Travel, Teach, Live in Korea
Visiting a country's supermarket can be just as, if not more revealing, than traveling to all of its tourist spots. I live in South Korea, and have visited the N Seoul Tower, which is considered one of the big tourist destinations in Seoul. I told a Korean friend about it who has been living in Korea her entire life, and she has never been. But a Korean Supermarket: that's another story. Go to a Korean Supermarket, where Korean people go at least once a week, and you'll find so many interesting things out about their culture, and just awesome things in general, such as:
1) It's exceptionally crowded. On the weekends, it's overwhelmingly crowded. You won't be able to walk straight and simply get what's on your list. Be prepared to take detours. Be prepared to come to a grinding halt. What's cool about this experience, though, is that your shopping carts are built for crowds. Not only does your cart go forward, but it goes left and right as well, smoothly and seamlessly. Find yourself lucky enough to push a cart in an empty aisle, and you'll never want to push anything but a Korean supermarket cart again.
2) Free samples galore. Feeling hungry, but you're on a tight budget? Go to a supermarket and eat more than you can possibly handle. We're talking about free samples of fruits, milk, cheese, yoghurt, steak (yes, steak), donuts, and more. And there's also no need to worry about that pesky one-sample-per-person rule. In Korea, you'll find lots of people snapping up a bunch of samples, so don't feel ashamed to do the same.
3) Get ready for some noise. Forget about the peaceful shopping music you might be used to. Instead of music, get used to shouting. Lots of shouting. Men shouting. They'll shout from across the store, just to let you know about the sale. MEAT SALE! DELICIOUS MEAT SALE! COME HERE NOW AND GET THIS REALLY DELICIOUS MEAT ON SALE! You'll know about the sale without even reading a sign about it. That's these men's jobs. And it's not as easy as just going to the meat sale and grabbing some: there'll be a line of people waiting to get their's (remember the big crowds?). So wait in line to get a product, and then wait in another line to pay for it. Yikes!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cool things you can find at a Korean Supermarket. I won't tell you the rest, because that'll ruin the fun. But, if you ever do find yourself in Korea, skip a tourist spot or two and head over to a Korean Supermarket. You won't regret it!
Don't plan on heading to Korea? Then find out more about what a Korean Supermarket has to offer over at our Korea blog http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/.