I was listening to the Expat cast recently and Nicole was talking about how easy it is to minimise day to day experiences when talking to family and friends. “I went shopping today” doesn’t really tell the person I’m talking to what it looks like now that I’m in a different country.
When we first moved to Korea, grocery shopping was super stressful! I couldn’t find exact ingredients/products I needed, certain items are less expensive at some stores compared to others and only one store near us sells butter similar to what we are used to in Australia. Not to mention the self serve machines are in Korean. Don’t ask about the time I thought I had stolen 8 tubs of peach yoghurt.
But now, we are getting into a rhythm with grocery shopping (the ease of which I took for granted before moving) and it has become one of my favourite activities. My relationship with one of the grocery store workers has evolved from her helping me bumble through using the self serve machines to us having a cute little wave and hello whenever I see her.
I went to GS the Fresh today. There are two other main grocery stores in the same general area; Top Mart and No Brand. Taking the bus means I get some nice walking and podcast time in. Plus the weather is so beautiful at the moment. GS is the first grocery store we ever went to when we first moved to Ulsan so I have a soft spot for it.
It also has the added bonus of a bakery right near the entry way.. So I would be stupid to not buy Kkwabaegi (twisty doughnuts) on a regular basis.
Like most grocery stores the fruit and vegetable section is at the entrance. Fruit and vegetables are more expensive here than in Australia and I believe the selection is dictated by the season. Our go to vege’s are zucchini, carrot, radish, bok choy, spring onion and mushrooms. Sometimes we grab some potatoes, broccoli or capsicum but these are a bit more expensive. Apples have also become a treat because they are about 10 dollars a kilo.
And how cool are these baked sweet potatoes? I haven’t been game enough to try them yet, I have a fear that I will grab one, mishandle or squeeze it, send it flying down the aisle and then everyone will stare. And laugh. (of course they wouldn’t but that’s what’s goes through my head).
It has been fun getting to try different Korean foods that wouldn’t be easily grabbed at Woolies or Coles. Kimchi and Tteokbokki have become regular staples. And the tofu is so cheap, plus there is a lot of variety!
I won’t bore you with my entire shop but this section of the store is cool! The store puts a bunch of specials in this section. Sometimes it’s beer on sale (which is usually available right next to the refrigerated soft drink) or bundles of chips or lollies.
The advertising definitely works.
Once I finished I began my journey home! I still love looking at the streets so I have included some pictures of what you might see on a walk through the main street of Guyeong-ri.
P.S. The buses are so easy here! I just have to read my number and see how many minutes we have to wait. They have not been late once and run really regularly. I may eat my words once Winter sets in and the walks aren’t nearly as warm and inviting.