Product Reviews,  Traveling,  Traveling Tastebuds

Awesome Korean snacks to bring home from your trip! [Vol. 1]

In my opinion, there are two countries that seem to make packaged snack foods that go above and beyond the quality and creativity one would expect– one is Japan, and the other is South Korea. I imagine between these two countries, you will never run out of things to try.

I don’t know about you, but snacking brings such joy to my heart. It’s one of those super simple things that gives me a sense of quiet contentment. It’s probably why I’m a little obsessed with buying snack foods every time I visit any foreign country. When I go to Korea in particular, I always have to be smart with my packing. Aside from skincare products, I have to make room for all of this stuff too. All the trouble brings me no regrets however, because now I get to talk about my recent haul of Korean snacks!

1. Pringles Potato Crisps in Butter Caramel
Price: ₩ 1,590
Where I got it: HomePlus

Let’s start with something familiar all over the world: Pringles! Now I’m more used to savory Pringles because the ones we get here in Manila are mostly Western flavors, so when I spotted this I was surprised. Korea has a thing for butter-flavored potato chips, so why not butter caramel in Pringles right? These were actually pretty good. Sweet with a light buttery sensation, minus that parched throat after-effect most normal Pringles flavors seem to invoke.

2. Peanut Squid Snack
Price: Bought on sale for ₩ 1,000
Where I got it: HomePlus

Mi favorito
! Some people are weirded out by squid flavored chips but it’s pretty normal in Asia, methinks. I like these better than the next junk food I will mention, simply because this is irresistibly yummy. It smells like squid, so take that how you will! But I won’t be surprised if you find yourself eating one piece after another without a thought of stopping. Go ahead and bite into that crisp, slightly sweet but mostly squid-y shell, until you crunch into the nuts. Just don’t kiss anyone after eating these. 😀

3. Tteokbokki Chips
Price: ₩ 2,240 for 215 grams
Where I got it: HomePlus

I didn’t know what to expect when I first tried this. I love the tteokbokki you buy off the street with its lightly sweet but mostly spicy taste, so I wondered how well they could translate that into chips. Well, I wouldn’t say this is an accurate reinterpretation because these are waaaay sweeter than normal tteokbokki, but I’d be lying if I said this didn’t have its charms.

It’s slightly sticky, which is probably why my hands won’t stop picking pieces up from the bag. 😛

4. Tom’s Farm Flavoured Nuts & Almonds
Price: Can’t remember!
Where I got them: A street cart in Myeongdong

These nuts are awesome. I first tasted them when someone who had come home from a Taiwan trip gifted me the Wasabi variant, but seeing the writing, I told myself to be on the lookout when I go to Korea. I’m glad I didn’t buy the displays in Watson’s because after walking around Myeongdong a bit, I spotted a little cart selling these for way cheaper! They had all the flavours, and I decided to pick up just these for the time being, because my luggage could no longer handle more stuff haha!

I’d have to say the Honey Butter is delightful whether you buy just all-almonds or the mixed nuts pack, although my favorite is still the Wasabi one. The Banana variant is something that is new to my tastebuds. The almonds are covered with a yellowish mixture of powder and tiny flecks of candy with banana flavoring, and I find that it’s a bit too sweet for me. It’s like nuts you’d eat for dessert. I tend to go for savory nuts more so this one comes down to a matter of personal preference. Regardless of flavor, be warned that these are addictive as heck!

5. Lotte Happy Promise Custard Cake
Price: ₩ 4,900 for a box of 12
Where I got it: HomePlus

This one is classic fare as far as Korean snacks are concerned. I don’t quite remember why I decided to buy these since I’m not a big fan of mamon-like cakes, but I must say these are very kid-friendly.

6. Lotte Mix n Match Chocolate Pies in Banana and Matcha
Price: ₩ 3,980 (Banana) and ₩ 4,690 (Matcha) for a box of 12
Where I got them: HomePlus

The iconic Korean Choco Pie has had several iterations over the years in the form of creative flavor choices. Personally, I enjoy these Mix n Match Choco Pies a great deal. My introduction to these came during my Wow Korea trip with the Korea Tourism Organization. These were distributed as snacks on the bus as we made our 7-hour journey to Seoul from Suncheon. It was my first time eating banana-filled choco pie and it left such an impression on me. Normally, anything artificially flavored with banana tastes off for me, but as expected, Lotte gets it right!

