In Asia, convenience stores are an essential part of our daily lives. So, I always take my friends from overseas to convenience stores in Taiwan, so they can ogle the vast selection of products, and experience an important part of local culture. One friend asked me, “how is it that you’re not late for work everyday, when you have so many decision to make?” Good question!
I also love going into convenience stores during my travels, just to see all the different items. On my first day in Seoul, I arrived in a state of exhaustion. (Note to self, don’t take the 7 am flight, because that means you have to wake up at 3 am and that pretty much wipes you out for the rest of the day), Luckily for me, there was a Mart near the place I was staying for me to explore.
The Mart was very small, but it didn’t stop me from spending almost a half an hour in there exploring all that it had to offer, much to the amusement of the two aunties that were working there.
Here’s a quick look at what I saw! I was first drawn to the drinks cabinet because I liked the fonts on these iced coffees.
The sizes and shapes of their containers are so different than in Taiwan. Look at these! So short and chubby!
One food item that was on my list of things to try was the banana milk. I absolutely adore the shape of the bottle, because it looks so cute and friendly to me. The banana milk is available in Taiwan, but it comes in a regular juice box, which is probably why I’ve never been tempted to try it before.
One item I hadn’t seen before were these canned products~ turns out they are ready-made bantam, the side dishes that Koreans eat along with their rice. There were several different kinds, like braised anchovies in soy sauce, and even quail eggs.
The other item you don’t see so much in Taiwan is these bowls of microwavable rice. Family Mart sells them, but they only sell plain white rice. In Korea, you can get black rice, multi-grain rice, or even congee in these nifty one-serving containers. I think these be handy to have in your desk drawers at work, in case it’s raining and you don’t want to go out to buy your lunch.
If you’ve watched enough Korean dramas, you know that the shopping bags in Korea are black. So I was thrilled to see that it was true in real life. The nice aunties packaged up my items and had a little giggle at my “kamsamida” (thank you in Korean).
I just realized that unless there’s English written on the packaging, I have no idea what I’m buying! I bought two bags of chips, once is the Honey Butter flavor, another is “hot.” Then I bought a few other items I was either curious about, or liked the packaging.
My favorite purchase so far out of the lot was the banana milk. It’s pretty sweet in flavor, and I’m sure it’s artificial flavoring, but it’s quite the treat!