Convenience Store Food Course
See & Do Tours
Open 24 hours a day, convenience stores are just that, convenient. But they're no longer just places to shop at in emergencies. At some point, convenience stores became a part of everyday life for many people. Stopping at a convenience store is a simple and easy way to shop regardless of whether you’re a student or an office worker. For the hungry and the busy, there’s no better place than a convenience store for a quick meal. Read on to learn more about the wide range of offerings available at Korean convenience stores.
Convenience store dosirak (lunch box sets) have changed in recent years. Their main draw used to be based on one factor: their low cost. But recently, thanks in part to celebrity endorsements, dosirak are being noticed as healthy, filling, and reliable meal options. Dosirak with different themes and price points are on the market these days. There are many kinds of dosirak to choose from. Visitors are sure to find at least a few kinds that are to their liking. Who are the top dosirak celebrity faces? One is a famous actress who is known for her warm, caring, and maternal image, Kim Hye-ja. Another is top celebrity chef Paik Jong Won, who’s as well known for his cooking as his TV appearances. Hyeri, the top girl group member has been on everything from variety shows and dramas to commercials, is another celebrity dosirak spokesperson.
Many dishes you’d normally get in a home-cooked Korean meal are included in dosirak. A dosirak may have as a main dish, bulgogi (marinated pork or beef), ojingeo-pa bulgogi (squid and spring onion bulgogi), hamburger steak, neobiani (marinated grilled beef slices), and a variety of side dishes. Or a dosirak may just have a large assortment of various dishes such as spaghetti, chobap (sushi), jang-jorim (beef braised in soy sauce), donkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet), saengseon kkaseu (breaded, deep-fried fish), chicken, and all sorts of stir-fried vegetables.
Today’s dosirak are designed for the health and convenience of the consumer. The rice in the Kim Hye-ja dosirak is divided into bite-sized pieces for ease and comfort. Other dosirak come with healthy mixed grain rice or black rice. You can see how much time and thought went into the design of each dosirak. The price of a convenience store dosirak ranges from about 3,000 won to 4,500 won. Who knows how the dosirak will continue to evolve?
After you’ve finished your dosirak, it’s time for dessert! Some of these desserts are only available at convenience stores, and others are just more fun and tastier to eat at convenience stores. It used to be that you had to go to a bakery to enjoy some of these treats, but not anymore. The giant choux pastry bun is a great go-to option. The pastry’s sweet cream filling pairs well with the soft and savory bun; the flavors linger and each mouthful is a treat. A dessert that is already quite popular on Korean blogs is the individually packaged slice of roll cake. The slices come in all sorts of flavors. The strawberry sandwich is another popular post-meal option. Between two slices of white bread, you’ll find a load of cream with strawberry chunks. Don’t miss out on this unique sandwich!
The choco pie is famous all over the world, and now at convenience stores you can try the choco pie in new flavors, strawberry or banana. You can also pick up a salad with sweet potato, almond, cranberry, sweet pumpkin, corn and more. For a savory option, you could try galbi dumplings or kimchi dumplings. Still feeling a bit peckish? Pick up a triangle gimbap. For a sweeter treat, try some rice pudding, on sale in range of flavors like, sweet potato, sweet pumpkin, and more. There’s also caramel popcorn, just like the kind they sell at movie theaters. You won’t be at a loss for options when it comes to tasty drinks. There’s grapefruit tea, coconut milk, and the cool and refreshing mango smoothie-bingsu. Of course, the ever popular banana milk is also a good choice. When you see what’s on display at convenience stores, you won’t be able to stop yourself from sampling what’s on offer.
Try combining two items to make one new, special dish, rabokki with cheese (stir-fried rice cake with ramen noodles and cheese). Sometimes in dramas you will see characters eating at convenience stores. This particular recipe uses food found at convenience stores and is very popular with young Koreans. The editors of Visit Seoul personally tested out this recipe and purchased all the necessary ingredients to make rabokki with cheese.
1. In the tteok-bokki (stir-fried rice cake) container, pour in the seasoning. Pour hot water up to the water marking line on the inside of the container; stir.
2. Place some cheese on top of the tteok-bokki. Cook in a microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In the ramen container, pour out the ramen soup powder and seasonings. Pour hot water up to the water marking line on the inside of the container; wait for the recommended time (written on the container).
4. Once the ramen is done, combine it with the tteok-bokki and stir well. Add more cheese if you’d like.
5. Once the cheese has melted, stir, then eat. (If the rabokki is too spicy, add more cheese to cut down on the spiciness.)
It’s simpler than you might think to make your own rabokki, and it can be as tasty as any restaurant’s rabokki. When you make your own rabokki, you can adjust the recipe to your liking. Change the order you cook the ramen or tteok-bokki, change the portion sizes and so on. There are many ideas and recipes you can use with convenience store foods. Make your own mandu-guk (dumpling soup) with store-bought dumplings and instant cup beef-bone soup (think instant cup ramen, but soup instead of ramen). There’s also “pizza” gimbap. Microwave convenience store gimbap and place cheese and ketchup on top. You could also buy a bag of potato sticks, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top, and melt it in a microwave. There are many recipes to choose from or you could try and make your own recipe.