Matcha flavor is always a good choice, but I was surprised that I found myself liking the Banana variant just a little bit more. These aren’t that sweet and are filled with just the right amount of flavorings to avoid tasting artificial. The soft and cakey cookies are just solid enough to contrast against the marshmallow center. The components of this choco pie work so well as a whole. Super addictive! I was way sadder than I anticipated when I found out we had finished the two boxes I brought home. 🙁

7. Lotte Coconut Chocolate Pepero
Price: ₩ 960
Where I got it: HomePlus

I have some mixed feelings about coconut. I like it in its natural fruit state, but normally not in its sweetened, shredded, and preserved state. But this Pepero proves to be an exception, because I like the preserved coconut in this well enough. The chocolate coating is nicely buttery, and each bite invokes memories of the tropics.

8. Lotte Dream Cacao Chocolates in 72% and Matcha
Price: ₩ 1,990 (72%) and ₩ 2,290 (Matcha)
Where I got it: HomePlus

These are my favorite things to hoard when I go to Korea and the thing I always ask my friends to buy for me when they go there. You can buy these from any convenience store at more or less the same price. I don’t remember spotting the matcha variant during my trip last April, but when I went in December I made sure to buy lots. They do have this in milk chocolate, but since I’m not a fan of that 72% was a no brainer. But that Matcha one is something else! Real matcha taste in a small cube!

Although these are available in Manila, I find the price to be too steep compared to when I buy from Korea. Until now, I’m still slowly eating through my stash of these, alternating between bottles of chocolate and matcha in my bag. They serve me well when I get a chocolate craving at work. I just pop in two or three cubes and I’m happy. 🙂

9. Osulloc Green Tea Milk Spread
Price: ₩ 8,500 per 200-gram jar
Where I got it: Osculloc Cafe in Cheonggyecheon

So pricey but so worth it! If you’re a fellow matcha lover, you will fall head over heels for this spread with just one taste. As a milk jam, it has a bit of sweetness and a consistency that reminds me of condensed milk, but because of the authentic matcha that this is made with, the taste is balanced. You get a solid hit of that earthy matcha green tea flavor cutting through the sweet.

I only decided to bring home two jars of this because I wasn’t sure how long it would take us to finish them. The shelf life isn’t that long because of the absence of preservatives, but I underestimated just how much people in my house would love this. It took less than two weeks to finish one jar, and that had been a controlled sort of consumption because we’d only have it every other morning for breakfast.

If you plan on taking these babies home, I recommend putting them in your check-in bags because airport security normally will not allow this size of glass jars in carry-ons. I roll these in my clothes before putting them in my luggage. I would happily carry 5 jars home next time if I have the budget hahaha!

10. Jjampong (and other Korean instant noodles)
Price: ₩ 4,980 for 3 packs
Where I got it: HomePlus

Among the instant noodle packs available in Korea, I don’t know why Jjampong is my favorite. In the supermarket, I had a hard time picking a brand to bring home with me until my friend Elizabeth recommended this. She said this was her favorite brand of Jjampong and just like that I was convinced haha! We don’t have this particular jjampong here in Manila, and after trying out my first pack I was immediately regretful about not getting more.

Take a look at how it looks once cooked. The rice noodles are good quality, and you even get chunks of rehydrated mushrooms in there. The broth is nicely spicy with a seafood scent and taste. Definitely one of the best instant jjampong noodles I’ve had.

I think it’s pretty clear from my descriptions above that I really enjoyed pretty much all these Korean snacks and food items. I wanted to make specific recommendations on which ones to take home if you really have no more luggage space to spare but I can’t! I can’t pick a favorite among these! Instead, I would suggest an alternate plan: Try a pack of whichever snacks you can while there, and then find out which your favorites are. Food items packed in sealed plastics and boxes can be hand-carried anyway! 😀

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