Bringing Korea Home

Quite a few of my maties are in Korea at the moment- either on a trip, or doing their teaching year. Apart from being insanely jealous, I’ve also been thinking about what I’m going to ask them to bring back for me. 😉 In turn, this made me think back to the gifts and tidbits that I brought home after my last visit.

I was so busy sightseeing, meeting peeps, learning about Korea and having the time of my life, that there wasn’t much time for shopping. I did a quick spree on my final night, though, just to get the essentials.

So, what did I bring home from Korea?

1. Pepero (빼빼로) 

Of course I had to grab some Pepero for myself and my friends. These chocco-covered biscuit sticks are the ultimate Korean snack, perfect for movie nights or as party food. My four-year-old nephew loves them too!

2. Character socks

At 5,000 won (about £2.70) for five pairs from a little street market, how could I resist these cute socks? I got some animal ones for the littluns, some Big Bang ones for my boyf, and some Dalki ones for me. Never too old for character socks!

3. Nokcha Latte (녹차 라테) sachets

Green tea is light, refreshing and detox-ing. Green tea latte is yummy, sweet and luxurious. This is my all-time fave hot drink, and finding a London cafe with it on the menu is a rare treat. With this ‘just add warm milk’ powder from Family Mart, there’s no need. Mmm.

4. Dream Cacao 72% chocolate

Lotte’s Dream Cacao is an intense cocoa hit in mini-cube form. It tastes lovely, and as it’s so strong, leaves you wanting less chocolate (that’s my excuse anyway!) To me, the best thing about it is the novelty factor, and as I’ve been missing it since I left Korea the first time, I simply had to bring some back.

5. Tonymoly cosmetics

I absolutely love this cosmetic brand- the products are so adorable, so precious, and so unbelievably well-priced. This time, I bought some orange-scented hand creme packaged in a plastic orange for my mum, some face cooling sprays in bunny-shaped spritzers for my sister, and fruity lip glosses for girly friends. I just wish my backpack were a bit bigger!

Can you believe these cuties are lip glosses?

6. Chopsticks

Chopsticks make pretty, practical and apt pressies from a Korea trip. I bought some wooden and metal sets from a standard souvenir shop, all of which had gorgeous designs. Table cloths and coasters were also for sale, and I remember getting loads of these the first time I was in K-land.

7. Chewing gum

Okay, so this one’s a bit obscure… There’s a tradition in my office that every time someone takes a trip, they bring some chewing gum back. Korean gum certainly didn’t disappoint! I chose a variety including coffee and rose flavours, as well as gum specifically ‘for men’ and ‘for women’. Maybe not the best tasting nor the best quality gum in the world, but definitely the funniest and most interesting.

8. Notebooks

Oh, I miss the wealth of cheap ‘n’ cheerful stationary that fills shops on (probably) every street in Korea. The wording on the notebook pictured reads “Always know where you are going. Travelling will be a good outlet for you to expand your romantic interests” and “Everything changes but beauty remains.” Really, what’s not to love?

9. Solomon’s seal tea

This refreshing Korean tea has been put into a tea bag by the O’Sulloc company. It’s a subtly flavoured root tea that works just as well to cleanse just after a meal as it does matched with a rice cake snack for a perfectly Korean-themed tea break.

10. Dried squid snack

Not for veggie-ol’-me, but as this snack is very different to what us Brits are used to nomming on, it makes for a unique gift. It’s apparently the perfect accompaniment to a few beers (and may be received more favourably in this state too!)

11. Jeju choc

As I had the awesome opportunity to visit the island of Jeju-do, gift shopping was made easy. Jeju chocolates roll souvenir and sharing-sweeties into one. Typical flavours are hallabong, tangerine, Jeju cactus and green tea. I went for… well all of them of course! Hallabong choccies shaped like little Haruebang (the grandfather symbol of the island) are extra special.

Had there been more time, there’s no doubt I would’ve shopped a whole lot more. It’s quite interesting to look back and see what I deemed ‘essential’ in the spur of the moment, though! What goodies will you bring home after a Korea trip, and what will your Korea-bound mates think is the perfect present for you?

  • My last-minute spree was done in Dongdaemun, Seoul, but Korea is a 24-hour country and all of the above (apart from Jeju choc) will be commonly found in any supermarket or corner shop.
  • Click on the brand names to find out more about Lotte, Family Mart, TonyMoly and O’Sulloc.
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