10 Must-buy Souvenirs That Best Reflect Korean Culture
South Korea attracts tourists not only by its poetic natural landscape, but also by its unique culture with a great variety of art forms and cuisine. So, what are the gifts and specialties that contain the essence of Korean culture that you should definitely buy as souvenirs? 🤔
In the following article, let us recommend 10 specialties that will always remind you about the unique culture of this beautiful country. Let’s explore together!
1. HALLYU RELATED PRODUCTS
If you are a fan of the Korean entertainment industry, including music (Kpop) or television series (K-Drama), then of course Korea is your paradise! There are countless shops in big cities like Seoul selling all kinds of K-Pop related products such as posters, paintings, t-shirts and thousands of other favorite idol items.
In addition to regular shops, there are also exclusive stores of “giants” in the entertainment industry such as SM Entertainment’s COEX SMTOWN. This is a place where fans will get lost in the souvenir world of artists managed by the company.
💡 If you are a hardcore K-pop fan, check out this awesome K-pop Tour for JYP, SM and also BTS fans!
2. GINSENG AND GINSENG PRODUCTS
Did you know that besides Korean high-class cosmetics, the secret to beauty and health of Korean people also comes from ginseng?
Ginseng is an herb and traditional medicine with a very high nutritional value that has been used by Koreans for thousands of years to improve, enhance health and resistance of the body. Ginseng as well as other products made from ginseng (tea, supplements, snacks…) are valuable gifts for your family, especially for the elders.
💡 Make your own Korean Ginseng Beauty Tea at this 1 day class!
3. KOREAN TRADITIONAL LIQUOR
The history of traditional Korean liquor dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty and the Joseon era (1392-1910). To this day, there are an approximately 1,000 or more types of alcoholic drinks in Korea. Most are made from fermented rice but fruits, flowers, herbs and other natural ingredients have also been used manufacture traditional Korean alcoholic beverages. Among those, Soju is definitely the most popular one, with many different brands, flavors and packaging styles that you can choose from. Beside Soju, Makgeolli (milky rice wine) and fruit wines such as Maesilju (plum wine) are also loved by many people due to their sweet, delicious flavor.
(Image courtesy: visitkorea.or.kr)
💡 Learn how to make your own Korean traditional rice wine Makgeolli with us~
4. KOREAN SEAWEED
As one of the indispensable ingredients in every Korean meal, seaweed will be an attractive specialty for your loved ones. Well-processed dried Korean seaweed can be made into many delicious delicacies that can be eaten with rice. Roasted and seasoned dried seaweed can be used as a healthy snack!
5. KOREAN RICE CAKE
Tteok is a traditional Korean rice cake made from glutinous rice flour, associated with the cultural tradition as well as daily the life of the people here. These beautiful little rice cakes will be the perfect gift for your loved ones, especially the children.
💡 Join an interesting class on how to make Korean rice cake!
6. MOTHER-OF-PEARL CRAFTED SOUVENIRS
Najeonchilgi, or Korean mother-of-pearl craft is a method in which colorful pieces of thinly processed seashells are inlaid on an object, often made of black painted wood. This Korean traditional decorative art has a 2,000-year heritage. After being decorated with mother-of-pearl, the products will have sophisticated and dazzling colors that cannot be created artificially.
Najeonchilgi decoration is often found in old-style Korean furniture such as wardrobes, cabinets, and tables. You can also find delicate and small ornaments inlaid with mother-of-pearl like hand mirrors, combs, hair brooches sold as souvenirs.
💡 Even better, how about a mother-of-pearl souvenir handmade by yourself?
7. KOREAN CHOPSTICKS
Similar to China, Japan, and many other Asian countries, Koreans also use chopsticks in their daily meals. The special things are that they always use them at the same time with a spoon. There are many types of chopsticks made from different materials, serving different purposes and dishes. Besides simple, cheap chopsticks that can be purchased anywhere, traditional stores also sell chopsticks sets made from high-quality materials and exquisitely decorated to use as souvenirs or decorations.
💡 Make a luxury personalized chopstick and spoon set by yourself!
8. SOUVENIRS MADE OF HANJI
Hanji is the traditional paper making art in Korea. Hanji is used in many different ways to decorate and create traditional housewares. You can find lamps, fans, calligraphy scrolls, cards, umbrellas and even hanji clothes. A popular hanji gift idea is small storage boxes made from hundreds of layers of Korean thin paper.
9. INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING KIMCHI
If you love the taste of Korean kimchi and intend to make kimchi at home to eat gradually, why not try buying authentic kimchi ingredients? The basic ingredients can be purchased are chili flakes, shrimp powder, fish sauce… You can stop by Namdaemun Market, which sells all the ingredients to make Korean kimchi. Your family meal will be more delicious with kimchi dish that you make by yourself.
💡 But first, you should learn how to make perfect Kimchi from Korean experts!
10. KOREAN TEA
South Korea is famous for its traditional tea-drinking culture, so the teas here are prepared and packed with sophisticated and eye-catching designs, which is the most suitable gift for the elderly and those who like to enjoy tea. Besides the common types of tea such as green tea and black-tea, there are also many other types of “tea” that are made from fruits, flowers and herbs.
Which of these souvenirs that you want to take home? Do you know where to buy them?