Travel Highlights

      • VK Recommends: Convenience Store Must-Eats!

        • 07/10/2023


        • K_food

        • convenience_store

        • dessert

        • instant_tteokbokki

        • ramyeon

  • Samgak gimbap

    Convenience stores in Korea are always looking for ways to surprise their customers with interesting new products while promoting steady sellers. Here are some popular items to keep an eye out for when you visit a convenience store during your travels!

    Cup noodles

    Koreans are known to love instant noodles, called ramyeon in Korean, so much that Korea always lands near the top of the list of instant noodle consumption per capita ranking. Koreans’ love for noodles is also apparent in convenience stores, where you’ll find a variety of instant noodles. In addition to the basic flavors like kimchi and cheese, also check the types that add a special ingredient, such as a mara seasoning, pepper flakes, or scallions.

    There are also limited flavor editions that can be found only at a specific franchise. For example, 7-Eleven sells a Scallion Ramyeon that is full of large slices of large scallion for a deep flavor. It’s the perfect hangover meal for after a night of drinking! GS25, on the other hand, sells Omori Kimchi Jjigae Ramyeon made with fermented kimchi broth for a combination of deep flavors.

    TIP) Looking for non-spicy cup noodles? We recommend Jin Ramen (mild), Tempura Udon Noodle Soup, and Sari Gomtang Noodles.

    Scallion Ramyeon big cup noodles

    Samgak gimbap

    Samgak gimbap, literally translated to triangle gimbap, is a type of rice ball stuffed with various fillings and fully wrapped in dried seaweed. Samgak gimbap is one of the most steady-selling items at convenience stores. Its popularity lies in the fact that they make for an affordable and convenient meal and come in a variety of fillings to choose from. The most popular filling is the savory and subtly sweet tuna-mayonnaise. Another popular filling is Jeonju bibimbap, inspired by the food of the same name that offers a burst of flavors coming from the spicy seasoned rice and ground meat.

    TIP) The combination of cup noodles and samgak gimbap is convenience store soul food!

    Samgak gimbap

    Cooked eggs

    Did you know you could buy cooked eggs from convenience stores? Not just any cooked eggs, but the baked ones that are often found in jjimjilbang (Korean sauna)! These brown-shell eggs are known for their chewiness and savory taste. They are also a great nutritious snack when you’re looking for something light to fill your stomach. Each store franchise promotes its own brands: 7-Eleven sells Guun-ran (baked eggs) and Hunje-ran (smoked eggs); GS25 sells Gamdong-ran (baked eggs); and CU sells Dongui Hunje-ran (smoked eggs).

    TIP) Enjoy your eggs with sikhye (sweet rice punch) for the ultimate jjimjilbang combination. 7-Eleven sells Soo-mi’s Janchijip Sikhye, a collaboration product with famous actress and cooking program host Kim Soo-mi. Enjoy the taste of home-made sikhye!

    • Jjimjilbang-style hard-boiled eggs
    • Soo-mi’s Janchijip Sikhye 340 ml

    Convenience Store X Restaurant collaborations

    One unique aspect of Korean convenience stores is that you can enjoy many trending restaurants’ food through collaboration projects. New collaborations are always revealed to great fanfare, with many reviews quickly going up on Korean websites. At 7-Eleven, you can enjoy the Sukseongdo Lemon Seltzer highball, a drink from the famous black pork restaurant Sukseongdo in Jeju. At GS25, enjoy sweet and moist canelé from Below, a popular café in Seongsu-dong, Seoul.

    Sukseongdo Lemon Seltzer highball

    Convenience store X F&B brand collaborations

    Convenience stores are better able to follow the trends over larger markets. These days, the trend is for collaborations with other companies, especially in the food and beverage section. Some of the most recent trending products include Jeju Milk Monaca Ice Cream, developed by 7-Eleven and Jeju Milk, made with milk from cows fed in Jeju’s pure environment; Butter Beer developed by GS25 and Boulangerie Beaurre, a quality butter brand; and Yonsei Cream Bread developed by CU and Yonsei Milk.

    Jeju Milk Monaka Ice Ceam Butter Beer Yonsei Chocolate Cream Bread

    Flavored milk

    The dairy section at a Korean convenience store is more colorful than any other section in the fridge thanks to the variety of flavored milk on display. The all-time favorite Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk can be found in any convenience store regardless of store brands. Other recommended flavors include mocha milk with espresso and chocolate, watermelon milk made with real watermelon extract, minty and sweet mint chocolate milk, white rice milk made with Korean rice powder and, last but not least, classic chocolate and strawberry milk.

    TIP) The recent trend among Gen-Z is Knotted Milk packaged in a pastel color container with a cute smiley face.

    • Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk and BR Very Berry Strawberry Milk
    • Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk and BR Very Berry Strawberry Milk

    Cup tteokbokki

    Tteokbokki is undoubtedly Koreans’ soul food, and it’s sold in convenience stores so it’s available any time the craving hits. All you need to do is pour hot water into the cup and wait until it’s ready to eat. A variety of flavors are available, ranging from the typical spicy pepper-paste based tteokbokki to non-spicy ones such as cream sauce tteokbokki, rosé sauce tteokbokki, and jjajang (black bean sauce) tteokbokki. There’s even a tteokbokki with thinly sliced beef, so keep an eye out for new and unique tteokbokki products!

    TIP) If the tteokbokki is too spicy for you, add in some string cheese to balance out the spiciness level.

    Cup tteokbokki products

    Ice cream

    Ice cream is another sweet dessert to look out for at convenience stores. Deowisanyang, a coffee flavored ice candy, is the perfect antidote to cool off on hot summer days while Bungeo Samanco is a vanilla sandwich ice cream with sweet beans wrapped in a thin wafer crust. Another popular ice cream is Melona, an ice cream bar that comes in sweet fruity flavors.


    Regional specialty product collaborations

    You can also get a taste of regional specialty products from all over Korea at convenience stores thanks to items that incorporate local products from other regions. For example, at 7-Eleven, you can find dried persimmon sujeonggwa (cinnamon punch) made with persimmons grown by local farmers in Sangju, or honey peach-ade made with peaches from the foothills of Chiaksan Mountain in Wonju. Emart24 sells Icheon Rice Cone made with real rice harvested from Icheon.

    • Dried persimmon sujeonggwa
    • Honey peach-ade

    Vegan foods

    Convenience store sales reports have shown that vegan product revenue has increased twenty-fold in recent years. Due to the growing social awareness for environmental sustainability and animal rights, convenience stores continue to launch a wide array of food products that incorporate healthy and environment-friendly ingredients. To name a few, CU offers samgak gimbap made with vegan tuna, while GS25 sells two types of tteokbokki with a meat substitute. If you’re looking for desserts, head to 7-Eleven for a vegan cookie that’s been certified by the Korea Agency of Vegan Certification and Services.

    Vegan cookies


    More info

    • 1330 Korea Travel Helpline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

    * This column was last updated in June 2023, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check for updates before visiting.

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