When you go food shopping (my local ones are; Lotté Marte or Home Plus: aka Tesco), the Koreans seem to be very conscious of the environment, as they hardly ever use plastic bags (they sometimes charge you per bag). I recommend taking backpacks or bags for life when shopping.
| || |
Although, when you go shopping you take all your stuff out of your trolley, just to put it back in and then pack it into cardboard boxes, provided from the supermarket. They also provide tape (as boxes are flat packed), scissors (to cut the tape) and even plastic ribbon to help close up the box if you pack too much in it... Which most weeks happens to Paul and I. However now we have a good stock of food that will last a very long time. If you go to home plus, they also sell Tesco own brand food, which when on offer I would suggest bulk buying as it doesn’t stay on offer for very long.
I would suggest going to a market for fruit and vegetables, as the supermarkets can be overpriced. However sometimes they will have special offers and it’s your choice where you buy them from. Both fruit and vegetables are expensive, but buying from the markets will make a difference in your purse. Also if you can, buy bread from a bakery. The bread in Korea is pretty sweet as it is made from milk and sugar. Granary bread is hard to come by, but the bakery should have some and this doesn’t taste as sweet as the white bread. Some do come with currents in, so be careful when buying! From going to the same bakery most weeks, Paul and I were given a free tasty treat (which was amazingly good!). Sometimes at the market they will have homemade tofu, which tastes a lot better than that bought at the supermarket.
From what you cannot find in the supermarket, or whether it is ridiculously overpriced I would suggest importing it. I use a website called iherb.com which is exported from the US. Sometimes buying food this way is cheaper than buying it in the supermarkets (and that even includes the delivery fee). Orders do not take long to get Korea, so this is worth looking into.
Itaewon is known for its western style of food and clothing and therefore is very popular with foreigners, known as Waygooks here in Korea. We decided to have a walk around and look for any food places that we fancied eating at. Paul had seen a sign for Mexican food, and we both were on the hunt to find some. We came across a little Mexican restaurant called ‘Los Amigos’. The food was freshly cooked by a mexican man (well spanish speaking at least) and it tasted fresh with a tasty, not too hot, spice. The frozen lime margaritas were zesty and refreshing; exactly what we needed after a hard day sightseeing.
On Saturday Paul and I decided, that as we had a non eventful day on Friday, that we should go do something. We went to Seoul on the subway, using our new bank cards to pay for everything. However, this was not the case for Paul as his card did not work on any transportation, which meant having to queue up only for the subway for a ticket. Which when you buy a ticket, it’s a card and you pay a 500 won (about 29p) deposit. After your journey, you put your travel card into a machine where you get your deposit back.
The subway is very well organised, and I wasn’t expecting it to be as clean as it was - probably because I only have the London underground to compare it to. However the subway stations have no characteristics like some of London’s stations, like Baker Street’s for example. The Subway map is also in English, which helps very much when trying to work out what station you need to get off at, there is also a handy app for the Korean subway’s called ‘Jihachul’.
We were heading towards Changdeokgung Palace, which was only a few minutes away from the subway station we got off at. We went for lunch in a small traditional Korean café, Paul had bibimbap (rice and vegetables with an egg) and I had stir-fried pork with rice which was succulent, warm and filling. Both of these meals together cost under £7.
At the end of the day on Tuesday, Paul and I got our alien registration cards (ARC). This meant we could go open a bank account, which we done on the Thursday during our lunch break. We went to the KB bank, and spoke to a woman that had amazing English and helped us through the paper work. We set up our cards so they would also work on the buses and on the subway (like an oyster card, except you can use it all over South Korea). This meant no more guess work on how much buses would cost! Whilst Paul and I were waiting for our bank cards, we got complimentary popcorn and some yakult which we were told to keep helping ourselves to. Which we did, and so Thursday for lunch I had 3 bags of popcorn and 2 yakults!