Top 10 Things You Can Buy in South Korea

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made in south korea

In a more global world than ever before, every traveler will encounter a dilemma: what can become the best souvenir that truly represents your trip? Those who visit South Korea will be happy to hear that there are many things you can only find there. This is our top ten best to take home.

1. K-beauty products
In recent years, Korean cosmetics have become all the rage in just about every corner of the world. Popularized by Korean pop culture, both women and men around the globe have shifted their interest and preferences toward Korean skin care and makeup products. From sheet masks and BB cream to cleansing products and hand lotions, South Korea has some of the best (and most affordable) beauty products on the market.

2. Hallyu paraphernalia
If you’ve fallen victim to K-pop (or K-drama) fever, there’s no better place to rack up on Hallyu paraphernalia than South Korea. Just about anything—from calendars and coffee mugs to t-shirts and even potato chips—features the faces of the country’s most celebrated idols.

3. Quirky Korean socks
Perhaps it has something to do with the Korean custom of removing one’s shoes before entering a house (and thus exposing the feet), but the country does sock design like no one else. Featuring funky themes, sayings, ramen noodle brands and even the faces of public figures, Korean socks are as varied and creative as one could imagine.

4. Ginseng
Korean ginseng is known worldwide for its healing medicinal properties that are believed to enhance concentration, reduce stress, increase stamina and treat high blood pressure. While pricey, this “magic” root makes for a great buy.

5. Unique kitchenware
Unlike other Asian countries, which typically use wooden or bamboo chopsticks, South Korea uses metal chopsticks that are typically flatter and squarer in shape. Although this custom dates back to the Baekje Period, when royal families used silver chopsticks to detect poison in their food, Koreans today prefer them for their hygiene properties.

6. Korean paper products
Hanji, or traditional handmade Korean paper, is made from the bark of the mulberry tree and was historically used to cover the doors and windows of a house to keep it warm. Today, it’s a popular material for making paper dolls, table lamps, stationery and even clothes.

7. Cute stationery
Korea is the king of cuteness, especially when it comes to stationery products. From sneaker-shaped pencil cases to colorful planners plastered with adorable characters, the country has a little something for every style. Mungujeom, or stationery shops, can be found in just about every neighborhood, but bigger franchises like ArtBox, 10×10 and HotTracks offer the best selections.

8. Tea
Although tea isn’t nearly as popular in Korea as it is in countries like China and Japan, the country still produces high-quality green tea in regions such as Boseong, Hadong and Jeju. Traditional fruit teas like omija-cha (‘five taste tea’ made from magnolia berries) and meshilcha (sweet plum tea) are also popular beverages, not only for their taste but also their health properties.

9. Personalised stamps
Dojang, or personalized stamps which made in south korea, have long been used throughout the country to sign contracts and important documents in addition to a signature. They can be customized with one’s name in hangul (the Korean alphabet) at one of the many stamp shops throughout the country.

10. Dried seaweed
Dried seaweed, or kim, is processed into very thin, paper-like layers and sold in packages to be eaten with rice, although it’s quite delicious on its own. As an added bonus, it’s incredibly healthy, as it’s packed with calcium, vitamins and carotenes. This ubiquitous snack can be purchased just about anywhere, from department stores and traditional markets to convenience stores.