours are available and they’re equally popular: corn soup and cinnamon.
9. Binch chocolate dipped cookies
This 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 in Korea, this will do the trick.
10. Milk and strawberry flavoured cookies
These small snacks may be very thin, but are very flavourful. The delicious snacks are popular among locals and we’re pretty sure this crowd-pleaser is going to be well-received by most people in Singapore too.
11. Yohi yogurt biscuit
Yogurt biscuits may sound odd for some but it is one of the most popular snacks among Korean students! A sought-after treat during revision sessions for exams, this is also endorsed by famous K-pop group Wanna One.
12. Dried sweet potato
Kind of like how Singaporeans are crazy about anything salted egg-related, the 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 Korea! Needless to say, one of the unique 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 chip
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 Koreans’ love for them? Try this snack, which is ultra crispy and has a strong, savoury taste.
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 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.
17. Roasted dried squid
Want to chew on something that’s savoury? This pressed dried squid snack is a great option. Many Koreans enjoy eating this while drinking chilled beer!
18. Melona drink
Prior to the release of this drink, Melona is a well-known ice-cream among Koreans. 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. If you’re wondering how it tastes like, many describe its taste close to honey dew milk!
19. Spicy potato noodles
You may already be familiar with some instant noodles varieties from 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 make 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.
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, this is a local snack that is well loved by Koreans.
22. Omija tea
Omija tea may sound foreign to us in Singapore, but it is as common in Korea as fruit tea. Omija is a type of berry that is packed with antioxidants and nutrients, making it a healthy option. 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.
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 makes 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 is in the lavour of Korean fire noodles that is famous around the world!
26. Kakao Talk Jellyppo
Featuring characters from 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 Korea, you should get hold of these almond candies, which have a sweet-and-savoury flavour.
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 sweet treat!
29. 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’, and they can be found easily along the streets. You can try to bring them home for friends and family if Busan is on the last day of your Korea itinerary!
30. Hallabong chocolate
Jeju island is famous for their tangerine or in Korean, hallabong. You definitely have to get your hands on a box of tangerine chocolate before you leave this wonderful island.
31. Hallabong citrus tea
Jeju island’s hallabong citrus tea is also famous among tourists and locals alike. As most 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.
32. 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. You can spread it over bread or dip biscuit in it – both ways taste amazing.
33. Traditional tangerine rice snack
Here is another traditional snack that you can find in Jeju island. The combination of tangerine and traditional rice cracker is a unique treat that we’re sure most people will like.
34. 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 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!
35. Dragon egg sandwich
Gwangju is the sixth largest city in 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 unique sandwich – 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 super satisfying. The bakery also has other unique creations that you should check out.
36. Vegetable and seaweed chips
If you’re visiting Gwangju, don’t miss stopping by a small village called ‘Bugak Maeul’. This village specialises in vegetable and seaweed chips that you probably can’t find anywhere else. At Bugak Maeul, you’ll also be able to find freshly made chips that definitely taste different from packaged ones.
37. 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 is famous for being replaced with cream! Those who prefer this version like it because it’s not as sweet as the original.
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