What To Buy In South Korea

what to buy in south korea
| 4 min read

Being most prominently known through the Korean Wave, South Korean culture has been popularised and known throughout the previous years. With this, South Korea is also known for its high quality in some daily items that can qualify as necessities or souvenirs. In all of its countryside beauty and vibrant cityscape, the country offers a myriad of tokens to choose from! Having visited the country and been that souvenier scourer before; trust me, getting some mementoes should not be missed when visiting South Korea. So, with that, check out this list of items of what to buy in South Korea.

1. Kitchenware and utensils

Chopstick holder @ Hangang @ Paris 15
Source: Photo by user Guilhem Vellut used under CC BY 2.0

South Korea is known for its high-tech city and much more, being the country of origin of the well-known brand Samsung. With such, the quality of their kitchenware is supreme, such as their rice-cookers and juice blenders; as well as many other devices. They are extremely effective alongside their durability, thus leading to why they are so popular as a product. For their utensils, apart from the uniqueness of their flat rectangular chopsticks; the steel bowls and spoons are highly lasting. They too, exhibit the Korean temperament when you use these one-of-a-kind utensils.

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2. Cosmetics or beauty products

Korean cosmetics on a shelf
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Teemeah used under CC BY-SA 4.0

With its high standards of beauty, South Korea beauty products are one of the many highly sought-after souvenirs during any visit. Products such as the Innisfree mask sheets and face wash products infused with oxygen; give your face effective yet gentle treatment. Such beauty products in South Korea provide consumers with high-quality treatment and assurance of safety, thus be sure to pick them up during your visit!

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3. Traditional paper products

what to buy in south korea | traditional paper products
Source: instagram

For the more traditional side of souvenirs, South Korea also offers a myriad of paper products; that range in size and craft as well. These paper crafts are known as Hanji craft, applied to create paper flowers, paper boxes, etc. Such craft has been further developed to be used in making paper boxes into useful living ware. Such combines functionality and aesthetics together; thus, note that such souvenirs are not just for display but can be incorporated into your own furniture.

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4. Ginseng

Korea-Sokcho-Sansamju-Wild ginseng wine-02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user by Junho Jung used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ginseng is one of the herbs that have been used in Asian medicine for ages. This plant has been proven to have a variety of health benefits, which includes beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; alongside improving vigour in the human body. Such a herb is very popular in South Korea, thus can be very easy to find in your hunt for more souvenirs!

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5. Tea

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user by Ride Around th... used under CC BY 2.0

Drinking tea is one part of the Korean culture that has been withheld throughout the centuries; even with a walk through the streets of Seoul, there are countless numbers of tea cafés, traditional or modern. There are many types of Korean teas, such as leaf teas, flower teas and much more. Some of the more popular teas include Omija-cha, which is a traditional Korean tea made from dried magnolia berries. As from the name of the tea; which means “five flavours”; rings true when consumed; giving the drink a rather full taste. When visiting, be sure to grab one to try it out for yourself!

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6. Personalized stamps

A personalized Korean name-stamp - or ‘dojang’ - is one of the most popular souvenirs that are available in South Korea! These stamps are handmade and made right on the spot for you, allowing you to bring home that little traditional air from your trip. These stamps are mostly found in Insadong, the artsy side of South Korea. These stamps are still popular and are used for signing documents. It can be used for all other scenarios that require a signature or a person’s name, and you can use these to decorate gifts for your family and friends!

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7. Dried seaweed

Dried edible seaweed is extremely abundant in South Korea; as well as one of the most nutritious snacks that you can get there! Dried seaweed is packed with vitamin A, B6 and B12; as well as proteins. It is also known to have a high content of mineral salts, particularly iodine and iron, and essential amino acids; and considered a very healthy food for many. With such, this snack can be the perfect souvenir gift for your family and friends; as it can also be used in a lot of Korean dishes as well as a very easy snack to eat!

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8. Traditional Embroidery

Korean embroidery patterns
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user shaire productions used under CC BY 2.0

Korean traditional embroidery, alongside tea and ginseng, goes centuries back into Korean history. This art form, also known as “Chasu”, was a method of cultivating beauty in every corner of daily life; as transpired from the desire to beautify one’s surroundings. Traditional embroidery is still prevalent in the souvenirs we can buy today, woven into clothing pieces or handmade pouches. These pieces of traditional art embody the traditional air of Korean culture, allowing you to bring back a piece of history into your home.

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9. Hanbok

what to buy in South Korea
Source: Pixabay

In South Korea, one cannot simply exclude the hanbok from the Korean culture. A hanbok is a traditional Korean dress for traditional events like celebrations, festivals, and ceremonies. It showcases amazing glorious shades and delicate lines, no pockets and is quite recognisable from its design. This being a souvenir doesn’t mean buying an outfit; there are studios in South Korea that allow tourists to wear hanboks and take pictures instead! With that, you can still experience wearing this piece of Korean history!

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10. Instant noodles

Even in a foreign country, instant noodles are still one of the essentials to get! One of the more popular ones is the spicy Korean noodles that are numbingly hot or even the cheese instant noodles that can be found in any Korean grocery shop. These flavours are indeed very unique to Korea and one to definitely bring home to your friends and family to try out!

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Take a piece of South Korea with you

Modern or traditional, these souvenirs all hold some part of Korean culture with them. No matter if it’s nutritious food, high-quality products or beautiful outfits; they will satisfy your souvenir needs for friends or family, as well as your own needs for your daily routine. With that, shop to your heart’s content!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Gladys Lim is a student and a passionate writer, who concurrently resides in Singapore. She has a strong liking for culture and historical landmarks in countries that she has visited such as Japan...Read more

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