If you're the kind of person that has apprciation for huge chain stores like Walmart, Target or K-Mart, then I'm sure that you will fall in love with Korea's version of such stores, namely, E-mart and Home Plus.
I was incredibly impressed with Korea's supply of American and international foods such as salsa, spaghetti sauce and curry powder to name a few. Not only will you find organic foods, you will also find spices (oregano, garlic powders etc.), dairy products like yogurt and string cheese and like many of the larger department stores, you can do all your shopping in one place if you so choose. These stores come with all sorts of departments including men's wear, ladies wear, children's clothes, a shoe department, sporting goods, electronics, and appliances and much, much more.
Most E-Marts consist of six floors, three of which are for parking. The first floor has grocery items. There is a produce section that consists of fruits and veggies of all variety. I'm talking fruits like apples, oranges, pinapples, banannas, pomegranate, grapefruit to name a few. I've also noticed that they carry fruits depending on when it's in season. Presently, strawberries, clementine and apples are in season. As for vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, cucumbers, etc.. In the meat section, you will find all sorts of meats, poultry and fish. In the bakery, there are cakes, breads and cookies and all sorts of pastries.
There is also a dairy section, a snacks and candy section, a wine cellar, bevarage section, frozen foods, toletries, and an international foods section. As you can probably imagine my surprise to find American food brands like Ragu, Hormel, Libby's, Heinz, Post cereals and Kellogs cereals to name a few. There's a frozen food section at E-Mart which is stocked with a few favorites, hash browns, frozen french fries, Hagen Daaz Brand ice cream, frozen vegetables and tv dinners. As for beverages, sodas like Coca Cola and Pepsi are very popular here as well, but you will find that the cans, like Asians are slimmer here. You will also find all sorts of juices from orange to grape. There are many brands of teas including Lipton and the ever popular instant coffees. As for alcohol, both Emart and Home Plus has a huge wine cellar that carries an assortment of wines, wine coolers and beer as well as the popular, Soju (a cheap vodka, sold everywhere).
As I mentioned before, there are six floors in E-Mart. On the basement floor, you will find everything else including clothes for the whole family, cosmetics, household items, such as bedding, furniture and home decor. You will also find appliances, electronics, books for the whole family and sporting goods.
Go to the second floor and there is a food court, nail salon, day care, Optometrist and hair salon. Also, there is a pet store, which is where I take Choco to the vet sometimes. The other floors are reserved for parking.
At Home Plus, you're likely to find all of the foods, product and the same brands found at E-Mart, but in my opinion, the prices are a bit more affordable. I've seen notable differences in the price of premium nuts, snack items and foreign foods as well. All in all, rest assured that whatever suits you're fancy, you'd be able to get your hands on in while teaching in Korea.
Nailah Rivers was born in Trinidad and Tobago. She moved to the United States with her family at the age of seven. She graduated Rutgers University in 2011 with a degree in psychology. Her sophomore year in college, she knew for sure that she would pursue a teaching career with a focus on elementary school. After a risky move to Miami, Florida in 2011, Nailah decided to take a chance and apply to teach English in South Korea with Chungdahm Learning. She is currently teaching in Pohang, South Korea and is having a good time teaching and learning. Follow her blog to get the inside scoop on teaching abroad.