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Spending only 20,000 KRW on groceries in Korea isn’t impossible, even if most of the items in the supermarket cost around 5,000 KRW or more. With a grocery list handy, you’ll know what you need to buy and how much you’re willing to spend for certain items.

Here are a few cheat sheets (estimated for one person) for your next shopping trip:

Breakfast Staples

Korean Grocery Tips breakfast staples

  • Cereals: (600g cornflakes) 4,200 KRW
  • Pancake mix: 2,500 KRW
  • Milk: (2 cartons; check the “best by” date) 3,880 KRW
  • Bread: (1 loaf; check the “best by” date) 1,980 KRW
  • Eggs: (10 pcs.; check the “best by” date or use this simple freshness test) 2,800 KRW
  • Spread: (1 small jar of jam, peanut or green tea spread, Nutella) 3,000-3,600 KRW
SFS Desktop 750×110

Total: 18,360-18,960 KRW

Lasts: About 2 weeks (the spreads may last beyond this time)

Vegetarian

Korean grocery tips vegetables

  • Sesame oil: (160ml) 2,980 KRW
  • Brown rice vinegar: (500ml) 1,150 KRW
  • Rice: (2kg) 6,800 KRW
  • Rose bananas: 1,980 KRW
  • Ice Queen lettuce or Green Lettuce: (100g; keep refrigerated) 1,980 KRW
  • King Oyster mushrooms: (300g x 2 deal) 3,280 KRW
  • Honey mushrooms: (150g) 1,800 KRW

Total: 19,970 KRW

Lasts: About 1 week (the rice, oil, and vinegar may last beyond this time)

Meat

Korean grocery tips meat

  • Sliced ham: (400g) 5,900 KRW
  • Sliced sirloin beef: (bulgogi-style; a little over 200g) 3,887-4,231 KRW
  • Seasoned chicken breast: (2,000 each x 2) 4,000 KRW
  • Chopped whole chicken: (1kg) 4,900 KRW

Total: 18,687-19,031 KRW

Lasts: About 1 week (the meat should be consumed within 2 days if not frozen but may last for around 3 months if frozen)

Basic Cooking Ingredients

Korean grocery tips other ingredients

  • Gojuchang paste: (1 small tub) 1,950 KRW
  • Doenjang paste: (1 small tub) 950 KRW
  • Pepper: 2,200 KRW
  • Salt: (400g) 1,160 KRW
  • Onions: (around 6 pcs.) 4,500 KRW
  • Garlic: (around 100g) 1,880-2,068 KRW
  • Potatoes: (around 8 pcs.) 2,380 KRW
  • Cherry tomatoes: (1 cup) 2,500 KRW
  • Napa cabbage: (1 pc.) 580 KRW

Total: 18,100-18,288 KRW

Lasts: About 2 weeks (the seasonings may last beyond this time)

Snack Pack for the Sweet Tooth

Korean grocery tips sweet snacks

  • Original choco pie: 5,760 KRW
  • Banana choco pie: 5,760 KRW
  • Market O Real Brownie: 4,180 KRW
  • Banana milk: (4+2 deal) 4,230 KRW

Total: 19,930 KRW

Lasts: Maybe 2-4 weeks (assuming you eat just 1-2 snacks per day; the banana milk may run out sooner than the other snacks, of course)

Salty Snack Pack

Korean grocery tips salty snacks

  • Cup ramen: (6 pcs.) 2,900 KRW
  • Instant ramen: (5 pcs.) 3,150 KRW
  • Instant jjajangmyeon: (4+1 deal) 4,980 KRW
  • Dried seaweed snack: (8 packets) 3,800 KRW
  • Doritos Chips: (1+1 deal x 2) 4,800 KRW

Total: 19,630 KRW

Lasts: Around a month or more (if you don’t eat instant noodles every day, that is)

A sample 1-week supply list for one person

No snacks, sorry, assuming you have rice, essential cooking supplies, and basic ingredients already:

Korean grocery tips 1 week

  • Potatoes: (around 8 pcs.) 2,380 KRW
  • Napa cabbage: (1 pc.) 580 KRW
  • Bean sprouts: (200g) 768 KRW
  • King Oyster mushrooms: (300g x 2 deal) 3,280 KRW
  • Tofu: (300g x 2) 1,600 KRW
  • Eggs: (10 pcs.) 2,800 KRW
  • Sliced sirloin beef: (a little over 200g) 3,887-4,231 KRW
  • Chopped whole chicken: (1kg) 4,900 KRW

Total: 20,195-20,539

Tip: Cook two or three simple dishes (2-3 servings each of bulgogi, roasted or sauteed chicken and veggies, and a tofu and mushroom stir-fry), freeze them, and reheat as meals for the week.

What 20,000 KRW Will Get You Elsewhere

When you don’t have a grocery store nearby, there are plenty of other places to shop for your daily needs. You might need to pay a premium on some item, but in some cases, you could save a few notes, too.

20,000 KRW In Daiso

Fun fact: You might easily find a Daiso store beside an eMart or inside a Lotte Mart. You might also find all the things you need want want but may or may not need.

Korean Grocery Tips daiso items

Sample Daiso items that cost 5,000 KRW and below (Images from Daiso.co.kr)

  • Oval basket (small) 2,000 KRW
  • Small purse, VR glasses, or portable speakers 5,000 KRW
  • Small pouch 1,000 KRW
  • Rice scoop or rice washing spatula 1,000 KRW
  • Bottle opener 1,000 KRW
  • Mini frying pan 2,000 KRW
  • Pet dish or luggage piggy bank 2,000 KRW
  • Left-handed scissors 1,000 KRW
  • Ceramic pump bottle 3,000 KRW
  • Shower bowl 1,000 KRW
  • Laundry ball 1,000 KRW

Total: 20,000 KRW

20,000 KRW In Art Box

Korean Grocery Tips ArtBox

ARTBOX Items (Images from POOM)

  • Mini notebook 700 KRW
  • Soju glass 3,000 KRW
  • Weekly Journal 2,500 KRW
  • Face massager 4,200 KRW
  • Bathroom slippers 6,800 KRW
  • Tongs 3,500 KRW

Total: 19,000 KRW

For the remaining 1,000 KRW, get yourself one of these hot packs that can last up to 15 hours—it’s a handy investment for that winter day that gets too cold for your liking!

Korean Grocery Tips ArtBox Hot Packs

ARTBOX Hot Packs (Images from POOM)

 

Note: Almost all of the prices of the groceries in Korea were obtained at Lotte Mart on November 28, 2016. Prices are subject to change. 

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